- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 18, 2018

NHL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia Flyers have fired coach Dave Hakstol, with the team having lost 11 of its last 14 games.

General manager Chuck Fletcher announced the move Monday, less than two weeks since taking over for the fired Ron Hextall. Minor league coach Scott Gordon took over as the interim replacement.

The last-place Flyers have lost four in a row and are 12-15-4. Philadelphia went 1-3-1 on the road trip Fletcher said he’d use to evaluate Hakstol, the rest of the coaching staff and the team at-large.

Hired by Hextall from the University of North Dakota in 2015, Hakstol took the Flyers to the playoffs twice in his three full seasons, but they lost in six games in the first round each time.

NBA

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana Pacers have hired Kelly Krauskopf as their new assistant general manager, making her the first woman in league history to hold the title.

Krauskopf has a long history with the franchise.

She spent 19 seasons as the top executive of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever and helped oversee Indiana’s new NBA2K league team. She also served as the WNBA’s first director of basketball operations, as an assistant commissioner for the Southwest Conference and on USA Basketball’s women’s senior national team committee.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma City Thunder have exercised their fifth-year option on coach Billy Donovan’s contract.

The team announced the move before Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bulls, which the Thunder won 121-96.

Donovan is in his fourth season with the Thunder. He has a 169-106 record with Oklahoma City and has led the team to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly is The Associated Press college football Coach of the Year and the third coach to win the award twice since it was established in 1998.

Kelly received 16 of 58 first-place votes from AP college football poll voters and 81 total points. Alabama’s Nick Saban was second with 16 first-place votes and 66 points and Central Florida first-year coach Josh Heupel was third with 33 points (five first-place votes).

Twelve coaches received at least one first-place vote and eight received at least three for the award announced Monday. Washington State’s Mike Leach finished fourth with 26 points (three first-place votes) and Syracuse’s Dino Babers was fifth with 25 (five first-place votes).

Kelly joins Saban and TCU’s Gary Patterson as two-time winners. Kelly was also coach of the year in 2012.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama coach Nick Saban says quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is “probably ahead of schedule” in recovering from ankle surgery.

The Heisman Trophy runner-up has been practicing for the top-ranked Crimson Tide, which began preparations Friday for an Orange Bowl semifinal matchup with Oklahoma.

Tagovailoa had surgery on his left ankle shortly after the Dec. 1 Southeastern Conference game during which he sustained a high ankle sprain on the first drive against Georgia.

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Stanford running back Bryce Love will skip the Sun Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft.

Love announced his decision on Monday to sit out the bowl game for the Cardinal (8-4) on Dec. 31 against Pittsburgh (7-6). Love says he wants to be completely healthy for the 2019 draft.

Love had a rough senior season after deciding to bypass the 2018 draft after finishing as Heisman Trophy runner-up.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Sacramento State has hired Utah offensive coordinator Troy Taylor as its new football coach.

Athletic director Mark Orr announced the move Monday, calling Taylor an innovative play-caller with ties to the Sacramento area.

Taylor has been coordinator for the Utes the past two seasons, helping them win the Pac-12 South this year. He spent the 2016 season as co-offensive coordinator at Eastern Washington after a stint as a high school coach near Sacramento where he tutored Washington quarterback Jake Browning.

BASEBALL

HOUSTON (AP) - A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press the Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent outfielder Michael Brantley.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Monday night because the club has not yet announced the move.

The 31-year-old Brantley has spent his entire 10-year career with the Cleveland Indians, where he was a three-time All-Star.

Brantley is a career .295 hitter and gives Houston an upgrade to an outfield anchored by center fielder George Springer.

-By AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken.

NEW YORK (AP) - Left-hander J.A. Happ and the New York Yankees have finalized a $34 million, two-year contract.

Happ gets $17 million in each of the next two seasons, and his deal includes a $17 million option for 2021 that could become guaranteed is he has either 27 or more starts as a pitcher in 2020 or 165 or more innings that year.

He is projected to be part of a rotation that includes Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and James Paxton, acquired from Seattle in a trade.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pitcher Jordan Lyles and the Pittsburgh Pirates have finalized a $2.05 million, one-year contract.

The 28-year-old right-hander can earn additional award bonuses as part of the deal, agreed to last week and announced Monday.

Lyles is 31-52 with a 5.28 ERA in 217 appearances for Houston, Colorado, San Diego and Milwaukee. Though Lyles has worked primarily as a reliever since 2016, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Lyles will have an opportunity to earn a spot in the starting rotation during spring training.

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Indians have acquired infielder Andruw Monasterio from Washington to complete the trade that sent All-Star catcher Yan Gomes to the Nationals.

Cleveland dealt Gomes last month for a package that included right-hander Jefry Rodriguez, outfielder Daniel Johnston and a player to be named, who turned to be Monasterio.

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Yankees gave pitcher CC Sabathia a $500,000 performance bonus, even though the 38-year-old left-hander was ejected from his final regular-season start six outs shy of the 155 innings specified in his contract for the payment.

Sabathia hit Tampa Bay’s Jesus Sucre starting the sixth inning on Sept. 27 with his 55th pitch of the night, retaliation for Andrew Kittredge throwing a pitch behind Austin Romine in the top half.

Sabathia hit Jake Bauers on the knuckles of his right hand with an 88 mph fastball with two outs in the fifth. Kittredge threw a 93 mph fastball behind Romine’s neck with his initial pitch in the sixth. After New York opened an 11-0 lead, Sabathia hit Sucre in the lower left leg with a 93 mph cutter on his first pitch in the bottom half.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Dodgers have agreed to a contract extension with play-by-play announcer Charley Steiner, who will work a reduced schedule in 2019 at his request.

The team said Monday the deal extends through the 2021 season. Steiner, who is 69, is entering his 15th season with the Dodgers.

TENNIS

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The women’s tennis tour has approved rule changes that involve seedings after a return from pregnancy. Former No. 1 players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are recent mothers on the tour.

The WTA says players returning to the tour may use a “special ranking” for up to three years from the birth of a child, and the exemption can be used for seedings at big events.

The tour says it will ensure women at WTA tournaments “are not penalized or prohibited from wearing leggings or compression shorts without a skirt, dress or shorts over them.”

SOCCER

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is staying with the LA Galaxy.

A person with knowledge of the deal confirmed the 37-year-old striker will play next season for the Major League Soccer team. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Galaxy had not yet formally announced it.

Ibrahimovic made $1.5 million for the Galaxy last season, the first year of a two-year contract. His new deal, according to the person with knowledge of the contract, includes a raise and makes him a designated player.

Ibrahimovic had 22 goals and 10 assists in 27 games last season, his first with the Galaxy.

- By AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson.

NEW YORK (AP) - Major League Soccer is shortening its season by a month, going to single-elimination playoffs and scheduling its 2019 MLS Cup final for Nov. 10 in its earliest finish since 2002.

The league announced the change Monday and will have an all-knockout postseason in place of a two-leg format for the conference semifinals and finals. MLS had started using a two-leg, total-goals format in 2003.

MLS says the new format will reward teams with top regular seasons with greater home-field advantage. Only the top two teams in each conference will get first-round byes.

FRISCO, Texas (AP) - Dallas has hired Luchi Gonzalez, at 38 the second-youngest head coach in Major League Soccer.

Gonzalez replaces Oscar Pareja, who left after five seasons and became coach of Tijuana.

The only younger MLS coach is 37-year-old Anthony Hudson of Colorado in 2002.

Gonzalez starred at Southern Methodist before joining Dallas’ academy in April 2012 as the under-18 coach. He became academy director in 2015 and has coached the under-16 team for the past four years. Dallas has signed 15 homegrown players coached by Gonzalez.

GYMNASTICS

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed more legislation inspired by the Larry Nassar sexual abuse case.

Laws enacted Monday will give judges more flexibility to admit evidence of a defendant’s prior commission of a sex assault, stiffen prison terms related to child pornography and expand who can give a victim impact statement at a sentencing under certain circumstances.

Nassar, a 55-year-old former Michigan State University sports doctor who also worked at USA Gymnastics, is serving effective life sentences for child porn possession and molesting young women and girls under the guise of medical treatment.

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