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.
In NIL-era first, NCAA gives Miami probation for violation
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — The NCAA has handed down a name, image and likeness-related penalty for the first time. It involves Miami, which has been placed on probation for one year. The school and the NCAA say women’s basketball coaches inadvertently helped arrange impermissible contact between a booster and two players before they signed with the Hurricanes. Coach Katie Meier already served a three-game suspension at the start of the season in anticipation of the NCAA’s decision. The NCAA did not name neither the booster nor the players involved, but referenced an April 13 tweet posted by booster John Ruiz that included a photo of him and Haley and Hanna Cavinder. The twins are not subject to sanctions.
LIV Golf, PGA Tour spar over testimony from Saudi officials
A federal judge is trying to keep LIV Golf’s antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour on track. That’s looking to be increasingly difficult with a flurry of activity in the courts. Saudi Arabia has prepared an appeal of a magistrate’s ruling that the sovereign wealth fund and the fund’s governor should testify. That could lead to an inevitable delay. The PGA Tour claims that Yasir al-Rumayyan is really running LIV Golf. He’s the leader of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which is worth some $600 billion. The tour also argued its lawyers should not be expected to get testimony in Saudi Arabia because of the risks involved.
Padres slugger Machado draws first pitch clock violation
Tick, tock, Manny Machado. Better watch that pitch clock. Baseball’s new pitch clock made its competitive debut during a limited schedule of spring training openers and Machado, San Diego’s All-Star slugger, was called for the first violation. Machado found out the hard way that the pitch clock works both ways. He wasn’t fully in the batter’s box and alert to the Seattle Mariners lefty Robbie Ray as the 15-second clock wound under 8 seconds in the first inning. Umpire Ryan Blakney called time and signaled strike one against Machado. Machado got a hit anyway.
Suh leads, Kirk fires a 62 in 2nd round of Honda Classic
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — There have been about 7,200 rounds played at the Honda Classic since it moved to PGA National 17 years ago. Only two of those rounds were better than the one turned in Friday by Chris Kirk. Kirk shot an 8-under 62 in the second round, moving him to 9 under for the week and one shot behind Justin Suh at the tournament’s midway point. Kirk had an eagle and six birdies, hitting 16 greens and taking advantage of no wind blowing in the morning. That’s rare for usually breezy PGA National. Suh shot 64 and leads at 10-under 130.
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.
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. Swiatek will face Barbora Krejcikova, the 2021 French Open champion, in the final on Saturday. Krejcikova beat No. 3 Jessica Pegula of the United States 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 in Friday’s other semifinal.
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.
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.