- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2017


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, whose electric arm and confident demeanor helped lead Kansas City to a long-awaited World Series championship in 2015, died in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic. He was 25.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo said Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles northwest of Santo Domingo. Mateo did not say whether Ventura was driving.

Ventura is the second young star pitcher to die in past four months. Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, 24, was among three men killed in a boating accident in September.

Former major league infielder Andy Marte died in a separate car accident in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Metropolitan traffic authorities said he died about 95 miles north of the capital.


LAS VEGAS (AP) - Oddsmakers like the New England Patriots by a field goal over the Atlanta Falcons in what experts think will be a high-scoring Super Bowl.

Most are also expecting an offensive showdown, with an over/under of 59 at some sports books the biggest ever in Super Bowl history.

The AFC title game had barely entered the fourth quarter when oddsmakers around town began putting up their numbers. There was agreement all around that the Patriots should be a 3-point pick, though some had the over/under at 58 instead of 59.

There was also agreement that the legal handle on the game could exceed the record $132.5 million bet on last year’s Super Bowl.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Colts owner Jim Irsay announced that he has fired general manager Ryan Grigson after five seasons.

The move comes after Indianapolis missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season and only the third time since 2001.

Irsay hired the up-and-coming Grigson after the Colts went 2-14 in 2011. With a series of shrewd moves and No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck leading the way in 2012, the first-time GM rebuilt almost overnight and was the architect of one of the greatest turnarounds in league history. Indy went 11-5 and earned a wild-card spot that season.

It seemed like there was a bright future with Grigson calling the shots, too.

Indy made the playoffs three straight times, won back-to-back division titles in 2013 and 2014 and reached the AFC championship game following the 2015 season.

But a reported rift between Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano loomed over an injury-riddled 2015 season that didn’t go as expected and was followed with another 8-8 season in 2016 and a second straight playoff miss, prompting the change.


EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - The University of Oregon says the football co-offensive coordinator will be fired after his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, marking the latest problem for the team.

The school said in a statement that David Reaves has been placed on administrative leave and the process to terminate his employment has started. Oregon announced hiring him Tuesday.

The move comes less than a week after the school suspended its football strength and conditioning coach for a month without pay following a series of intense workouts that sent three players to the hospital.

Police in the city of Eugene arrested Reaves early Sunday. Records show he is no longer in custody.

He served as associate head coach and tight-ends coach under new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart at South Florida.


MOSCOW (AP) - The president of the German Olympic Committee has called for Russia to be banned from the 2018 and 2020 Olympics if sports bosses there are found to have known about state-sponsored doping.

Alfons Hoermann told Die Welt newspaper that bans from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and the 2020 summer games in Tokyo would provide a “clear signal” of zero tolerance for doping. Twelve Russian medalists from the 2014 Sochi Olympics were accused of benefiting from a massive doping cover-up scheme.

World Anti-Doping Agency investigations have accused Russian government officials and anti-doping leaders of running the scheme, but not the Russian Olympic Committee.

ANTERSELVA, Italy (AP) - The International Biathlon Union has cleared 22 athletes and given Russian sports officials an ultimatum to explain by next month what role seven others played in alleged state doping around the time of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The IBU said that the Russian Biathlon Union “is to provide the IBU with a detailed and fully documented report with respect to the seven cases under investigation.” Two more athletes who were already suspended remain so and are being investigated by the International Olympic Committee.

The IBU had opened an inquiry last month into 29 unnamed athletes named in the McLaren report - which detailed widespread doping in Russian sports - but said “there is no sufficient evidence” to continue investigating 22 of them.

Another IBU executive board meeting on Feb. 9 will determine the status of the seven athletes still under investigation for the world championships in Hochfilzen, Austria, beginning the same day.

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