Kansas City, Mo. — General manager Dayton Moore has given Kansas City Royals manager Trey Hillman a vote of confidence, saying he will return next season.
The Royals (37-54) go into today’s doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels 17 games below .500 after losing six straight and eight of nine.
They took leads into the eighth inning in three games over the weekend against Tampa Bay, but the Rays rallied each time and swept the series.
Hillman said he appreciated the vote of confidence. He had never played or coached in the majors, spending five years as a manager in Japan before the Royals hired him after the 2007 season.
Hillman guided the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters to the playoffs three times and the Japan Series title in 2006.
Pedro Martinez: ‘I’m ready’
Clearwater, Fla. — Pedro Martinez says he is ready to get back on the mound.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ new right-hander is getting closer to making a rehab start as he prepares for a return to the majors.
“I’m ready, I’m ready,” the three-time Cy Young Award winner said after throwing long toss Monday. “I did it (throwing) in the Dominican, now I am ready to do it here.”
Francisco out again
Arlington, Texas — Texas Rangers closer Frank Francisco, who already has been on the disabled list twice for injuries, was put on the 15-day DL Monday because of a mild case of pneumonia.
Giambi placed on DL
Oakland, Calif. — Struggling slugger Jason Giambi has been placed on the Oakland Athletics’ disabled list due to a strained right quadriceps muscle.
The A’s said the injury wasn’t considered career-threatening, but couldn’t provide a timeline for Giambi’s return.
Wang suffers setback
New York — Chien-Ming Wang had a setback in his recovery from a strained right shoulder, making it unlikely he will return to the New York Yankees anytime soon.
Wang’s biceps felt tender when he played catch Monday and he won’t attempt to throw again until Friday.
Vick released from custody
Hampton, Va. — Suspended NFL star Michael Vick ended his federal dogfighting sentence Monday, freeing him to lobby for a return to the field.
Vick’s attorney Lawrence Woodward told the Associated Press outside Vick’s suburban Virginia home that the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback had been released from federal custody as scheduled. That means Vick no longer has to wear the electronic monitor he has had while under home confinement for the last two months of his 23-month sentence.
Freedom will allow Vick to step up his efforts to resume his pro football career. Vick hopes to meet soon with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has said he would review Vick’s status after Vick completed his sentence. It’s unclear when a meeting will occur.
McNair’s blood-alcohol high
Nashville — Authorities say former NFL star Steve McNair had a blood-alcohol level twice Tennessee’s legal limit for driving when his girlfriend shot him to death.
Tennessee Assistant Medical Examiner Feng Li said Monday that a toxicology report showed a trace amount of marijuana in the body of Sahel Kazemi. Police say the 20-year-old Kazemi shot McNair July 4 in a Nashville condo before killing herself.
Former kicker sues
Yorba Linda, Calif. — Former NFL place-kicker Tony Zendejas has sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, claiming he was harassed for seven years before facing rape charges on which he was eventually acquitted.
Zendejas’ $2 million suit claims he was charged with rape without foundation. A Los Angeles County sheriff’s official declined comment Monday.
Raiders sign TE Myers
Alameda, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders have agreed to a four-year contract with sixth-round pick Brandon Myers.
The tight end from Iowa is the first of Oakland’s seven draft picks to sign a contract.
Buyout stalling Rubio
Minneapolis — The only thing keeping Ricky Rubio from joining the Minnesota Timberwolves right now is a multimillion-dollar buyout from his professional contract in Spain.
The price tag could reach as high as $6.6 million. That’s enough to make any 18-year-old think twice about chasing his dream of playing in the NBA. But several sports-marketing experts say a move to the United States could bring Rubio millions in endorsements to help offset the buyout.
Lawsuit accuses Cuban
Dallas — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is accused of wrongfully diverting millions of dollars from the NBA franchise’s home arena to help make up for cash shortfalls incurred by the team, according to a lawsuit filed by a company controlled by the team’s former owner.
The lawsuit claims Cuban covered the Mavericks’ financial shortfalls by obtaining more than $29 million in unauthorized loans through a limited partnership designed to distribute profits from the arena, the American Airlines Center. It accuses the Mavericks and three other companies controlled by Cuban of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and unjust enrichment.
Shaq to star in TV show
Cleveland — Shaquille O’Neal would deluge Michael Phelps in a cannonball competition. What about a race across the pool?
The NBA superstar will star in “Shaq Vs.,” a TV series where the 15-time All-Star center will challenge top athletes in their respective sports. During one episode in the show, which debuts on Aug. 18 on ABC, Shaq will swim against Olympic superstar Phelps.
Nash’s contract extended
Phoenix — Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns have agreed on a two-year, $22 million contract extension, his agent said.
Bill Duffy confirmed the agreement Monday with the AP.
The deal will keep the two-time MVP point guard under contract with the Suns through the 2011-2012 season. The 35-year-old Nash, entering his 13th NBA season, had one year left on his contract that would pay him $13 million next season.
Jack heading to Toronto
Indianapolis — The Indiana Pacers are not bringing back guard Jarrett Jack and may sign Earl Watson to replace him.
The Pacers said Monday that they will not match the offer sheet Toronto issued to Jack.
Hawks sign Teague
Atlanta — The Atlanta Hawks have signed their first-round draft choice, guard Jeff Teague.
The 6-foot-2 Teague was the 19th choice overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. At Wake Forest last season, he scored 18.8 points a game.
Notre Dame-Army cleared
New York — Charlie Weis remembered when he met with George Steinbrenner at Legends Field during spring training two years ago.
“I looked at him and said, ‘Mr. Steinbrenner, you’ve got this new stadium going up. I mean, you’re not going to have Notre Dame and Army scheduled for your first football game?”’ the Notre Dame coach recalled Monday. “He laughed, first of all. You know, I don’t think he’s used to people busting his chops too often.”
Turns out, the Fighting Irish will play the first football game at the $1.5 billion ballpark, facing Army in a nationally televised matchup on Saturday night, Nov. 20, 2010.
Ferentz, Iowa agree
Iowa City, Iowa — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has signed a seven-year contract that will keep him with the Hawkeyes through the 2015 season. Ferentz’s performance bonuses and his annual salary of $3.02 million won’t change under the new contract.
Mayfield’s lawyers respond
Attorneys for Jeremy Mayfield on Monday said a federal judge correctly granted an injunction that lifted the drivers’ indefinite suspension for failing a random drug test.
In a motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, N.C., Mayfield’s lawyers contended Judge Graham Mullen properly ruled when he granted a July 1 injunction. The filing is a response to NASCAR’s request that Mullen’s order be put on hold as the decision is appealed to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.