Wednesday’s Sports in Brief
MIAMI (AP) — Anthony Davis is still a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.
By 3 p.m. Thursday, that may change.
Davis remained in place, though the run-up to the NBA’s annual trade deadline picked up steam in plenty of other locales around the league — including Dallas, where the Mavericks took Harrison Barnes out of their win over Charlotte in the third quarter because he’s about to get moved to Sacramento, according to two people familiar with the negotiations there.
Tobias Harris going to Philadelphia from the Los Angeles Clippers as the centerpiece of a six-person, four-draft-pick swap was the first notable deal of Trade Deadline Eve. Later, Chicago agreed to acquire Otto Porter Jr. from Washington for Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis. The Mavs and Kings agreed to swap Barnes for Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson, and as the day was winding down the Wizards struck again — this time sending Markieff Morris to New Orleans for Wesley Johnson.
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball and its players are discussing bold changes to spark the sport that include a three-batter minimum before a pitching change except at the start of an inning, a single trade deadline set before the All-Star break and expanded rosters.
The union renewed its push to extend the designated hitter to the National League, suggested amateur draft incentives for winning records and penalties for losing records and proposed a change in service-time rules that would lead to faster free agency for top rookies held in the minor leagues early in the season. Management proposed expanding minimum time on the disabled list and optional assignments to the minor leagues to 15 days.
The talks are an expansion of the ones last offseason in which management threatened to implement a pitch clock, then backed off but did institute limits on mound visits without pitching changes. Management made its proposal on Jan. 14, the union responded last Friday and discussions are ongoing.
Management is concerned about a drop in offense that saw strikeouts exceed hits for the first time last year and the big league batting average drop to its lowest level since 1972. In a season that included an unusually cold and wet April, average attendance dropped for the third straight season and fell below 30,000 for the first time since 2003.
SEATTLE (AP) — Major League Baseball says its independent investigation found no credible evidence to support claims of disparaging comments and discriminatory treatment by members of the Seattle Mariners front office.
MLB released a statement saying the investigation found the Mariners did not violate baseball’s “workplace code of conduct, or applicable anti-discrimination law,” in the treatment of Lorena Martin or in her termination by the club. Martin was the club’s director of high performance for one season, then was fired following the 2018 season.
The investigation also concluded there was no evidence to support Martin’s claims that general manager Jerry Dipoto, director of player development Andy McKay and manager Scott Servais had made disparaging comments against Latino players. The Mariners have denied Martin’s claims since they were first made.
The investigation was conducted by Epstein Becker Green, a law firm specializing in labor and employment matters. MLB said the firm’s lawyers interviewed 17 potential witnesses, including Martin. Martin has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the team.
LONDON (AP) — Authorities have recovered a body from the seabed wreckage of a plane that was carrying soccer player Emiliano Sala and his pilot.
However, British air accident investigators have yet to say whether the body was that of Sala, who had just signed with Premier League club Cardiff, or pilot David Ibbotson. They were the only two people onboard the small aircraft that disappeared from radar over the English Channel last month.
The Air Accident Investigation Branch says the body was recovered in “challenging conditions” with the “operation was carried out in as dignified a way as possible and the families were kept informed of progress.”
The body will be handed over to a coroner, and police are expected to provide a confirmed identity of the body after a full examination.
Investigators have not been able to recover the aircraft which was flying from Nantes to Cardiff after Sala transferred from the French city’s team to the Welsh capital’s Premier League club. However, the AAIB says that video from a remote underwater vehicle “is expected to provide valuable evidence for our safety investigation.”
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Six weeks into the new year, the new set of golf rules have their first adjustment on caddies standing behind their players.
Golf’s two governing bodies released a clarification on the rule aimed at caddies no longer being able to help players line up a shot. The rule now says a player can avoid the penalty if he backs away from his stance and starts over anywhere on the golf course, and not just the putting green.
It also says caddies will not be in violation if they are standing behind their player without being aware the players are stepping into their stances.
The clarification was in response to a two-shot penalty on Denny McCarthy at the Phoenix Open that later was rescinded so the rule could be studied.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The selection committee that chooses the NCAA Tournament field is getting its first use of a new rankings formula that uses factors such as offensive and defensive efficiency when evaluating teams.
The committee is holding orientation meetings this week in Indianapolis. The work includes using the NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings as part of the process to choose the top 16 seeds to this point ahead of a Saturday reveal, which comes about a month from Selection Sunday on March 17.
The NCAA announced in August that it was moving to the more analytical NET incorporating numerous factors after using the RPI since 1981.
Selection committee chairman Bernard Muir said in a Wednesday teleconference there could be tweaks to the formula in the future.