MLB catchers wary of looming robo umps amid rules changes
Yankees All-Star catcher Jose Trevino is among big league catchers staunchly against introducing robo umps at the major league level. Trevino says Commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t have “any idea what’s going on whenever he talks about that kind of stuff.” Manfred cautions the that Automated Ball-Strike System is still in “the evaluation phase.” ABS will receive its biggest experiment yet at Triple-A, where it’ll be used four days per week to call every pitch. On the other three days, umpires will traditionally call balls and strikes with a challenge system in place.
World Baseball Classic in Japan to still feature masks
TOKYO (AP) — Fans of the upcoming World Baseball Classic are going to see two versions, depending if the games are in the United States, Taiwan, or Japan. In the United States and Taiwan, fans can cheer and need not wear masks. Taiwan dropped most of its mask mandates this week. For Japan, it’s slightly more complicated as COVID rules are changing more slowly. Cheering will be allowed but masks are likely to remain in place at the Tokyo Dome.
LIV Golf’s 2nd season has team concept, new faces, TV deal
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) — LIV Golf embarks on its second season with more emphasis on the team concept and a few new faces. Dustin Johnson is coming off a big year with the Saudi-funded rival league. He amassed just over $35.6 million in eight tournaments. There was minor movement among the teams. LIV Golf was not able to add big stars to its roster during the offseason. The highest-ranked player was Thomas Pieters of Belgium at No. 35 in the world. The first tournament starts Friday at Mayakoba. The Mexican resort hosted a PGA Tour event in the fall.
AP source: Broncos hire ex-head coach Vance Joseph as new DC
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — A person with knowledge of the hire tells The Associated Press that new Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton has hired ex-Broncos head coach Vance Joseph as his defensive coordinator. The hiring comes after a deliberate search that included fellow former head coaches Rex Ryan and Matt Patricia. Joseph coached the Broncos from 2017-18, compiling an 11-21 record. He spent the past four seasons as the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator.
Alabama faces questions after more details on fatal shooting
Alabama is the No. 2 men’s team in the country and a favorite to win the national championship. The school also faces intense scrutiny over three players’ alleged involvement in the deadly shooting of Jamea Harris near campus early on Jan. 15. One-time reserve forward Darius Miles and another man are charged with capital murder. Crimson Tide star freshman Brandon Miller surfaced in official testimony as a potential witness and as a person who allegedly brought a gun to Miles. Miller has not been charged and there’s no indication he will be. Police also say guard Jaden Bradley was allegedly at the scene.
Utah projected as No. 1 seed in women’s NCAA Tournament
Utah would join South Carolina, Indiana and Stanford as No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament if it began now. That’s according to the NCAA women’s basketball committee, which did its second of two reveals of the teams in line for the top 16 seeds. The Utes replaced UConn on the one-line after the Huskies were beaten by St. John’s this week. Selection committee chair Lisa Peterson says the big debate was whether Utah or LSU should be listed as a one seed. She says Utah’s stronger schedule was a big factor.
Fight on: It’s all USC can do to end baseball’s long drought
Twenty-five years have passed since Southern California won its 12th and most recent national title in baseball. The Trojans once were the gold standard in the college game. Four coaches have come and gone since Mike Gillespie won the 1998 championship. Since 2006 USC has made the NCAA Tournament once and has had a winning record in Pac-12 play just twice. The Trojans finished last in 2022 and are picked 10th in coach Andy Stankiewicz’s first year. The Trojans expect to be on an upward trajectory when they move to the Big Ten in two seasons.
Purdue’s Zach Edey makes strong case to be player of year
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — No. 5 Purdue big man Zach Edey has muscled his way into the national player of the year conversation. His 7-foot-4, 305-pound frame makes him hard to defend. He’s leading the Big Ten in scoring with 22.1 points and rebounding with 12.7. He’s fifth in scoring and second in rebounding nationally, and is also 10th nationally in blocks with 2.4. His former coach at IMG Academy, where Edey really learned how to play the game as a teen, can barely believe the ascension.
Bieniemy takes next step as Commanders offensive coordinator
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Eric Bieniemy brushed off questions about not getting an NFL head coaching job and says he’s embracing his new challenge as offensive coordinator of the Washington Commanders. Bieniemy at his introductory news conference also defended his decision to leave the Kansas City Chiefs after 10 years and two Super Bowl championships and explained why this job was the right fit for him. The longtime Chiefs offensive coordinator interviewed for 15 different head jobs in recent years. But coaching two-time league MVP Patrick Mahomes and working under offensive coach Andy Reid clouded what Bieniemy might be responsible for. He will now have a chance to show what he can do calling plays in Washington.
AP source: Rams parting ways with LB Bobby Wagner
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Linebacker Bobby Wagner is parting ways with the Los Angeles Rams after just one season, a person familiar with the decision says. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Wagner’s release won’t be official until after the start of the new league year next month. Wagner was outstanding in his only season with his hometown Rams, who signed him as a free agent last March following a decade with the Seahawks. Wagner started all 17 games at middle linebacker and made 140 tackles with a career-high six sacks and even two interceptions for the Rams.