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Wednesday Sports in Brief

BASEBALL

HOUSTON (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly was suspended for eight games by Major League Baseball on Wednesday, a day after throwing a fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and mockingly taunting Astros star Carlos Correa.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Minute Maid Park. The game marked the first time the teams had met since it was revealed Houston stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title that came at the Dodgers’ expense.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was suspended one game and Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly elected to appeal and can continue to play until the process is complete. Roberts was serving his penalty Wednesday night when the Dodgers played at Houston.

NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball players just might not want to play nine innings twice in one day during this pandemic-delayed season.

While Cleveland swept the Chicago White Sox in the first doubleheader of the season on Tuesday, union head Tony Clark called Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem and said players might want to consider shortened twinbills this year.

The players’ association is surveying members and may propose either two seven-inning games for a twinbill of nine innings for the opener and seven for the nightcap.

Major League Baseball is checking opinions at the owner and general manager levels, and staff hopes for a decision by Saturday to make a change or leave the rules the way the are.

ATLANTA (AP) — Nick Markakis is returning to the Atlanta Braves, three weeks after announcing he was opting out of the season due to his concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Markakis, the veteran outfielder who is in his sixth season with Atlanta, said Wednesday he changed his mind about sitting out after watching his teammates play the first five games.

NEW YORK (AP) — José Reyes has retired from baseball, almost two years after playing his final game.

The 37-year-old, a four-time All-Star shortstop for the New York Mets, made the announcement Wednesday on Twitter.

Reyes played for the Mets from 2003-11 and left as a free agent to sign a $106 million, six-year contract with the Miami Marlins. He was traded to Toronto after one season, then was dealt to Colorado in July 2015. Following a domestic violence incident involving Reyes and his wife, Reyes was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, then suspended without pay and wound up missing 59 days.

He was optioned to the minors by the Rockies and then released, and the Mets brought him back.

Reyes hit .283 with 145 homers, 719 RBIs and 517 stolen bases.

BASKETBALL

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Hornets owner and six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan has started sharing details of where some of his $100 million pledge to the Black community will be allocated.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted Peoples and Families Movement will each receive $1 million, while Black Voters Matter, which works to increase voter registration and turnout, will get $500,000 it was announced Wednesday.

Jordan, who made the $100 million pledge to the Black community back in June, said the money will support social justice, economic justice and education and awareness.

TENNIS

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — No. 1-ranked Ash Barty has pulled out of the U.S. Open because she doesn’t want to risk traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 24-year-old Australian is the highest-profile player so far to opt out of the Aug. 31-Sept. 13 Grand Slam tournament in New York because of the global health crisis.

“My team and I have decided that we won’t be travelling to the ... Western & Southern Open and the U.S. Open this year,” Barty said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press on Thursday.

Barty is yet to decide if she’ll defend the French Open title she won last year for her breakthrough singles major. The clay-court Grand Slam event was postponed earlier in the year and rescheduled to start Sept. 27, after the U.S. Open.

HOCKEY

CHICAGO (AP) — The National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks said Wednesday they are banning headdresses at home games as part of their pledge to honor the Native American community.

The move comes after conversations with Native American partners to establish new policies and initiatives. While the team will play the remainder of its games this season in an empty arena in Edmonton, Alberta, the no headdresses policy begins as soon as fans are allowed back at Chicago’s United Center for games or events.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference reworked its football schedule Wednesday to allow each team to play 11 games and to incorporate Notre Dame, which is giving up its cherished independence in a year turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ACC’s university presidents approved plans for a schedule with 10 conference games and one nonconference, and for pushing back both the first week of the season (from Labor Day weekend to the weekend of Sept. 12) and the league championship game (from Dec. 5 to either Dec. 12 or 19).

Miami athletic director Blake James called the schedule “aspirational” as concerns about COVID-19 have put major college football in the fall in peril.

The ACC will eliminate its traditional divisional format this season and the two teams with the best winning percentages in conference play will meet in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the league championship game. Maybe a Clemson-Notre Dame rematch? The league will release specific dates and broadcast plans later.

Notre Dame, which competes in the ACC in all sports except football and hockey, will play in a football conference for the first time in the 133-year history of the proudly independent program — if the season is played.

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech star cornerback Caleb Farley announced Wednesday he will not play for the Hokies if there is a season, becoming the most notable major-college football player to opt out because of concerns about the coronavirus.

The redshirt junior from Hickory, North Carolina, revealed his decision in a video posted to social media. The 6-foot-2, 207-pound Farley is considered one of the nation’s top defensive backs. He said he’s forgoing the season “due to uncertain health conditions and regulations and all the other opt-outs going on in football right now.”

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley will earn an average of more than $7.5 million a year under a contract extension through the 2025 season.

The university’s board of regents approved the two-year extension Tuesday. The deal was negotiated in February, before the coronavirus pandemic began causing financial stress to college athletic budgets across the country.

The 36-year-old Riley enters his fourth season with a 36-6 record, three Big 12 championships and three appearances in the College Football Playoff. He also has coached Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray and Heisman finalist Jalen Hurts.

Riley earns $6.15 million after he and other athletic department employees making more than $1 million took a 10% pay cut as part of coronavirus-related budget cuts.

Riley is scheduled to make $8.05 million starting in February.

OBITUARY

BOSTON (AP) — John McNamara, who managed the Boston Red Sox to within one strike of a World Series victory in 1986 before an unprecedented collapse on the field extended the team’s championship drought into the new millennium, has died. He was 88.

McNamara died Tuesday at his home in Tennessee, his wife, Ellen, told The Associated Press. The death was unexpected and the cause was not yet known, she said.

A weak-hitting catcher who first signed with the St. Louis Cardinals but never made it past Triple-A, McNamara went on to win — and lose — more than 1,000 games while managing six major league teams. He took over in Boston, his fifth, in 1985 and guided the Red Sox to the AL pennant the next year.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Lou Henson, the plain-spoken coach who took New Mexico State and Illinois to the Final Four during a 21-year career that included nearly 800 victories and a feud with fellow Big Ten coach Bob Knight, has died. He was 88.

Henson died Saturday at his home in Champaign and he was buried in a private service Wednesday, the Illinois athletic department said.

Henson left the game as the winningest coach at both Illinois and New Mexico State, and still ranks fifth all-time among Big Ten coaches in total wins (423) and conference wins (214). In 2015, he was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, an honor his fans thought might never come.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Irene Pollin, who co-owned the NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Capitals along with late husband Abe, has died. She was 96.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment said Pollin died Tuesday at her home in Amherst, Massachusetts.

“Much like her husband, Abe Pollin, she was an icon in the sports world and beloved throughout the Greater Washington communities who have benefited from her generosity over the course of her lifetime,” Monumental chairman and CEO Ted Leonsis said. “Irene will always be remembered and truly missed.”

The Pollins owned the Wizards, who were known as the Bullets until the mid-1990s, for 46 years. They were the NBA’s longest-tenured owners when they sold the franchise to Leonsis in 2010.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mike Gillespie, who played on and coached College World Series title teams with Southern California, died Wednesday. He was 80.

He died in Irvine following complications from recent lung issues and a stroke, according to USC, which spoke to his son Mitch.

Gillespie was an infielder/outfielder on USC’s 1961 CWS championship team and the 1960 runner-up squad.

He was USC’s coach from 1987-2006, leading the Trojans to five Pac-10 titles, 14 NCAA Regional appearances, four CWS berths and the 1998 CWS crown. He won 763 games at USC and coached 30 future major leaguers, including Aaron and Bret Boone, Geoff Jenkins, Morgan Ensberg, Mark Prior and Barry Zito.

He coached the U.S. national team in 2000.

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