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Morning roundup: Dodgers' Bellinger rips Altuve, Astros for cheating

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, talks with center fielder Cody Bellinger during spring training on Friday in Phoenix. [AP Photo/Gregory Bull]
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, talks with center fielder Cody Bellinger during spring training on Friday in Phoenix. [AP Photo/Gregory Bull]

Cody Bellinger thinks Houston's Jose Altuve stole the 2017 AL MVP award from the Yankees' Aaron Judge and the Astros swiped that year's World Series title from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"These guys were cheating for three years," Bellinger said Friday at the Dodgers spring training camp. "I think what people don't realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us."

The reigning NL MVP, Bellinger criticized Astros owner Jim Crane's attempt at an apology Thursday and called MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's punishment "weak." Manager AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one season each, and the team was fined $5 million and stripped of its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and '21. The Astros then fired Hinch and Luhnow.

Minor leagues: Major League Baseball is raising the minimum salary for minor league players in 2021, according to a memo sent Friday from the commissioner's office to all 30 teams and obtained by The Associated Press.

Two years after successfully lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from federal minimum wage laws, MLB opted to give those players a wage increase between 38% and 72%. Players at rookie and short-season levels will see their minimum weekly pay raised from $290 to $400, and players at Class A will go from $290 to $500. Double-A will jump from $350 to $600, and Triple-A from $502 to $700.

Minor leaguers are paid only during the season and don't receive wages during the offseason or spring training. That means Triple-A players can earn $14,000 during their five-month season, and short-season players at the lowest levels can make $4,800 during the three-month season.

Indians: Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger could be sidelined two months after undergoing surgery Friday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, an injury the right-hander sustained while working out at the team's training complex in Goodyear, Arizona, earlier this week.

Ravens release former OU safety Tony Jefferson

The Baltimore Ravens released former Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson on Friday, cutting ties with one of their defense’s highest-paid starters after his third and most inconsistent season in Baltimore.

Jefferson, 28, struggled in coverage last year and suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5. He acknowledged on social media last month that he did not expect to be retained this offseason.

Jefferson was owed $11.2 million in 2020, the final year of his four-year deal, and the Ravens will save $7 million with his release.

Redskins: Washington released cornerback Josh Norman with one year left on the big contract he signed in 2016, and wide receiver Paul Richardson after two disappointing, injury-plagued seasons.

Ravens: Baltimore offensive lineman James Hurst has been suspended for the first four games of the 2020 season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancers.


Kuchar takes lead at Genesis Invitational

Matt Kuchar made a mess of the easiest hole at Riviera. He couldn't find the fairway and felt he was on the defensive all afternoon Friday in the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles.

He was good enough with the short irons that Kuchar still managed a 2-under 69 and built a two-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and two others going into the weekend at Riviera. Tiger Woods is nine shots back.

LPGA: Seven-time major winner Inbee Park moved into contention for her 20th tour win by taking a share of the second-round lead at the Women's Australian Open on Friday.

Park's 4-under 69 left her with a two-round total of 10-under 136 at Royal Adelaide, level with England's Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70), who led after the first round.

American Jillian Hollis (69), was in third place, one stroke behind.


Track & Field: Moments after Tori Franklin saw her women's U.S. indoor triple jump record fall Friday at the USA Track and Field Indoor championships, she took it back. Franklin went 48-feet, 1/2-inch on her final jump to surpass Keturah Orji's jump of 47-10 from her second attempt and win the event.

Speed skating: Graeme Fish broke a world record on his way to winning his first long track speed-skating world championship. Fish finished in 12 minutes, 33.86 seconds Friday to claim gold in the men's 10,000 meters in the opening event of the second day of the ISU World Single Distances Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, Utah. The 22-year-old Canadian eclipsed the previous world record of 12:36.30, set by fellow Canadian Ted-Jan Bloemen in 2015.

Wire reports