- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017


NEW YORK (AP) - Bags and Rock and Pudge are heading to Cooperstown.

After a vote that could prove to be a turning point how Steroids Era stars are viewed, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens could be joining them in the next few years.

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short of the necessary 75 percent.

Bonds and Clemens, their careers tainted by allegations of steroids use, were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America but each received a majority of votes for the first time.

On the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, Bagwell appeared on 381 of 442 ballots for 86.2 percent. Players needed 332 votes this year. In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was at 380 (86 percent). He was just the fifth player elected in his final year of eligibility after Red Ruffing (1967), Joe Medwick (1968), Ralph Kiner (1975) and Jim Rice (2009).

Rodriguez , at 45 the youngest current Hall member, received 336 votes (76 percent).

TORONTO (AP) - Jose Bautista is staying with the Toronto Blue Jays, after all.

Toronto said the free agent slugger had agreed to an $18.5 million, one-year contract with Toronto that includes mutual options for more years. Bautista gets an $18 million salary this year, and the deal includes a $17 million mutual option for 2018 with a $500,000 buyout, payable if either side declines. There is a $20 million option for 2019 that becomes guaranteed if Bautista has 300 games played during the next two seasons and does not have a physical impairment that would prevent him from playing in 2019.

He gets luxury suite tickets at Rogers Centre for all regular-season home games.

The 36-year-old Bautista hit 22 homers with 69 RBIs last year while batting .234 in an injury-plagued season for Toronto.


PITTSBURGH (AP) - Antonio Brown insists he didn’t mean to disrespect his coach or create a distraction when the All-Pro wide receiver livestreamed the raucous aftermath of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff win over the Kansas City Chiefs last week.

The ever social media savvy Brown also didn’t rule out doing it again.

Even as Brown apologized for his decision to let his over 650,000 Facebook fans in on a usually private moment - one that caught head coach Mike Tomlin using a profanity to describe the New England Patriots - he played coy when asked if he’s going to leave his camera off the next time the postgame locker room door is closed.

“I guess you’ve got to wait and see,” Brown said.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The Jacksonville Jaguars have retained Nate Hackett as offensive coordinator, providing some continuity for quarterback Blake Bortles.

Hackett, who was originally hired as the team’s quarterbacks coach before the 2015 season, replaced fired offensive coordinator Greg Olson in late October and helped the Jaguars make strides in a number of categories.


ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Hawks have traded guard Mo Williams to the Denver Nuggets and signed guard Gary Neal to a 10-day contract.

In exchange for Williams, the Hawks reacquired the rights to Cenk Akyol and a $2.2 million traded player exception, which they must use within the next year.

The deal was announced before the Hawks lost at Detroit 118-95. The 32-year-old Neal scored four points - all on free throws - and failed to connect on four shots from the field.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A proposed June signing period for college football recruits has been rejected by the NCAA’s Division I Council, but a possible December signing period remains very much in play.

The council modified a wide-ranging reforms proposal for flexibility in the recruiting calendar at the NCAA’s annual convention by removing a request for a 72-hour signing period that would have started on the last Wednesday in June. The council acted on the recommendation of the NCAA’s football oversight committee.

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson has turned down the chance to play in the Senior Bowl later this month.

Watson’s representatives cited the long season and his continued training for the NFL draft as reasons he won’t play in the Jan. 28 game in Mobile, Alabama. Watson is a junior giving up his final college season, but has graduated, making him eligible for the game.

The Senior Bowl would’ve given NFL personnel the chance to see the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Watson up close. That includes the Cleveland Browns, holders of the No. 1 pick in next spring’s draft, whose staff will coach in the bowl.

Watson led the Tigers to a national championship with a 35-31 victory over Alabama. He threw for 4,593 yards, 41 TDs and 17 interceptions this season.


NEW YORK (AP) - New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider has been fined $5,000 for ripping off Dallas Stars forward Cody Eakin’s helmet and hitting him in the head with it during a fight.

The NHL announced the fine, saying it was the maximum amount allowed for the offense under the collective bargaining agreement.

Eakin had been suspended for four games for charging Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in a Dec. 15 game.


CARSON, Calif. (AP) - The LA Galaxy signed veteran midfielder Jermaine Jones, formally adding the German-born U.S. men’s national team veteran to their rebuilt roster.

The Galaxy used targeted allocation money to sign the 35-year-old Jones after acquiring his rights from Colorado in a trade for their first-round draft pick.

Jones spent the past three seasons in MLS with the Rapids and the New England Revolution, getting five goals and six assists in 37 combined appearances. Before heading stateside in 2014, Jones played nearly 15 seasons in the German Bundesliga, including stints with Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke.

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