Archive for Wednesday, August 3, 2011

National briefs: Angels’ Weaver suspended 6 games

August 3, 2011

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Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver will appeal the six-game suspension he drew Tuesday from Major League Baseball for throwing a pitch over the head of Detroit’s Alex Avila last weekend.

Weaver also was fined an undisclosed amount by MLB senior vice president Joe Garagiola Jr. for the toss, which came right after the Tigers’ Carlos Guillen showboated on a home run.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia was suspended one game because Weaver threw at Avila after both teams were warned Sunday by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. Scioscia sat out Tuesday night’s game against Minnesota.

“I obviously knew that something was going to happen,” Weaver said. “It’s six games, and it is what it is, but I’ve decided to appeal it. I wanted my voice heard a little bit on the situation and how it went down, see what they feel about it and go from there. So we’ll see what happens.”

Weaver will have his say during a hearing in New York during the middle of next week while the Angels are in town for a three-game set with the Yankees.

Golf

Woods returns after 3-month break

Akron, Ohio — Tiger Woods was on the practice range just as the sun began to rise Tuesday over Firestone, his first time on a PGA Tour golf course in nearly three months.

Even as the season heads toward a conclusion, Woods can’t wait to get started.

“I’m excited to compete, to play,” Woods said. “And hopefully, to win the tournament.”

That part about Woods hasn’t changed.

It’s everything else in the world of golf he once ruled that is so much different. Woods showed up at the Bridgestone Invitational at No. 28, his lowest world ranking since the start of his first full season on the PGA Tour. He has a new caddie — at least temporarily — in Bryon Bell, a childhood friend who now heads up a design business that is not getting much work these days with a downturn in the industry.

He no longer is the dominant force in golf, having gone 20 months since his last win at the Australian Masters.

Soccer

Fears raised about hate groups

London — The head of British soccer’s anti-racism body warns that extremists are trying to infiltrate the game, citing the massacre in Norway as a wake-up call.

Herman Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out and a member of the House of Lords, fears right-wing hard-liners could exploit the country’s economic troubles, with “massive deprivation” in parts of England having the potential to foment hatred and exclusion.

The racial abuse of black players that blighted English soccer in the 1970s and ’80s has largely been eradicated thanks in large part to the work of the Kick It Out group.

“Extremists are still trying to get back into football,” Ouseley told The Associated Press. “We’ve managed to push them off the terraces, away from grounds. But it’s still out in the community and it’s important that we understand that they are trying win over the minds of young, vulnerable people and a lot of football fans are young and vulnerable.

“We must always use football as a basis to help young people have a better understanding to have open minds, to see the dangers lurking within those who are offering them easy solutions through hatred.”

Ouseley is concerned that confessed Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik could inspire disaffected people in Britain. He raised the issue while addressing top soccer officials at an anti-racism event at Wembley Stadium.

NFL

Seattle reaches deal with TE Miller

Renton, Wash. — Pete Carroll believes he got the deep threat wide receiver he needed in Sidney Rice and burly veteran presence needed on the offensive line with Robert Gallery.

Now he’s grabbed the top pass-catching tight end on the free agent market.

The Seahawks announced Tuesday afternoon they had reached agreement on a reported five-year deal with Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller. Terms weren’t announced.

Earlier Tuesday, the Seahawks agreed to terms with defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson, who adds depth to Seattle’s defensive line as a potential rusher in passing situations.

The Miller signing reunites him with former Oakland coach Tom Cable, now Seattle’s offensive line coach, and with Miller coming off the two finest seasons of his pro career. Just 25 years old, Miller was a Pro Bowl selection last season after catching 60 passes and five touchdowns, but he was even better in 2009 when he caught 66 passes for 865 yards and three touchdowns.

Texans WR Johnson hurts finger

Houston — Houston Texans All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson will miss “a day or two” of practice after dislocating his left index finger in a morning workout.

Coach Gary Kubiak said Johnson will be OK.

“I think we got lucky,” Kubiak said.

Johnson wore a bandage on his finger as he watched the Tuesday afternoon walk-through from the sideline.

Johnson was running a slant route in an individual drill and leaped to catch a pass, with rookie cornerback Roc Carmichael defending. Johnson couldn’t make the catch and came down shaking his left hand. He took off his glove, his finger was bleeding and he walked to the sideline, where a trainer examined him.

“As soon as I felt it pop, I felt it out of place and I popped it right back in,” Johnson said. “I really wasn’t in a lot of pain, or anything like that. It was just more concern about the bleeding and stuff.”

Johnson left the field on a cart and went to the hospital. He was back at Reliant Stadium by 1 p.m., eating lunch in the cafeteria with his teammates.

“I wasn’t scared,” Johnson said. “It’s just a dislocated finger. I’ve had worse. I don’t think I’ll be worried about a finger keeping me from missing anything.”

Gabbert quickly impresses Jags

Jacksonville, Fla. — Blaine Gabbert’s first week of training camp has included impressive throws, nifty runs and deft decisions, making him look more like a regular than a rookie.

It’s exactly what the Jacksonville Jaguars expected when they selected the former Missouri quarterback 10th overall in April’s NFL Draft.

Seeing Gabbert in person has only reinforced Jacksonville’s decision. After not being able to get on the field for three months because of the NFL lockout, Gabbert needed just a few days to dazzle coaches, teammates, front office personnel and fans.

Back-shoulder throws, perfectly placed seam passes and scrambling runs have been among Gabbert’s highlights.

“He’s got a great skill set in terms of arm and size and speed, those things,” coach Jack Del Rio said Tuesday. “We think he’s got a bright upside. He’s got a lot of work to do. He’s doing some things now off natural ability, being able to throw the ball that will only get better.”

Saints reach deal with draft pick

Metairie, La. — The New Orleans Saints were off Tuesday. Their front office was busy.

General manager Mickey Loomis confirmed New Orleans had agreed to terms with its top draft choice, defensive end Cameron Jordan, and veteran tight end David Thomas.

Eagles sign RB Brown

Bethlehem, Pa. — The Eagles agreed to contract terms Tuesday with veteran running back Ronnie Brown, who spent his first six seasons with the Dolphins.

The 29-year-old Brown rushed for 4,815 yards and 36 touchdowns and caught 184 passes for 1,491 yards with Miami. He ran for 1,000 yards in 2006 and made his only Pro Bowl team in 2008.

Brown is the seventh major acquisition the Eagles have made in the past week.

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