Wednesday Sports in Brief

BASEBALL

The Houston Astros got a huge head start on October.

On a dizzying day that featured two dozen trades, the Astros pulled off the biggest and most startling deal, adding ace Zack Greinke to an imposing rotation already loaded with All-Stars Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

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Plenty of familiar names were on the go Wednesday - Shane Greene and Mark Melancon boosted the Braves' bullpen, with Scooter Gennett, Jesus Aguilar and Mike Leake among those also moving.

But it was the Astros' acquisition of Greinke from Arizona for four minor leaguers that quickly became the talk of baseball. The deal came right before the deadline for swapping players to still have them eligible for the postseason.

The AL West leaders and 2017 World Series champions added two other pitchers, too, getting starter Aaron Sanchez and reliever Joe Biagini from Toronto.

A lot of contenders were busy.

The Chicago Cubs added Detroit's Nicholas Castellanos to their lineup, the Phillies got outfielder Corey Dickerson from Pittsburgh and the Washington Nationals added relievers Daniel Hudson, Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland.

FOOTBALL

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The agent for New Orleans Saints leading receiver Michael Thomas says Thomas and the Saints have agreed on a new five-year, $100 million contract.

Andrew Kessler of the agency Athletes First, who joined colleague David Mulugheta in negotiating the deal with the Saints, says the contract pays Thomas about $61 million in guaranteed salary and bonuses.

The agreement brings to an end Thomas' training camp holdout that spanned five practices.

The Saints had a scheduled day off on Wednesday and Thomas was expected to rejoin practice on Thursday.

Thomas has established himself as an elite receiver with 321 catches for 3,787 yards and 23 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons.

BASKETBALL

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Former NBA head coaches Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins have joined new coach Frank Vogel's staff with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers formally announced Vogel's full coaching staff Wednesday.

Phil Handy, Miles Simon, former Lakers guard Mike Penberthy and Quinton Crawford also will be Vogel's assistant coaches. Simon is the only holdover from former coach Luke Walton's staff.

Kidd joins the Lakers after head coaching stints in Brooklyn and Milwaukee. The Hall of Fame point guard was fired by the Bucks in January 2018.

Hollins spent four seasons with Memphis and two more with the Nets, who fired him in January 2016.

SOCCER

FIFA's Council has unanimously approved expanding the Women's World Cup from 24 teams to 32 for 2023 and has reopened bidding to host the tournament but made no mention of changing prize money.

Nine national associations had expressed interest in hosting and were due to submit their formal bids by Oct. 4: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea, which could bid jointly with North Korea

Under the new timetable, any national association has until December to make a bid. FIFA expects a bid evaluation report next April and a decision the following month.

The Women's World Cup started with 12 teams in 1991, expanded to 16 in 1999 and 24 in 2015.

SWIMMING

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Olympic champion Ryan Lochte made an emphatic return to competition Wednesday, swimming the fourth-fastest time by an American in the 200-meter individual medley during a time trial at the Phillips 66 National Championships at Stanford University.

''I'm back, Woo!'' Lochte proclaimed in his opening remarks on the pool deck at Avery Aquatic Center after qualifying for the U.S. Olympic trials with the time of 1 minute, 57.88 seconds. ''It's been a long three years but it's good to be back, get on those blocks and race again.''

Lochte is entered in the 100 butterfly, 100 and 200 backstrokes and 200 and 400 IM this week, though he hasn't decided which he events he will focus on for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

HORSE RACING

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) - Trainer Doug O'Neill sent out five winners, including four long shots, at Del Mar on Wednesday, tying his own record for a single day at the seaside track.

He began the seven-race card with an upset by So Gucci in the first that paid $49.20. Oil Can Knight won the third at $24.60, while Vegan took the fourth paying $15.80. In the fifth, Convince paid $15.40.

Ocean Fury won the seventh race paying $6.20 as the second choice.

O'Neill, a two-time Kentucky Derby winner, has won five training titles at Del Mar. He equaled his record set on July 29, 2015.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) - Irad Ortiz Jr. rode five winners from seven mounts at Saratoga on Wednesday.

His victories came with Team Win in the first, Kid Is Frosty in the $150,000 Statue of Liberty, Girlintheyellowtaxi in the fifth, Mascha in the seventh and Theaterintheround in the sixth.

He moved into second in the jockeys' standings behind his brother and leading rider Jose Ortiz.

The last jockey to win five races in one day at the upstate New York track was Jose Ortiz on Aug. 21, 2017.

DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) - A third horse has died during training at Del Mar, including the second trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

A track spokesman confirmed the death of Bowl of Soul, a 3-year-old filly trained by Baffert. She broke down Monday after an injury to her right hind fetlock and was euthanized. Jockey Joe Talamo, her regular rider, was aboard.

Bowl of Soul won her first race at Santa Anita on May 27 and was second in another on June 23.

The first two deaths at Del Mar occurred July 18, a day after the track north of San Diego opened its summer meet.

Charge A Bunch, trained by Carla Gaines, threw rider Geovanni Franco, turned sharply and collided with Carson Valley, trained by Baffert. Carson Valley's rider, jockey Assael Espinoza, was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Franco was not injured.

OBITUARY

MIAMI (AP) - Pro Football Hall of Fame middle linebacker Nick Buoniconti, an undersized overachiever who helped lead the Miami Dolphins to the NFL's only perfect season and became a leader in the effort to cure paralysis, has died. He was 78.

Buoniconti, who died Tuesday in Bridgehampton, New York, struggled in recent years with symptoms of CTE, a degenerative brain disease associated with repeated blows to the head. He had recently battled pneumonia, Dolphins senior vice president Nat Moore said.

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Buoniconti was bypassed in the NFL draft but went on to a 15-year career. He was captain of the Dolphins' back-to-back Super Bowl champions, including the 1972 team that finished 17-0.

Following retirement, Buoniconti and his son, Marc, worked to raise more than a half-billion dollars for paralysis research. The younger Buoniconti was paralyzed from the shoulders down making a tackle for The Citadel in 1985.

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