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.
US savors World Cup berth; Carmelo Anthony named ambassador
USA Basketball put together different rosters for all six World Cup qualifying windows, and coach Jim Boylen noticed the same two things with each of those groups. One, every player beamed when putting on the “USA” jersey for picture day. Two, by the third or fourth day of practice, the players were coaching each other. It took 52 players and more than a year, but the job is done. USA Basketball is going to the World Cup in the Philippines this summer. And when they get there, three-time Olympic champion Carmelo Anthony will greet them as a new FIBA ambassador. He signed on Friday to help with the tournament.
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.
Swiatek defeats Gauff again, advances to Dubai final
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Top-ranked Iga Swiatek has stayed undefeated against Coco Gauff after beating the American teenager 6-4, 6-2 to reach the final at the Dubai Championships. The three-time Grand Slam champion improved to 6-0 against the 18-year-old Gauff and each victory has been in straight sets. The Pole beat Gauff in last year’s French Open final. Barbora Krejcikova will face No. 3 Jessica Pegula of the United States in the other semifinal. Swiatek beat Pegula last week to retain her Qatar Open title.
Hawks’ Young expresses ‘love and respect’ for fired McMillan
ATLANTA (AP) — Trae Young says he has “nothing but love and respect” for former Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan and expects to have no input in the hiring of McMillan’s replacement. Young spoke with reporters for the first time since McMillan was fired on Tuesday with the Hawks in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Young was not available following Wednesday’s practice and was excused from Thursday’s practice for personal reasons. Young participated in Friday morning’s practice for Friday night’s game against Cleveland. Young, a two-time All-Star, dismissed speculation he had a rocky relationship with McMillan.
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.