Wednesday Sports in Brief

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ATLANTA (AP) -- Hall of Famer manager Bobby Cox was able to accept visitors in his Atlanta-area hospital room on Wednesday, one day after the longtime Braves skipper suffered a stroke.

The 77-year-old Cox wore his Braves jersey while shouting ''play ball!'' before the first pitch of Monday night's home opener against the Chicago Cubs.

He ranks fourth all-time with 2,504 wins in 29 years as a manager, including 25 years in two stints with the Braves and four years with Toronto.

Cox led the Braves to 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005, including the 1995 World Series title. It is the Braves' only championship since moving to Atlanta in 1966.

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Indians have signed manager Terry Francona to a two-year contract extension through the 2022 season.

Francona's deal was set to expire after 2020. But as he begins his seventh season with the Indians, the club decided to lengthen its relationship with the popular manager for at least another two years.

Francona, who will turn 60 later this month, has led the Indians to three consecutive AL Central titles and the World Series in 2016, when Cleveland lost in seven games to the Chicago Cubs. The Indians have made the postseason four times and had a winning record in all six seasons under Francona.

ATLANTA (AP) - Infielder David Bote and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a $15 million, five-year contract covering 2020-24, a deal with two team options that if exercised would increase its value to $28 million over seven seasons.

The 25-year-old, who has less than one year of major league service, has made two starts at second base and one at third base this season. He hit .239 with six homers in 184 at-bats last year.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and hitting coach Alex Cintron were been ejected after consecutive pitches at Texas.

Cintron and others on the bench apparently questioned a low strike called on Tyler White in the second inning Wednesday night. When plate umpire Ron Kulpa looked toward the dugout, Hinch came out. Nobody was initially ejected, but soon after the manager returned to the dugout and before the next pitch, Cintron was still chirping and was tossed.

One pitch later, after another called strike, Hinch was ejected and then came out of the dugout for a heated argument with Kulpa. Hinch was pulled away by bench coach Joe Espada, who took over as the acting manager.


HOUSTON (AP) - Prosecutors in Texas said Wednesday they are dismissing a felony charge against NFL defensive end Michael Bennett, who was accused of pushing the arm of a paraplegic security guard while trying to get onto the field after the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston.

Bennett, recently traded to the New England Patriots, was indicted by a grand jury in March 2018 on a count of injury to the elderly. Prosecutors said the decision to dismiss came after an extensive review that included looking at video.


DENVER (AP) - San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich boiled over just 63 seconds into a game against Denver and was ejected.

An irate Popovich appeared to be upset over a non-foul call Wednesday night and was given a technical by official Mark Ayotte. He kept it up and was handed another from fellow official David Guthrie. Popovich's team was trailing 5-0 as he made his way to the locker room.

The last time a coach was ejected within the first 2 minutes of a game was Washington's Flip Saunders on January 2, 2012, at Boston, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau. Saunders was ejected 1:46 into the game.


MURRAY, Ky. (AP) - Murray State says that All-American guard Ja Morant will enter the NBA draft following a record-breaking season for the Racers.

The school said Wednesday night on its website that Morant announced his decision at the team's arena. The athletic 6-foot-3 sophomore is projected as a lottery pick and could be chosen as high as second in the June 20 draft.

Morant led Murray State to the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships and was the league's Player of the Year.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - LSU freshman forward Naz Reid has announced his intention to leave school after one season and enter this summer's NBA draft.

Reid, who posted his announcement on a verified social media account on Wednesday, averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season.

The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Reid is a versatile front-court player with 3-point shooting range.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Duke teammates RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson are among the 10 players named to the John R. Wooden Award All American team, representing the top vote-getters to earn college basketball's player of the year honor.

Others on the team announced Wednesday are: Brandon Clarke of Gonzaga, Carsen Edwards of Purdue, Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga, Markus Howard of Marquette, De'Andre Hunter of Virginia, Ja Morant of Murray State, Grant Williams of Tennessee and Cassius Winston of Michigan State.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Penn State hired Carolyn Kieger as its women's basketball coach on Wednesday after she led Marquette to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Kieger, a 2006 Marquette graduate, was 99-64 in five seasons with the Golden Eagles. The team reached the round of 32 the past two seasons, falling 78-76 to Texas A&M this year and finishing the season 27-8. Marquette went 76-26 the past three years, winning two Big East regular-season championships and a Big East Tournament title.


PARIS (AP) - Soccer great Pele was hospitalized in Paris on Wednesday because of a urinary infection following a meeting with Kylian Mbappe in the French capital, his spokesman said.

Pepito Fornos told The Associated Press the three-time World Cup champion will be in hospital for up to two days.


WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Attorneys for Robert Kraft are attacking the Florida police investigation that resulted in the New England Patriots owner being charged with paying for sex at a massage parlor.

In a document filed Wednesday in Palm Beach County court, Kraft's attorneys allege Jupiter police illegally searched the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

They also say that video cameras the officers hid inside the spa violated constitutional privacy protections.

They want all evidence collected against Kraft thrown out, including video that police say shows him receiving paid sex acts from spa employees.

BOSTON (AP) - A packaged-food entrepreneur from California became the first of the 33 parents charged in the college bribery scandal to agree to plead guilty, disclosing the deal Wednesday as Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin appeared in court along with some of the other defendants.

Peter Jan Sartorio, 53, was accused of paying $15,000 in cash to have someone correct his daughter's answers on the ACT college entrance exam. The exact charges to which he planned to plead were not immediately clear.

The two actresses and Loughlin's fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, said little during the brief hearing in a packed Boston courtroom and were not asked to enter a plea. They remain free on bail. Several other parents were given similar hearings of a few minutes each.


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