Wizards

Friday's Sports in Brief

Friday's Sports in Brief

NEW YORK (AP) Alex Rodriguez watched the New York Yankees' biggest game of the year on the bench.

After being pinch hit for in Games 3 and 4 of the AL division series against the Baltimore Orioles, the $275 million third baseman was removed from the starting lineup for Game 5 on Friday.

Eric Chavez started at third base and went 0 for 3, while Game 3 star Raul Ibanez was the designated hitter and singled in the game's first run in the Yankees' 3-1 victory. It was the first time A-Rod didn't start a postseason game for his team since 1995.

The 37-year-old Rodriguez was 2 for 16 (.125) with no RBIs in the series, going hitless in 12 at-bats against right-handed pitchers with nine strikeouts. He was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in the opener against Jason Hammel, Baltimore's Game 5 starter.

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco outfielder Melky Cabrera has been reinstated by Major League Baseball after serving a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test, but he will not be part of the Giants' playoff roster.

Cabrera is back on the Giants' 40-man roster as of Friday. Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans says, ``Cabrera's status regarding the postseason remains unchanged'' after the club announced Sept. 27 it wouldn't add Cabrera for any round.

The Giants open the NL championship series on Sunday.

Cabrera was suspended Aug. 15, a month he was the All-Star game MVP. He was batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs in his first season with San Francisco.

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NFL

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - All four players punished in the NFL's bounty investigation have filed appeals with the league. People familiar with the situation say the players have asked Commissioner Roger Goodell to remove himself as arbitrator because they do not believe he can be impartial.

One of the people also says New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma expects to play at Tampa Bay on Oct. 21 while his appeal is pending. The people spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because the appeals were filed as private documents with the league.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed Friday that all four players had filed appeals, but said the league would decline comment on the substance of those documents.

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is taking on another coach.

Less than a year after an on-field confrontation with Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz over a postgame handshake, Harbaugh is miffed with New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.

Harbaugh accused Gilbride on Friday of making outrageous and incendiary comments about All-Pro defensive end Justin Smith in an effort to influence officials prior to Sunday's game between the teams that met in the NFC title game in January.

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SOCCER

ST. JOHN'S, Antigua (AP) - Eddie Johnson rewarded his coach's faith in him - twice.

In his first game back with the U.S. national team, Johnson scored a pair of goals Friday night, including the winner in second-half injury time, lifting the United States to the verge of advancing in World Cup qualifying with a nervous 2-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda.

If the Americans win or draw with Guatemala on Tuesday night in Kansas City, Kan., they would move into the six-nation final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The U.S. (3-1-1) has 10 points and so does Guatemala after a 2-1 win over Jamaica (2-2-1), which has seven points. The top two teams in the group advance.

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AUTO RACING

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - It's hard to bet against Joey Logano these days when it comes to the Nationwide Series.

Logano raced to his eighth Nationwide Series victory of the year Friday night, passing Brad Keselowski with eight laps to go after taking on two tires and a splash of gas.

Logano led 62 laps en route to his 17th career victory and first at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He has made 18 series starts this season.

Keselowski gambled by making a quick pit stop with nine laps left, but his pit crew didn't get enough fuel in his tank and he couldn't challenge for the lead. He finished 18th.

Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Nationwide Series point leader Elliott Sadler. Kyle Busch finished fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth in a competitive race that included 11 Sprint Cup regulars.

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GOLF

SAN MARTIN, Calif. (AP) - John Mallinger opened a four-stroke lead Friday in the Frys.com Open, making an eagle and two birdies on the final four holes for a 9-under 62.

Mallinger eagled the par-5 15th and closed with consecutive birdies to cap his second straight bogey-free round and reach 14 under at CordeValle Golf Club.

Billy Horschel and Jhonattan Vegas were second. Horschel had a 65, and Vegas shot 67.

First-round leader Nick O'Hern followed his opening 62 with a 71 to drop into a tie for fourth at 9 under with European Ryder Cup player Nicolas Colsaerts and Scott Dunlap. Colsaerts had a 68, and Dunlap shot 63.

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CONOVER, N.C. (AP) - Dan Forsman shot a 7-under 65 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Fred Funk, David Frost and Larry Mize after the first round of the Greater Hickory Classic.

Forsman had eight birdies and a bogey at Rock Barn Golf and Spa's Jones Course. He won the season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii in January for his third Champions Tour title.

Frost and Mize had bogey-free rounds, and Funk had four birdies and a closing eagle on the par-5 18th.

Defending champion Mark Wiebe and Jay Don Blake shot 67. Wiebe had a hole-in-one on No. 3.

Tom Lehman, 69 points behind leader Bernhard Langer in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, opened with a 68. Langer, the winner Sunday in the SAS Championship in Cary, had a 70.

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Report suggests Barack Obama is trying to recruit Masai Ujiri to Wizards

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Report suggests Barack Obama is trying to recruit Masai Ujiri to Wizards

The Wizards are reportedly preparing to make Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri a massive offer to run Washington's NBA franchise. And they may have some big-time help recruiting him to D.C. 

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, is trying to persuade Ujiri to leave the NBA champions to join the Wizards, according to The Athletic's Ethan Strauss. 

"I hear Barack Obama's a part of that whole Masai recruitment to D.C.," Strauss said on a recent episode of the "Back To Back" podcast. "I've heard Obama wants Masai in D.C. Obama wants to do something with basketball."

Obama and Ujiri are close friends. Obama was in attendance at Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Toronto, while Ujiri attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2015 when Obama was in office. 

The Wizards' potential offer for Ujiri is reportedly for six years, $60 million, and could possibly include an ownership stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment and other responsibilities within the company, sources have told NBC Sports Washington. 

And hey, it doesn't hurt to have the former Commander in Chief making your sales pitch.

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Sekou Doumbouya visits Wizards hoping to sell them on his defense

Sekou Doumbouya visits Wizards hoping to sell them on his defense

WASHINGTON -- The Wizards hosted one of their final prospect workouts in anticipation of the June 20 NBA Draft on Friday, as six players battled in three-on-three drills with every member of Washington's front office and coaching staff in sight. But behind the glass wall of the dining lounge at the Wizards' practice facility at St. Elizabeth's was the player everyone wanted to see.

Sekou Doumbouya, who is projected to land in the lottery on draft night, made a visit to Washington to speak with Wizards personnel. He did not participate in the workout, but through face-to-face interviews gave the Wizards an up-close look at a player who may or may not be on the board when they are on the clock with the ninth overall pick.

Doumbouya is the youngest player in the draft at just 18 years old, with his birthday not until late December. He is originally from Guinea but played professional basketball in France. Given his age and the fact he played in a second-tier league before making the leap to the NBA, Doumbouya holds some mystery as a prospect.

In his meetings with teams, Doumbouya has tried to hammer home one point in particular.

"My defense," he said. "I can play everywhere [because] if you play defense, you can play everywhere in the league."

Defense certainly stands out when it comes to Doumbouya's potential. He is 6-foot-9 with a reported 7-foot-2 wingspan. At his age, he could keep growing. And at that size, he has the mobility to guard multiple positions, force turnovers and maybe even block some shots.

The Wizards need help with just about every area of their defense. They were 27th in defensive rating last season and 29th in points allowed. They couldn't defend the perimeter or the lane, allowing the fourth-highest three-point percentage (37%) and the fifth-most three-point makes (12.1/g), while also allowing more field goals within five feet of the rim than any team (22.1/g) and the third-highest percentage (64.2%) in that range. 

Doumbouya projects as the type of defensive anchor who could help in a variety of ways. He could step out to guard three-point shooters while also clogging lanes to the basket with his length.

The questions for Doumbouya center around how NBA-ready he is at his age and experience, and what his ceiling will ultimately be on the offensive end. Doumbouya, though, believes he can be especially effective in transition.

"Fastbreak," he said when listing his strengths. "I love running [the floor]."

Whether Doumbouya will be available at the ninth pick depends on who you ask. Most mock drafts have him at nine or lower, but his athleticism and versatility could entice a team that picks before the Wizards.

The Hawks, whom Doumbouya met with the day after seeing the Wizards, are a team to watch. They have the eighth, 10th and 17th picks in the first round, so they can afford to take a risk. They could snag Doumbouya at No. 8, then go with a safer pick or two with their other selections.

But there is a very good chance Doumbouya is the best player available when the Wizards get set to make their pick. If he does, defense will be his biggest selling point.

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