Thursday's Sports In Brief

AP - Sports

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) -- With the World Series over, Alex Rodriguez resumed his criticism of Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig for its investigation that led to a 211-game suspension that the New York Yankees third baseman is trying to overturn.

In addition to a grievance filed by the players' union, Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against Selig and MLB that accused them of engaging in a ''witch hunt.''

''I am deeply troubled by my team's investigative findings with respect to MLB's conduct,'' Rodriguez said in a statement Thursday. ''How can the gross, ongoing misconduct of the MLB investigations division not be relevant to my suspension, when my suspension supposedly results directly from that division's work?''

MLB suspended Rodriguez on Aug. 5 for violations of its drug agreement and labor contract, but he was allowed to keep playing pending a determination of the grievance. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz has heard eight days of hearings, and the next session is Nov. 18.

Speaking last weekend at the World Series, Selig praised MLB's investigative team, saying ''I'm very comfortable with what they did and how they did it.''

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former major league third baseman Matt Williams is the new manager of the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals will hold a news conference Friday to introduce Williams as the team's fifth manager since it moved to Washington from Montreal in 2005. He replaces Davey Johnson, who is retiring.

It is Williams' first job as a major league manager. He has only brief managerial experience at any level, having spent time in the Arizona Fall League and five weeks at Double-A in the minors.

He's been the Arizona Diamondbacks third-base coach the past three seasons.

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Indians closed out their relationship with Chris Perez.

The team released the colorful closer following a season in which he performed below his All-Star abilities, got arrested and surrendered his job in the final week as Cleveland tried to clinch a playoff spot.

Also, the Indians re-signed veteran slugger Jason Giambi, who provided leadership last season along with some clutch hits.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - The Texas Rangers declined their $12 million contract option for Lance Berkman, making the 37-year-old switch-hitter a free agent.

Berkman gets a $1 million buyout for the second year of the deal signed in January.

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PRO FOOTBALL

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - The Cincinnati Bengals lost All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins with a right knee injury, and they might be without him for the rest of the season.

Following a 22-20 overtime loss to Miami, coach Marvin Lewis said his medical staff believed the injury was serious.

''They think he has an ACL injury,'' Lewis said. ''We won't know until we get home.''

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - All-Pro 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was activated to the 53-man roster from the non-football injury list two days after he turned himself in to Santa Clara County authorities as he faces weapons charges.

One of San Francisco's dynamic pass rushers appears ready to return.

Smith had been undergoing rehab at an in-patient facility for substance abuse since late September and missed five games. With San Francisco (6-2) on its bye this week, Smith could resume practicing and working out on his own, then formally practice next week ahead of a Nov. 10 home game against the Carolina Panthers.

Smith was charged Oct. 9 with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a party at his home in June 2012.

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - Mike Shanahan leveled a scathing critique at Albert Haynesworth, saying the former Redskins defensive lineman was ''lazy'' and had a ''lack of passion'' and ''lack of character.''

The Washington Redskins coach was responding to comments made this week by Haynesworth, who told Tennessee Sports Radio that Shanahan is ''conniving,'' self-centered and will run quarterback Robert Griffin III ''into the ground.''

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Former Cardinals defensive back Hamza Abdullah took to Twitter to blast the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell for not doing enough to ensure players' well-being.

In dozens of profanity-laced tweets, Abdullah said on his verified account that the NFL treats players like slaves, that Goodell would sell his ''soul for a dollar,'' and that the league should play for psychiatric evaluations for its players.

Abdullah also implied that he had suicidal thoughts, tweeting that ''Every time I go to sleep, I pray that Allah takes care of my family, just in case I don't wake up.'' In the next tweet, he adds, ''And quietly, I'm disappointed sometimes when I do wake up.''

Abdullah's brother, Husain Abdullah, is a defensive back for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was not in the locker room during Thursday's media availability, though he did attend practice.

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Kentucky and its roster full of high school All-Americas was the narrow choice over Michigan State in The Associated Press' preseason college basketball poll.

The Wildcats, who finished last season with an NIT opening-round loss at Robert Morris, received 27 first-place votes and 1,546 points from the 65-member national media panel.

The Spartans, who return four starters from the team that lost to Duke in the NCAA tournament's round of 16, snared 22 first-place votes and 1,543 points.

The last preseason No. 1 not to be ranked in the final poll of the previous season was Indiana in 1979-80.

Defending national champion Louisville received 14 first-place votes and was third, while Duke, which received the other two No. 1 votes, was fourth.

Kansas was fifth and was followed by Arizona and Michigan. Oklahoma State and Syracuse tied for eighth and Florida rounded out the Top Ten.

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PRO HOCKEY

DENVER (AP) - Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov will be able to travel with the team while prosecutors consider whether he should be charged with assaulting his girlfriend.

A judge said Varlamov could be released if he posted $5,000 bond and be allowed to travel with the team, but he was ordered to stay away from his girlfriend, among other restrictions.

The girlfriend, Evgeniya Vavrinyuk, told investigators that Varlamov kicked her in the chest, knocking her down, and stomped on her chest as she lay on the ground in her apartment on Monday, according to an arrest affidavit. She also accused Varlamov of dragging her by her hair and telling her that he would have beaten her more if they had been in Russia.

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GOLF

SHANGHAI (AP) - With eight birdies and hardly any stress, Rory McIlroy opened the HSBC Champions with a 7-under 65 for a two-shot lead over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Jamie Donaldson. It was the first time since he won in Dubai last November that McIlroy has been in the outright lead after any round.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Australia's Peter Senior shot an 8-under 63 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

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OLYMPICS

LONDON (AP) - Senior IOC members have urged the Olympic body and Russian authorities to investigate the dumping of construction waste that has raised concerns of possible contamination of the water supply in the Winter Games host city of Sochi.

The Associated Press revealed Tuesday that Russia's state-owned rail monopoly is dumping tons of waste into an illegal landfill in Akhshtyr, just north of Sochi, in violation of organizers' ''Zero Waste'' pledge for the Olympics. On a visit last week to the site, AP reporters saw trucks dump concrete slabs into a gigantic Russian Railways-operated pit filled with spray cans, tires and foam sheets.

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TENNIS

PARIS (AP) - Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic overcame big servers to reach the Paris Masters quarterfinals.

Nadal beat last year's runner-up, Jerzy Janowicz, 7-5, 6-4, and Djokovic rallied from a set down to top John Isner 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2.

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) - Ana Ivanovic beat Sam Stosur 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 for her second straight victory in the group stage at the season-ending WTA Tournament of Champions.

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