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Thursday’s Sports in Brief

January 29, 2021 GMT

PRO FOOTBALL

HOUSTON (AP) — Star quarterback Deshaun Watson has requested a trade from the Houston Texans, a person familiar with the move told The Associated Press.

The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the request and spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity .

Watson has a no-trade clause in his four-year, $156 million contract, so he could have some control over where he might be dealt.

A source told The Associated Press on Wednesday night that the Texans had hired David Culley as their new coach to replace Bill O’Brien, who was fired after an 0-4 start and replaced by interim head coach Romeo Crennel.

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The same source who told The AP about the trade request said Watson made the ask before Culley’s hire. He has been unhappy with the direction of the team for some time and Sports Illustrated reported weeks ago that Watson was upset the team didn’t initially request to interview Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy for its coaching vacancy.

PRO BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA rescheduled four games, along with making several time changes to upcoming contests.

Toronto’s game in Boston will now be Feb. 11, moved up from Feb. 12. Detroit will play at Boston on Feb. 12, moved up from Feb. 14.

And on Feb. 14, Boston will go to Washington while New Orleans will visit Detroit. Both of those games were intended to have been played sometime in the season’s second half, which will take place between March 11 and May 16.

Also Thursday, the league pushed back the start times of 16 upcoming contests. That has happened to about three dozen games so far in order to allow for more time to process COVID-19 tests before players take the floor.

BASEBALL

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Sara Goodrum has been promoted to minor league hitting coordinator by the Milwaukee Brewers, apparently making her the first woman to have that role in any Major League Baseball organization.

Goodrum’s official new title with the Brewers is coordinator for hitting development initiatives, but she essentially will be filling the role of a minor league hitting coordinator. Brewers vice president of minor league operations Tom Flanagan said that “to our knowledge, she would be the first” woman to hold that position in an MLB organization.

Goodrum, 27, has been working in this role since October. The Brewers officially announced the promotion Thursday as they released the names and positions of their entire 2021 player development staff.

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She had spent the last three seasons in the Brewers’ sports science department, working primarily on hitting. Her previous title was coordinator for integrative sports performance.

TOKYO (AP) — Masahiro Tanaka is returning to pitch for his former team in Japan after seven seasons with the New York Yankees.

The Rakuten Eagles of the Pacific League said Thursday the 32-year-old free agent had signed a two-year contract. Local media reported the deal was worth almost $9 million annually.

The Yankees in the past week added two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber and traded for Pittsburgh pitcher Jameson Taillon. New York appeared to have no room for Tanaka in its 2021 rotation and didn’t appear to be trying to re-sign the two-time All-Star.

Tanaka went 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA in 10 starts last year during the pandemic-shortened season.

SOCCER

The Major League Soccer Players Association has proposed extending the current collective bargaining agreement with the league through the 2026 season.

The proposal came as the league and the union faced a midnight deadline after MLS invoked a force majeure clause to reopen negotiations over the CBA, citing ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

With its proposal, the union said it hoped to avoid a lockout. The MLS regular season is set to open April 3 with preseason training camps allowed to start on Feb. 22.

The league and the players’ union had two difficult negotiations last year — one in February before the start of the season, and a second in June when players took a pay cut in order to resume the 2020 season.

MLS has said it incurred an estimated $1 billion in losses last year, due in part to lost revenue as a result of the virus.

UNDATED (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo could be in trouble after apparently breaking coronavirus restrictions on a two-day trip to the mountains.

The Juventus star and his partner Georgina Rodriguez spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Courmayeur in the Valle D’Aosta region in northwest Italy.

Video of them on a snowmobile was posted on social media and then removed.

Ronaldo lives in the nearby region of Piedmont and current coronavirus rules prohibit travel between regions unless in specific cases, such as going to your second house.

Police are reportedly looking into the matter.