Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
MLB notebook: Astros' Baker concerned as criticism continues
New Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker is concerned opposing pitchers will retaliate against his players by hitting them with pitches in the wake of the team's sign-stealing scandal. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling said Friday there will be a time and a place for retaliation from the mound. Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger previously declared Astros hitters won't have comfortable at-bats in the early part of the season.
Rallying: Evans takes world championship lead with win in Sweden
Elfyn Evans opened his account with Toyota by taking a dominant win in Rally Sweden on Sunday to lead the world championship for the first time. The Welshman, who led from the opening stage of a winter event shortened due to a lack of snow and unusually mild conditions, beat reigning world champion Ott Tanak by 12.7 seconds.
Park wins Australian Open, boosting Olympic hopes
South Korean Park In-bee boosted her chances of being eligible to defend her Olympic title when she notched a three-shot victory at the Women's Australian Open on Sunday. After starting the final round with a three-shot cushion, Park remained clear despite not exactly setting Royal Adelaide on fire in shooting one-over-par 74.
Bertens downs Rybakina to retain St Petersburg title
Kiki Bertens powered past Kazakh Elena Rybakina 6-1 6-3 in the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy final on Sunday to successfully defend her crown. The world number eight from the Netherlands converted four out of eight breakpoints and saved all five on her serve to seal a 10th WTA singles title in 74 minutes.
Linette ends Kung's dream run to win Thailand Open
Fifth seed Magda Linette ended Swiss qualifier Leonie Kung's dream run with a 6-3 6-2 victory in the Thailand Open final in Hua Hin on Sunday to claim her second WTA Tour title. Linette, a semi-finalist in Thailand last year, had dropped just one set heading into the final and she produced another dominant display to reach the top 40 in the WTA rankings for the first time.
With biryani and rice balls, Malaysia aims for halal Olympic gold
A small factory in Malaysia's capital is preparing thousands of ready-to-eat halal meals, from fried rice to chicken biryani, to be shipped off to Japan for 2020's biggest sporting event. Food firms from Muslim-majority Malaysia, are expected to be big winners from a rush of Muslim travelers to Japan for the Olympics and Paralympic Games, from late July to September.
McIlroy, Scott, Kuchar tied atop impressive Riviera leaderboard
Rory McIlroy made a deft par save at the final hole to earn a three-way tie for the lead with Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar on Saturday as the Genesis Open headed toward a Hollywood finish in Tinseltown. Despite missing several excellent birdie opportunities, Northern Irishman McIlroy carded three-under-par 68 in magnificent winter sunshine at Riviera in Los Angeles.
NHL roundup: Lightning beat Flyers for 10th straight win
Nikita Kucherov notched a goal and an assist as the Tampa bay Lightning beat the visiting Philadelphia Flyers 5-3 on Saturday to push the NHL's longest active winning streak to 10 straight. Brayden Point scored a third-period goal to stretch his point streak to 10 games (three goals, 11 assists). It was the 11th straight home win for the Lightning breaking the team record of 10 wins set in the 2014-15 campaign, and improved them to 22-2-1 in their last 25 contests.
Edmund and Seppi to reprise Kiwi clash in Big Apple final
Briton Kyle Edmund and Italian Andreas Seppi will face off for the second time in a month when they contest the final of the New York Open on Sunday. Edmund advanced by beating 54th-ranked Serb Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 6-1 in a Saturday afternoon semi-final at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island.
All-Star MVP Award named in honor of Kobe Bryant
The National Basketball Association All-Star Game MVP Award has been permanently named for the late Kobe Bryant, league Commissioner Adam Silver said on Saturday. Bryant, an 18-time All-Star who won a record-tying four All-Star Game MVP awards, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Jan. 26. He was 41.