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  • Tue, 04 Aug 2015 16:44:00 +0000: Blue Jays, Royals escalate feud by trading barbs on Twitter - Top Stories

    TORONTO (AP) - The Royals and Blue Jays have moved on: After an exchange of hit batters, they're now trading barbs on Twitter.

    First, Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista posted a message Sunday night saying he had "lost a lot of respect" for Ned Yost after hearing the Royals manager praise home plate umpire Jim Wolf's handling of Sunday's game.

    Two Blue Jays batters were hit by pitches and reliever Aaron Sanchez was ejected for retaliating by hitting Kansas City infielder Alcides Escobar.

    That prompted Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura to post Tweets calling Bautista a "nobody" and accuse him of stealing signs. Ventura later deleted the messages.

    Bautista took the high road when asked to respond to Ventura's comments Monday.

    "He's a young player that could use some maturing," Bautista said. "Hopefully he focuses on playing the game and allowing his ability to create a name for himself."

    Bautista didn't back down from his remarks about Yost, calling the manager's praise of Wolf "ridiculous."

    Wolf warned both benches after Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez hit Toronto's Josh Donaldson in the first inning of Sunday's game, a 5-2 Blue Jays win.

    Donaldson complained to Wolf after Volquez and reliever Ryan Madson missed high and inside later in the game. Madson also hit Toronto's Troy Tulowitzki. Neither pitcher was ejected.

    Volquez responded after the game by calling Donaldson "a little baby."

    Wolf ejected Sanchez after Escobar was hit on the thigh in the eighth, causing both benches and both bullpens to empty. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who had been ejected earlier for arguing with Wolf, returned to the field for the melee. No punches were thrown.

  • Mon, 03 Aug 2015 21:09:00 +0000: Giants GM Reese speaks with injured DE Pierre-Paul - Top Stories

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Giants finally have spoken with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul about his injuries.

    Giants general manager Jerry Reese said Monday morning in a radio interview that "it was a personal conversation, and I want to keep it private between him and I."

    Reese added that the Giants are not annoyed about their inability to communicate with Pierre-Paul since he was injured in a fireworks accident July 4 in Florida. The team has not released details of the injuries suffered by Pierre-Paul in part because it has not been given the opportunity to physically examine him.

    The team sent representatives to Florida after the accident but they were unable to visit in the hospital with Pierre-Paul.

    Coach Tom Coughlin has not spoken with Pierre-Paul.

    "But as long as someone in the building is talking to him, as long as Jerry is talking to him, then the lines of communication are open," he said. "I'm sure I'll end up on the phone with him soon."

    Reese said on WFAN in New York that he also has spoken to Pierre-Paul's agent. Pierre-Paul has yet to sign his franchise tag tender, worth $14.8 million for 2015. Should he wind up on the non-football injury list once he signs it, the Giants would not be liable to pay him as long as he is on that list.

    Pierre-Paul is entering his sixth NFL season. A first-round pick in 2010, he helped the Giants win the Super Bowl the next season with 16 1/2 sacks. Last year, he had 12 1/2.

    Pierre-Paul is the team's top pass rusher, and the Giants brought back Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator this season. Spagnuolo builds his defense around getting pressure on the quarterback.

    But his injuries and his uncertain contract situation have placed his availability for 2015 in doubt.

    "I wish Jason nothing but the best. It's a traumatic situation. It was an accident," Reese said Sunday at the Giants' training facility. "My heart goes out to him. For a young man to have a traumatic event like that, it's life changing for him. And I hope and pray for the best for him."

    ---

    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

  • Mon, 03 Aug 2015 20:36:00 +0000: Packers TE Quarless loses daughter at birth - Top Stories

    GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless revealed Monday he missed the first two days of training camp because his daughter died at birth last week.

    Quarless had initially been excused from the first practice of camp on Thursday for what coach Mike McCarthy termed "a positive personal situation." The coach's tone changed ominously the following day when Quarless was again absent, saying the sixth-year tight end was dealing with "a very difficult family situation."

    On Monday, after fully participating in his first practice of camp, Quarless shared the devastating news and acknowledged that returning to football had been something of a safe haven.

    Quarless had taken part on a limited basis in Saturday's practice before players had Sunday off. He struggled at times to keep his emotions in check as he spoke Monday after several family members, including his 5-year-old son, watched practice.

    "It's the saddest day of my life," Quarless said. "I thank this team for the type of support they have given me to help me get through this. Just very thankful for these guys. It's really a family in here.

    "I (was) looking forward my first day getting back out there today. It felt real good. It felt real good just to get out there, catch some passes, be able to run around a little bit, kind of get back to your old self and get back into things.

    "The most important thing was my son was able to come out there. He was really looking forward to being a big brother," Quarless said. "Today was rough. I'm a little drained. I was drained the past couple of days. ... being around my teammates having fun and actually smile, actually to smile and be happy, that was good for me."

    Quarless had been looking forward to his daughter's birth, especially in the wake of his July 4 arrest in Miami Beach, Florida, on a misdemeanor gun charge. He allegedly fired two shots into the air after an argument with a group of women, according to police. He pleaded no contest last month and is due in court on Aug. 24.

    Quarless faces a possible suspension under the NFL personal conduct policy, although it's unclear when such a decision would be made. Defensive lineman Letroy Guion was arrested on drug and gun charges in February and reportedly learned last month that he'd be receiving a three-game suspension, although he is appealing.

    Asked how his conversation went with McCarthy after his arrest, Quarless replied, "He was very upset. Very upset. I just apologized to him for bringing negativity to this place. We have a great group of character guys. There's just so much character in this locker room. I just apologized for bringing negative because you never want to bring negative to something like this."

    Quarless said McCarthy then told him to "just focus, don't be too hard on yourself" and to learn from his mistake.

    "Life is serious. I'm a role model to a lot of kids," Quarless said. "You can't take things for granted and I don't take this organization for granted and I don't take my position for granted. I'm just really, really thankful. That's the main word I can really use is thankful for this group of guys.

    "My whole mindset about life has kind of changed a lot. With my daughter, I promise you, I was looking (to find) a little bit of happiness in my daughter. You just can't take life for granted."

    --

    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

  • Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:35:00 +0000: Winter Classic to bring Bruins, Canadiens to home of Pats - Top Stories

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The Winter Classic is coming to the home of the New England Patriots.

    NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined officials from the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday to say the Original Six rivals would meet at Gillette Stadium on New Year's Day. The Bruins will be the first team to host the event twice. They also hosted it in 2010, at Fenway Park.

    Patriots owner Robert Kraft also spoke at the ceremony, just hours after his impassioned "Deflategate" defense.

    Bettman notes that the three organizations are among the most successful in their sports, with 34 championships. The Canadiens have won 24 of those, but the Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champs.

    Bettman also says the league has extended the game's title sponsorship with Bridgestone for another five years.

  • Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:41:00 +0000: Michel Platini confirms he will run for FIFA president - Top Stories

    GENEVA (AP) Michel Platini has launched his campaign to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president, aiming to give the scandal-hit governing body "the dignity and the position it deserves."

    Platini, the UEFA president and a FIFA vice president, wrote to member federations in Europe on Wednesday saying he will stand in the election and is counting on their support.

    The FIFA election is on Feb. 26 and would-be candidates must apply by Oct. 26.

    "There are times in life when you have to take your destiny into your own hands," wrote Platini, who turned 60 last month. "I am at one of those decisive moments, at a juncture in my life and in events that are shaping the future of FIFA."

    Platini has for years been the obvious candidate to succeed Blatter, his mentor in FIFA politics. But a rift between the long-time allies deepened when Blatter broke a promise to leave office in 2015.

    The former France great chose last year not to oppose Blatter, who won a fifth presidential term on May 29. Four days later, Blatter announced his resignation plans under pressure from American and Swiss federal investigations of corruption implicating FIFA.

    "However, recent events force the supreme governing body of world football to turn over a new leaf and rethink its governance," Platini said.

    Platini chose to run after getting encouragement from some of his fellow FIFA vice presidents last week in St. Petersburg, Russia.

    Five of the six confederation leaders, including Platini, were there for the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw with only the North American regional body missing.

    Platini then traveled to Philadelphia for the Gold Cup final on Sunday, and briefed CONCACAF leaders on his plans. They included FIFA executive committee colleague Sunil Gulati, the U.S. Soccer Federation president.

    The U.S. body was among the five FIFA members which nominated Prince Ali bin al-Hussein to challenge Blatter two months ago. The Jordanian prince was publicly supported by Platini but Blatter had pockets of support across Europe in a 133-73 victory.

    Platini met the prince in the south of France last week and discussed the FIFA election.

    Though not the first would-be candidate to launch a formal bid, Platini is the most serious contender in the contest so far.

    Another former FIFA vice president, Chung Mong-joon of South Korea, has suggested he will run after stating last week that he doubted Platini was serious about wanting the job. Former Brazil great Zico and Liberia federation president Musa Bility have said they want to seek the five nominations required to be a candidate.

    Diego Maradona also said he wants the FIFA job, although the colorful former Argentina great is unlikely to be taken seriously.

    The most detailed manifesto by any recent presidential hopeful was issued by Jerome Champagne, the former FIFA international relations director whose exit in 2010 was engineered with Platini's support.

    However, Champagne did not take part in the last election after failing to get the five nominations required by a January deadline.

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