Monday’s Sports In Brief
Don Baylor, the burly slugger who once held the Major League Baseball record for being hit a pitch and later guided the expansion Colorado Rockies to the playoffs for the first time as manager of the year, died Monday of cancer. He was 68.
The 1979 American League MVP died in his hometown of Austin, Texas, after a 14-year battle with multiple myeloma, Baylor’s family said in a statement released by the Angels, the franchise for which he played more than 800 games.
“Don passed from this earth with the same fierce dignity with which he played the game and lived his life,” Baylor’s wife, Rebecca, said.
Baylor played in all 162 games for the California Angels in 1979 and led the majors with career bests of 139 RBIs and 120 runs. He also had career highs in homers (36) and hits (186) for the American League West champs, who lost to Baltimore in the AL Championship Series.
When the stocky Baylor retired, he had been hit by pitches a then-record 267 times, and led the majors in that category seven times.
In his final three seasons, Baylor went to three straight World Series from 1986-88, winning the title and hitting one of his four postseason homers in Minnesota’s seven-game victory against St. Louis in 1987. He was on losing teams with Boston in ’86 and Oakland in ’88.
Baylor was the first manager for the Rockies, leading them to his only playoff appearance as a manager in the franchise’s third season in 1995. Colorado lost to Atlanta in four games in an NL Division Series.
AMSTERDAM (AP) — American goalkeeper Hope Solo is looking to resume playing and says she has had offers to play overseas.
Solo was handed a six-month suspension and her contract with U.S. Soccer was terminated last year following the Rio de Janeiro Olympics after she called Sweden’s team “cowards” for their defensive style of play against the Americans.
Since the abrupt break in her career, the 36-year-old Solo has focused on recovering from shoulder replacement surgery.
“Let’s be clear, a goalkeeper peaks a little bit later in their career, so I feel like I have many years ahead of me if that opportunity arises,” Solo said in an interview. “I’m very happy with my career should I walk away from the game today, but I’m not one to retire. I have not retired.”
Even before her Olympic outburst, Solo was at odds with American soccer leadership as she lobbied for women’s players to earn equitable salaries to the male national team players.
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said that he is ready to commit nearly $150 million to Andrew Wiggins with a max-level extension of his rookie contract. Before he does so, Taylor wants to sit down face-to-face with Wiggins to hear the former No. 1 overall pick commit to the franchise in a similar fashion.
Wiggins’ scoring numbers have improved in each of his first three seasons. He averaged 23.6 points per game and shot 35.6 percent from 3-point range last season, more than 5 percent better than his previous season. But the Wolves have not made the playoffs since 2004, and it’s clear that when Taylor decides to give a contract of this magnitude after adding Jimmy Butler via trade and veterans Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford in free agency, he is expecting it to pay off quickly.
“To me, by making this offer, I’m speculating that his contribution to the team will be more in the future,” Taylor told The Associated Press. “We’ve got to be better. He can’t be paid just for what he’s doing today. He’s got to be better.”
Taylor spoke with Wiggins when the two attended assistant coach Ryan Saunders’ wedding in July, but the owner is looking for a little more substance before they close the deal. Wiggins’ agent, Billy Duffy of BDA Sports, is expected to arrive in town next week to continue the discussions, and a five-year, $148 million extension could happen soon after.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Sammy Watkins and the Buffalo Bills receivers aren’t as young and untested now that Anquan Boldin is with the group.
Boldin returns for a 15th NFL season after signing a contract with the Bills. The move provides the team leadership, production and an instant boost in credibility to what had been a patchwork position. The 36-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, was the NFL’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner and ranks in the top 25 among several career categories.
It wasn’t lost on first-time general manager Brandon Beane that Boldin showed he’s still capable of making an impact after spending last season with Detroit , where he had 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games.
The Bills spent the past month courting Boldin. He visited the team’s facility two weeks ago. The contract terms were completed late last week, with the only holdup involving Boldin determining whether Buffalo could serve as a good fit for him and his family, Beane said.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mike Trout got his 1,000th career hit and also homered on his 26th birthday.
The Los Angeles Angels’ two-time AL MVP hit the first milestone when he doubled down the left-field line in the fourth inning against Dylan Bundy and the Baltimore Orioles.
Trout then added his 23rd homer of the season in the sixth, driving it high off the left-field pole. The slugger homered on his birthday for the fourth time already in his six-year career, also doing it in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Trout joined Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx and and Mickey Mantle as the only players to compile 1,000 hits, 500 runs and 500 walks by their age-25 season. Trout already was the only player to get 150 homers, 400 extra-base hits and 150 stolen bases before his 26th birthday.
He is the 11th player to get 1,000 hits in an Angels uniform.
The Big A crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to Trout in center field earlier in the inning. The fans gave him a standing ovation after his 1,000th hit.
MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — Latavius Murray was finally on the practice field in purple. Riley Reiff was back to work, too.
And with that, two of the Minnesota Vikings’ most important offseason additions started to come back from concerning injuries.
Murray was activated from the physically unable to perform list and practiced with the Vikings for the first time since he was signed in March, pledging to plow forward after falling behind rookie Dalvin Cook in the race for the team’s starting running back spot.
“It was a big relief,” said Murray, who missed the Vikings’ workouts all spring and the first 10 days of training camp after having surgery on his right ankle. “I’m excited and just want to keep continuing to work, work hard and get back to where I need to be.”
Reiff, the veteran left tackle signed away from Detroit to shore up one of the team’s biggest weaknesses, had missed most of training camp with a back injury. Both he and Murray participated in individual drills and sat out the team portion of practice that included more contact.