MLB Frustration Over Free Agency
Players’ union head Tony Clark claims the number of rebuilding teams and unsigned free agents in a historically slow market threatens the sport’s integrity, an assertion immediately rejected by Major League Baseball.
In a statement and a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Clark voiced the frustration of the 100-plus free agents who remain unsigned with the start of spring training one week away. Just 61 of 166 players who exercised their free agency rights last November had announced agreements as of Tuesday, down from 99 of 158 at a similar time last year.
Minnesota Twins right-hander Ervin Santana will miss the start of the regular season after undergoing unexpected surgery on his right middle finger. Santana was an All-Star last year, going 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA in 33 starts. ... Home run king Barry Bonds will have his No. 25 jersey retired this August by the San Francisco Giants when his former Pittsburgh Pirates are in town. ... The New York Yankees will open the gates three hours before spring training home games, allowing fans to watch Aaron Judge and new teammate Giancarlo Stanton take their thwacks during batting practice.
Lakers fined again
The Los Angeles Lakers have been fined $50,000 for violating the NBA’s tampering rule again. League officials made the announcement in response to an interview team president Earvin “Magic” Johnson did with ESPN.
Johnson was discussing the skills of Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo and said the Greek native would put the Bucks “on the map” and bring them an NBA title.
Detroit Pistons center Willie Reed has been suspended for six games by the NBA after the league investigated the circumstances involving a domestic incident that resulted in his arrest.
Panthers GM on paid leave
The interim general manager of the Carolina Panthers has been placed on paid administrative leave after his ex-wife accused him of harassment.
Team spokesman Ryan Anderson confirmed that interim general manager Marty Hurney is under investigation by the NFL under its personal conduct policy. The Panthers brought back Hurney in July after then-owner Jerry Richardson fired Dave Gettleman days before the start of training camp.