Thursday's Sports In Brief - NBC Sports

Thursday's Sports In Brief
July 26, 2013, 3:49 am

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) Alex Rodriguez's already strained relationship with the New York Yankees hit another low when he pushed to be activated from the disabled list, the team refused and he had a lawyer join the discussion of his injury rehabilitation.

Already a target of Major League Baseball's drug investigation, the third baseman angered the Yankees when he obtained a second medical opinion on his strained left quadriceps this week without informing the team in writing, a step required by the sport's collective bargaining agreement. The Yankees intend to discipline him, most likely with a fine.

Sidelined since hip surgery in January, Rodriguez issued a statement early in the day saying he wanted to be activated for Friday's homestand opener against Tampa Bay. But that wasn't in the Yankees plans.

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) - A former associate of Biogenesis head Tony Bosch said he turned down a $125,000 offer from Major League Baseball for documents said to implicate players in the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

In an interview broadcast on ESPN's "Outside the Lines," Porter Fischer also said an additional dozen athletes from different sports - whose names have not been made public - were involved in the now-closed Florida anti-aging clinic.

Fischer admitted giving documents to the Miami News Times, which published a story in January detailing the alleged purchase of performance-enhancing drugs by Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, 2012 All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera, 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon and 2011 AL championship series MVP Nelson Cruz. Others were later implicated in media reports.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - George Brett took over as the Kansas City Royals' interim hitting coach with the rudderless team mired in an eight-game skid. He leaves with them showing signs of life.

The Hall of Famer announced he was stepping down from his on-field job and returning to the Royals' front office, where he's served as vice president of baseball operations since retiring as a player following the 1993 season.

PRO FOOTBALL

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - With Aaron Hernandez's arrest hovering over the start of training camp, the New England Patriots sent out quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick to shed some light.

Brady spoke for 17 minutes and said the murder charge against his former tight end is "zero" distraction to him. Belichick spoke for 22 minutes Wednesday.

Both spoke with greater patience and candor than they usually do as the Patriots hurried to remove the stain from their reputation - and lower media attention - before their first practice on Friday.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension.

Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said the deal was being finalized as Ryan led the offense through practice on the first day of training camp. A person familiar with the situation says Ryan's extension is for $103.75 million deal, with $59 million guaranteed. The person says Ryan will average $20.75 million during the first three years of the extension.

Ryan, 28, is entering the sixth and final season of his original rookie contract and will earn a $10 million salary.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - The Dallas Cowboys announced a multi-year, multimillion-dollar branding deal that will change the name of Cowboys Stadium to AT&T Stadium.

Team owner Jerry Jones said he wants his $1.2 billion showplace to be a building "more familiar than the White House."

The name change takes effect immediately, and numerous signs outside and inside the stadium will be changed to reflect the name of the telecommunications giant based in nearby Dallas.

Team officials declined to reveal terms of the deal, including cost and how many years are included. Marc Ganis, a sports consultant with SportsCorp Ltd. in Chicago, estimated the deal could be worth as much as $20 million annually for 20 to 30 years, or from $400 million to $600 million.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Larry Scott of the Pac-12 joined the chorus of commissioners calling for sweeping change in the NCAA, and said it can happen without confrontation and with the five most powerful football conferences still competing on the field with the other five.

Scott was the last of the leaders of the big five conferences to make a public push for NCAA reforms that will allow the schools with the most resources to have more freedom to determine how they use them.

NCAA President Mark Emmert told The Indianapolis Star he agrees with Scott and his fellow commissioners, and vowed significant changes to the way rules and policies are made. Emmert told the Star he will call for a Division I summit in January to discuss revamping how Division I is run.

GOLF

OAKVILLE, Ontario (AP) - Brendan Steele topped the Canadian Open leaderboard at 7-under 65, birdieing five of the first seven holes on his back nine at Glen Abbey. The 30-year-old Steele had eight birdies and a bogey, dropping a shot on his final hole - the par-4 ninth. He won the 2011 Texas Open for his long PGA Tour title.

Matt Kuchar, a two-time winner this year, was a stroke back along with Scott Gardiner and Scott Brown. Hunter Mahan and David Lingmerth shot 67, and Chez Reavie, the 2008 winner at Glen Abbey, was another stroke back in a group that included Bubba Watson and Trevor Immelman.

SOUTHPORT, England (AP) - American Gene Sauers shot a 3-under 67 in windy conditions at Royal Birkdale to take the first-round lead in the Senior British Open.

Germany's Bernhard Langer, the 2010 winner, was a stroke back along with South Africa's David Frost, Australia's Peter Senior and the Philippines' Frankie Minoza. Defending champion Fred Couples opened with a 74.

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