Review Category : National Sports

49ers Ready to Host Bears

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — The San Francisco 49ers are looking to improve to 2-0 on Sunday when they will have their season opener at the new $1.2 billion Levi’s Stadium against the Chicago Bears.

San Francisco is coming off a 28-17 win over the Cowboys and Chicago has not won in the bay area in almost three decades.

“I think everyone’s focused on Chicago,” 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepnerick said when asked about the pressure of getting a win in their first home game. “I don’t think we’re worried about having our first game here, we’re worried about trying to get this win.”

The last time the Bears won in the Bay Area was in 1985 when they went on to win the Super Bowl.

“Scheme wise, they’re just extremely sound, they know exactly what they want to do,” Bears quarterback Jay Culter said of the 49ers defense. “They’re going to bring pressure; they’ve got very talented guys.”

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Hawks GM Danny Ferry Takes Leave of Absence

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — Atlanta Hawks general manager, Danny Ferry, took an indefinite leave of absence Friday.

Ferry recently came under fire for his racial comments about current Miami Heat forward Luol Deng.

Ferry made the comments during a conference call with the Hawks ownership group in June. The Hawks were interested in signing Deng, and Ferry was reading off a scouting report written by somebody else.

Ferry released a statement regarding the situation:

“No words can adequately describe my remorse for the hurt that I have caused many people through the statements I repeated, most importantly Luol Deng.

“Luol is a good man who I have known for many years and he has done a tremendous amount of good for his country and around the world. I apologize to Luol and I apologize to all that I have offended. As I have said, while these were not my words, I deeply regret repeating them. Almost all the background information I provided during the lengthy presentation regarding Luol was positive and my personal and professional recommendation during the call was very much in favor of adding Luol to our team but I never should have uttered those offensive remarks and for that I apologize.”

There was pressure for Ferry to be fired, but Hawks CEO Steve Koonin refused, instead asking for Ferry to take a leave of absence.

“My hope that this time away from the Hawks organization allows him the privacy he needs to listen to the community, to learn about his mistakes, and to begin the long process of personal healing,” Koonin said in a statement.

Ferry also stated he plans to undergo sensitivity training.

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NFLPA Approves Drug Policy Changes

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The NFL Players Association approved a league proposal to change its drug policy.

Some of the areas the new policy will affect are marijuana procedures, HGH testing and amphetamines.

The threshold for marijuana testing has been raised from 15 to 35 nanograms per milliliter.

As for amphetamines, a first time positive test during the offseason will now be evaluated under the Substances of Abuse Policy. During the season, violations will still be viewed under the Performance Enhancing Drug Policy.

Finally, human growth hormone testing has been approved for the 2014 season.

The changes will have an immediate effect on the status of a few players. According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Broncos receiver Wes Welker and Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will be allowed to rejoin their teams.

Schefter also reports, Browns receiver Josh Gordon has had his yearlong suspension reduced to 10 games.

“This is an historic moment for our Players and our League,” NFLPA President Eric Winston said. “We have collectively bargained drug policies that will keep the game clean and safe, but also provide our players with an unprecedented level of fairness and transparency. Players should be proud of their union for standing up for what was best for the game.”

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A’s Activate Closer Doolittle from DL

iStockphoto(SEATTLE) — Oakland Athletics closer Sean Doolittle was activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday.

Doolittle has been on the DL since Aug. 24 due to a strained right intercostal muscle.

Before getting injured, Doolittle converted 20 of his 23 save opportunities while posting a 2.28 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 80 strikeouts through 55 1/3 innings pitched.

Getting Doolittle back should be a lift for the A’s, who went 5-12 when he was on the DL.

The Athletics are currently a half game ahead of Seattle and Kansas City for the top wild card spot in the American League.

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Kyle Busch Takes Pole at Chicagoland

Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR(JOLIET, Ill.) — Kyle Busch is on the pole for Sunday’s opening round race for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship at Chicagoland Speedway.

After qualifying was rained out, the top spot for the race went to Busch because he had the fastest practice speed.

“Having a good (speed) there in practice means a lot,” Busch said. “But there’s obviously a lot of things that need to happen in the race this weekend for us and getting off to a good start and being able to carry that into the next 10 weeks.”

Ryan Newman will start second, followed by Carl Edwards.

Under the new rules the 10-race Chase, which now includes 16 drivers, will eliminate four drivers from contention every three races.

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ABC Scoreboard Roundup – 9/12/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — MLB: Minnesota Twins (62-84) – Chicago White Sox (66-80) Postponed

Baltimore Orioles 2 (86-60) – New York Yankees 1 (76-69) 11 Innings – Game 1

Baltimore Orioles 5 (87-60) – New York Yankees 0 (76-70) Game 2

Detroit Tigers 7 (81-66) – Cleveland Indians 2 (76-70)

Philadelphia Phillies 3 (68-79) – Miami Marlins 1 (71-75)

Tampa Bay Rays 1 (71-77) – Toronto Blue Jays 0 (76-70)

WNBA: Championship Series: Phoenix Mercury 87 – Chicago Sky 82 (Mercury win series, 3-0)

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Chris Davis Suspended 25 Games

Robbie Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis was suspended 25 games on Friday by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s drug policy. Davis tested positive for amphetamines and immediately accepted the suspension.

“I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the Orioles organization and especially the fans,” Davis said in a statement. ““I made a mistake by taking Adderall. I had permission to use it in the past, but do not have a therapeutic use exemption this year. I accept my punishment and will begin serving my suspension immediately.”

The 28-year-old slugger launched 26 home runs in 2014 but holds a major league-worst .194 batting average for the Orioles, who hold a 10 1/2 game lead in the American League East with 17 games to play. Davis’ suspension will carry into the postseason, under the terms of the league’s drug policy.

Baltimore is already without catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado, who both have undergone season-ending surgery.

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Indians’ Jason Kipnis Thinks New Contract Led to Poor Season

BananaStock/ThinkStock(NEW YORK) — Even by his standards, Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has struggled to follow up his breakout 2013 season despite a new contract. Kipnis thinks his new deal is partially to blame for his struggles.

“I might have taken it the wrong way,” Kipnis told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “There’s one of two ways to go about it. There’s ‘Hey, I have the security and the money now I can go out and just play the game of baseball.’ I took the way, where, ‘I’ve got this money, I’ve got to live up to it.'”

“So I might have pressed at the beginning and tried to do too much,” he continued. “In hindsight that could have hurt me and played a little part of this season.”

Last season, Kipnis made the American League All-Star team after he batted .284 with 17 home runs with 84 RBIs and 30 steals.

The Indians rewarded Kipnis with a six-year contract extension worth $52.5 million.

Kipnis has struggled to live up to the deal this season. Through 119 games, he’s hitting .247 with six home runs and 41 RBIs.

The 27-year-old Kipnis is a career .264 hitter.

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Marlins’ Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton Suffers Multiple Facial Fractures

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) — One of Major League Baseball’s best players suffered a scary injury Thursday night as Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was hit by a pitch and suffered facial lacerations requiring stitches, multiple facial fractures and dental damage.

In the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers, Stanton was struck in the face by starter Mike Fiers. He was eventually driven off the field in an ambulance.

“@Giancarlo818 I am deeply sorry about what happened tonight. I can’t imagine what you and your family are going through. my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. I feel horrible and hope for a speedy recovery,” Fiers tweeted early Friday morning.

“That was one of the to hardest things I’ve ever had to watch here’s to hoping Big G is alright and makes a full recovery prayers ur way bud,” Marlins’ outfielder Christian Yelich tweeted Thursday night.

In his fifth Major League season, Stanton leads the National League with 37 home runs and 105 RBIs. He is considered one of the favorites to win the National League MVP Award despite the Marlins faint playoff hopes at this point in the season.

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Report: Hawks Re-Sign Forward Elton Brand

Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — While the team is dealing with plenty off the court thanks to the scandal involving general manager Danny Ferry and owner Bruce Levenson, the Atlanta Hawks are still taking care of business on the court as they’ve re-signed veteran forward Elton Brand.

Reports have surfaced that the team has agreed on a one-year deal with Brand worth $2 million.

No longer the nightly double-double machine he used to be, Brand will serve as a bench player again for the Hawks, playing behind starter Al Horford and Pero Antic.

The 35-year-old Brand spent last season, his 15th in the NBA, with the Hawks and provided solid depth and leadership for the squad. In 73 games, Brand averaged 5.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game while averaging 19.4 minutes per game.

In his heyday, Brand was an All-Star caliber forward. Injuries took their toll on him, but he still holds career averages of 16.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

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