Review Category : National Sports

ESPN: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict Fined $25K

David Lee/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was fined $25,000 for twisting the ankles of Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and quarterback Cam Newton in Sunday’s game between the two teams, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder.

Werder also reports that Burfict has been told he’s considered a repeat offender, and any future incident identical to this will result with a trip to the league office.

“He’s got to continue to play within the rules,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Wednesday. “And he got called for a penalty last week that was, again, not necessarily a penalty. …Football’s changing, and we’re trying to really coach the head out of football. And that’s been the mission of the league for the last two or three years, and that continues daily. And we’ve got to do that, we’re teaching young guys new habits…Sometimes when that ball goes in the air it’s difficult to do all the time.”

The 24-year-old Burfict has played in three games this season recording 18 tackles, two passes defended, and one forced fumble.

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K.C. Royals Sweep the Orioles in the ALCS

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — The Kansas City Royals are the kings of the American League.

The Royals defeated the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday to punch their ticket to the World Series for the first time since 1985.

Royals starter Jason Vargas along with relievers Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland held the Orioles to just four hits. Kansas City pushed across two runs in the first inning on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error by Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph.

Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain was named the ALCS MVP after going 8-for-15 (.555), with two doubles and five runs scored.

The Royals will play the winner of the San Francisco Giants-St. Louis Cardinals NLCS matchup in the World Series.

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Report: Rangers Decline Contract Option for OF Alex Rios

iStockphoto(ARLINGTON, Texas) — The Texas Rangers have declined the 2015 option on outfielder Alex Rios, and he will become a free agent after the World Series, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The option would have paid Rios $14 million, but instead he will receive a $2 million buyout. Texas acquired Rios from the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 11, 2013 for a player to be named later. The Rangers sent infielder/outfielder Leury Garcia to complete the trade.

In 178 games with Texas, Rios batted .280 with 10 home runs and 80 RBIs. He also swiped 33 bases and had an OBP of .312.

Rios was shut down after Sept. 4 because of a thumb injury.

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Mavericks Sign Free Agent Guard Yuki Togashi

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — The Dallas Mavericks signed free agent guard Yuki Togashi on Wednesday.

The native of Niigata, Japan, played high school basketball at Montrose Christian School in Maryland, the alma mater of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.

Upon graduation in 2012, Togashi returned to Japan to play for the Akita Northern Happinets of the Basketball Japan League. In 58 games played during the 2013-14 season, he averaged 16.3 points, 7.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

Togashi most recently suited up for the Mavericks’ NBA Summer League Team. He averaged 5.3 points and 1.3 rebounds in four games.

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Pistons’ Jodie Meeks Out 8 Weeks

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(AUBURN HILLS, Mich.) — Detroit Pistons guard Jodie Meeks will be out eight weeks due to a stress fraction in his lower back, the team announced on Tuesday.

The injury was discovered following a CAT scan conducted on Monday by team medical personnel, the Pistons said.

Detroit gave Meeks a three-year deal worth $19.5 million this offseason and he will be re-evaluated on a regular basis as the season progresses.

Meeks has a career averages of 9.7 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 24.3 minutes in 355 games with 194 starts.

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Brian Kelly Focused on Handing FSU a Loss

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Fifth ranked Notre Dame will get all they can handle from the second ranked Seminoles on Saturday.

Both teams come into the game at 6-0, but Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is currently under another investigation, this time having to deal with autographs that he signed.

Even with the investigation under way, Irish head coach Brian Kelly is preparing his team for Winston to be at quarterback.

“[They have] obviously 22 straight games, Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, but it’s not just the quarterback. This is a deep football team. Offensive line I think is where I would start. One of the best offensive lines I’ve seen in some time,” Kelly said . “I remember going against them three years ago, it was a freshman laden, young offensive line, extremely talented. Now it’s a veteran group. So I think that that’s probably what really stands out to me.”

Kelly also credited the work of the FSU offensive players this season.

“[They have] outstanding wide receivers, great skill, whether you’re talking about either receiver, Greene, vertical depth, vertical play is the thing that concerns you about them. They can go and get the football. O’Leary at the tight end position, depth at the running back,” Kelly continued. “[They are] just a well balanced offense across the board. Defensively, athletic, physical, great corner play. I think led by Darby. Outstanding player, great speed, great make up speed, can play the ball. Again, that’s why they’re the defending national champions.”

“Playing at their place will be a great challenge. It’s the first time on the road for us, so we’ll have to play in that kind of environment,” he added.

Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

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Jets Hope to Snap Losing Streak in New England

Nick Lahem/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The New York Jets are hoping to avoid a sixth consecutive loss on Thursday night when they take on the New England Patriots.

The Patriots are looking for their sixth consecutive regular season home victory over the Jets.

There has been much criticism over head coach Rex Ryan going with second year starter Geno Smith instead of veteran Michael Vick, but Ryan has faith he’ll turn it around.

“I think Geno is the best way to go right now,” Ryan said. “That’s why I’m comfortable saying he will be our starter.”

Ryan said this week that the team doesn’t need any extra motivation and believes in his team.

“It’s going to be there. Both teams don’t like each other,” Ryan said. “There’s respect for each other, but I don’t think you really like each other. We know we have to be at our very best.”

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Royals One Win Away From World Series

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — Jeremy Guthrie pitched five innings of one-run ball, and pinch runner Jarrod Dyson scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly in the sixth, as the Kansas City Royals topped the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 Tuesday to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

Baltimore got on the board first in the second inning when shortstop J.J. Hardy’s double drove in teammate Steve Pearce. The score stayed that way until the fourth inning, when the Royals loaded the bases, before Alex Gordon grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Lorenzo Cain.

The Royals took the lead for good in the sixth when Dyson scored on Billy Butler’s sac fly.

Jason Frasor (W, 1-0), Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland (S, 3) all pitched an inning of scoreless relief for the Royals.

Wei-Yin Chen took the loss, pitching 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, two earned runs, and one walk while striking out four.

The Royals can clinch their first trip to the World Series since 1985 on Wednesday. Kansas City sends Jason Vargas to the mound. He will be opposed by Miguel Gonzalez.

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Simon Gagne Signs with Bruins

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images(WILMINGTON, Mass.) — After being with the Boston Bruins since the first day of training camp on a tryout basis, the team decided to sign Simon Gagne to a one-year, $600,000 deal Tuesday.

The 34-year-old Gagne joins a Bruins team that’s started the season 1-3-0 and has had trouble finding the back of their opponents’ net.

Gagne practiced on a line with Daniel Paille and Ryan Spooner Tuesday.

“My conversation with (general manager) Peter (Chiarelli) was, ‘Whatever it takes,'” Gagne said following practice. “And I’ll be whatever – if I have to be the extra guy, on the fourth line or a guy who will replace some guys when things aren’t going well, or injuries, play on the PK, power play, whatever it takes, I’m here to help the team win and I’m really happy I have a chance to get back to the league with a good team, so I’m open to everything.”

Gagne hasn’t played in an NHL game since April 27, 2013. At one point in time, Gagne was a prolific scorer in the league. During the 2005-06 season, with the Flyers, Gagne scored 47 goals, and followed that up with 41 goals the next season.

Gagne is expected to play Wednesday for the B’s in Detroit.

To make room for Gagne, the Bruins sent forwards Jordan Caron and Bobby Robins to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

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Ex-Rays GM Andrew Friedman Joins Dodgers

Zoonar/Thinkstock(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) — Tampa Bay Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman resigned Tuesday and has been named the Los Angeles Dodgers’ new president of baseball operations.

Friedman, 37, led the Rays to six straight winning seasons and four playoff appearances after taking over in 2008.

“As I embark upon my next journey, I have only thanks and gratitude to the Rays organization and the Tampa Bay region for a wonderful 10 years together. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have been part of something so special and for the passion and support of this exceptional fan base,” Friedman said in a statement released by the Rays. “The Rays organization is loaded with talent from ownership to players and everyone between. We were able to create together an unbelievable culture that no doubt will continue, and I am absolutely confident that the successes we achieved will continue into the future.”

Friedman joins a Dodgers team that has lost in the NL Championship Series and the NL Division Series the past two years. The Dodgers also had the highest payroll in baseball in 2014.

Ned Colletti, who was the Dodgers’ general manager, has been reassigned as the team’s senior adviser to the president and CEO of the Dodgers, Stan Kasten.

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