Beltrán and Mets part ways amid sign-stealing scandal...Beckham wanted by police over butt swat

NEW YORK (AP) — Carlos Beltrán is out as manager of the New York Mets before a single game. It's the latest fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball. The Mets say they and Beltrán have agreed to part ways. The move comes two days after Boston cut ties with manager Alex Cora, who was Houston’s bench coach in 2017 when Beltrán played for the Astros. A day before that, manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired by Houston soon after they were suspended for the 2020 season by Commissioner Rob Manfred for their roles in the cheating scheme.

CLEVELAND (AP) — A person familiar with the Browns' plans tells The Associated Press the team will interview Patriots director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort to be their general manager. Ossenfort has been with New England for 15 seasons. He is to meet with Cleveland tomorrow. The Browns hired Kevin Stefanski as their head coach this week. He'll help the team pick its next GM because owner Jimmy Haslam wants to assure alignment between his coach and top football decision maker. 

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Police in New Orleans say a misdemeanor simple battery warrant has been issued for Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former LSU star Odell Beckham Jr. The warrant comes as video posted on social media appears to show Beckham swatting a security officer's backside during LSU's locker room celebration after Monday night's national championship game in the Superdome. The arrest warrant follows another postgame controversy involving Beckham. LSU has acknowledged contacting NCAA officials about Beckham apparently handing out cash to Tigers players after the championship game.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has won the Pro Football Writers of America Executive of the Year award. Lynch was honored today for his role in helping transform the 49ers from a four-win season in 2018 to a 13-3 record this past season. San Francisco earned the top seed in the NFC for the first time since 1997 and is playing Green Bay in the NFC championship game on Sunday. The Niners are just the sixth team to make the conference title game in the Super Bowl era a year after winning four or fewer games. Their nine-game improvement was the best in franchise history.

MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James leads Luka Doncic (DAHN’-chich) in the race to become the leading Western Conference vote-getter and one of the two captains for next month’s NBA All-Star Game. The NBA says James has a lead of about 150,000 votes over Doncic for the top spot and presumably the captaincy for the game. Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH'-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON'-poh) of the Milwaukee Bucks is the Eastern Conference leader, with roughly 2 million more votes than Toronto’s Pascal Siakam (see-A'-kam). Voting continues through Monday and starters will be announced on Jan. 23.

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