Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Spring training roundup: Darvish K's 6 in Cubs win
Right-hander Yu Darvish allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out six in 4 2/3 innings for a Chicago Cubs split squad in a 6-4 spring training win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday at Mesa, Ariz. Darvish, making his return from a season-ending stress reaction in his throwing elbow to cap a disappointing first year with the Cubs, lowered his spring ERA to 2.25 through four starts. He has struck out 14 in 12 innings.
Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will reject a conditional plea deal offered by Florida prosecutors on charges of soliciting prostitution, sources told CNN on Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.
MLB concerned at number of strikeouts, says Torre
Major League Baseball is concerned at strikeouts surpassing the number of hits and needs more balls in play to arrest the dip in popularity, the league's chief baseball officer Joe Torre said on Wednesday. Last season was the first in the league's history to feature more strikeouts than hits, leading to calls for changes to increase interest.
Cycling: Sport looking to ban corticosteroids in 2020 - UCI boss
After becoming the first sport to ban Tramadol, cycling is looking to use the same "health reasons" justification to prohibit the use of corticosteroids by 2020, International Cycling Union (UCI) president David Lappartient told Reuters. The UCI banned Tramadol, an opiate painkiller, at the beginning of this month, conducting 43 tests on the Paris-Nice stage race that ended last Sunday.
Olympic champion Zagitova leads ladies short program at worlds
Russian Olympic champion Alina Zagitova overcame an inconsistent season to take top spot in the ladies short program at the World Championships, with her compatriots also leading the pairs competition on Wednesday. Zagitova, 16, set a world record to claim gold at last year's Pyeongchang Winter Games but fell three times in her free skate at the 2018 championships and finished fifth overall in her only loss for that season.
NHL roundup: Caps alone atop Metro
Brett Connolly had a goal and an assist, and the Washington Capitals defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Tuesday night in Newark, N.J., to move into sole possession of first place in the Metropolitan Division. Andre Burakovsky, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Tom Wilson also scored for Washington. Nicklas Backstrom collected his 50th assist of the season, and Pheonix Copley made 20 saves.
Mariners top A's, take opener in Tokyo
Domingo Santana led an offensive barrage with an opposite field grand slam and the Seattle Mariners topped the Oakland Athletics 9-7 in the first game of the 2019 regular season in the Tokyo Dome. A sellout crowd of 45,787 clamoring to see what is likely Ichiro Suzuki's final pro appearance in Japan was treated to an offensive showcase in the first of a two-game series. The Mariners and A's combined for 16 hits and five home runs, including a game-changing grand slam from Santana in his Mariners debut.
NBA roundup: Russell (44 points) rallies Nets past Kings
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored the winning layup with 0.8 seconds remaining as the Brooklyn Nets overcame a 25-point, fourth-quarter deficit to post a stunning 123-121 victory over the host Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. D'Angelo Russell scored 27 of his career-high 44 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets outscored the Kings 45-18 to improve to 1-3 on a seven-game road trip.
British weightlifter Webster gets additional three-year ban
British weightlifter Sonny Webster was given an additional three-year ban from all sport for coaching three athletes during his period of ineligibility, which was in breach of anti-doping rules, United Kingdom Anti-Doping (UKAD) said on Wednesday. Webster, 25, had accepted a four-year ban in December 2017 after he tested positive for banned substance ostarine. At the time, Webster said he spent his life's savings trying to prove his innocence.
Dillashaw surrenders belt, suspended after positive test
TJ Dillashaw surrendered the UFC bantamweight belt Wednesday, announcing he was informed by the New York State Athletic Commission and the United States Anti-Doping Agency of an "adverse finding in a test taken for my last fight." The New York governing body also suspended him for one year and issued a $10,000 fine, citing "violations relating to use of a prohibited substance." The suspension is retroactive to Jan. 19, the date of the fight.