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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Joe Torre, the managerial mastermind of the resurgence of the New York Yankees, has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
While Torre excelled as a player – in 1971 he won National League MVP honors with a signature season that included 230 hits and a .363 average, 97 runs, and 137 RBIs for the St. Louis Cardinals – he became something special in the Yankees dugout.
Despite mediocre stints managing the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals (five winning seasons in 15 years), Torre was hired by the Yankees prior to the 1996 season. In 12 years with Torre at the helm, the Yankees won 10 division titles, six AL pennants, and four World Series.
Torre is the only man to amass more than 2,000 hits (2,342) as a player and win more than 2,000 games (2,326) as a manager, according to STATS.
FAYETTEVILE, Ark. (AP) – Former University of Arkansas All-American golfer Emily Tubert has picked up her first win as a professional on the Cactus Tour.
Tubert shot a 7-over, 223 in the three rounds of the tournament that ended Saturday in Mission Hills, California.
Tubert will take part in one more event this summer before attending the first stage of qualifying school in an attempt to earn her LPGA tour card.
(Kansas City) (AP) – The Cleveland Indians recalled right-hander Zack McAllister from Triple-A Columbus on Saturday and started him against the Kansas City Royals.
McAllister went 3-5 with a 5.28 in 12 starts with the Indians. He began the season with Cleveland and went on the disabled list May 22 with lower back inflammation and was sent to Columbus after he was activated. He went 5-0 with a 2.23 ERA with the Clippers.
The Indians optioned right-hander Josh Tomlin, who gave up four runs on seven hits, including two home runs, in 5 1-3 innings in a Friday loss to the Royals to Columbus. Tomlin is 5-7 with a 4.47 ERA in 15 games, including 14 starts, for the Indians, losing five of his past six decisions in eight starts.
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs tried to follow the same script that produced a comeback win the day before. They just couldn’t pull off a similar finish.
The Cubs fell behind St. Louis early and tied it with an unlikely home run, but the Cardinals ended up with a 6-3 victory on Saturday in front of a big crowd divided by fans of the rival clubs.
Matt Adams drove in four runs, A.J. Pierzynski had three hits in his St. Louis debut, and the Cardinals snapped a four-game skid.
“Adams had the day,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “He was our guy. Getting the big hit early on, hitting a couple balls hard with guys in scoring position.”
Cubs starter Jake Arrieta settled in after a two-run first inning and allowed just three base runners the rest of the way. He thwarted threats in the fourth and fifth innings, and a diving catch by left fielder Chris Coughlan helped Arrieta escape the sixth.
“(I tried to) keep the team in the game,” Arrieta said. “We fought back and we made it a pretty close game there at the end. We just came out on the other side.”
Just like on Friday, the Cubs recovered from a first-inning deficit.. Anthony Rizzo had an RBI groundout in the fourth, and Nate Schierholtz hit a solo home run in the sixth, tying it at 2. It was Schierholtz’s fourth career pinch-homer.
With Arrieta out of the game, the Cardinals pulled back ahead in the seventh, scoring four runs against James Russell (0-2). Jon Jay hit a leadoff single, advanced on a sacrifice and stole third. He scored the tiebreaking run on Matt Carpenter’s grounder.
Adams, who hit a two-run double in the first, followed three batters later with a triple to score two runs. Pierzynski capped the inning with an RBI single to make it 6-2.
“Adams put a good at-bat together,” Russell said. “He fouled a lot of pitches off. He ended up getting a mistake and he did what he’s supposed to do with it and put it in the gap.”
Russell allowed four earned runs in his worst outing since July 21, 2012, when he gave up six runs, also against the Cardinals.
“All (the pitchers) have actually done a great job for us, and every now and then you have a hiccup. Today he had a hiccup,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said.
In his first start since being removed from the rotation on July 10, Shelby Miller allowed two runs and three hits in 5 2-3 innings. He began the game with three perfect innings and retired 16 of his first 18 batters.
Randy Choate (2-2) got the last out of the sixth in relief of Miller. Trevor Rosenthal worked around two hits in a scoreless ninth, earning his 31st save in 35 tries.
The 37-year-old Pierzynski signed with the Cardinals on Saturday, 10 days after he was released by Boston. St. Louis had been looking for a steady presence behind the plate since All-Star catcher Yadier Molina tore a ligament in his right thumb July 9.
Molina had surgery two days later and is expected to miss eight to 12 weeks.
Pierzynski played eight seasons in Chicago with the White Sox.
“That was pretty much a cram session for A.J. there, not just with Shelby but all our guys, and the signs,” Matheny said of the veteran catcher.
Adams doubled sharply in the first, a one-hopper that bounced past Rizzo at first and into right field to score two runs. Despite the rough start, Renteria said the fact that Arrieta was able to hang in showed how he has grown as a pitcher.
“Today was maybe not one of those days where he felt his best, but he actually settled down, worked with what he had today, which is what a pitcher is supposed to do,” Renteria said.
Ryan Sweeney hit a leadoff homer against Pat Neshek in the eighth, his third home run of the season and second of this series.
CHICAGO (AP) — For A.J. Pierzynski, the opportunity for a fresh start with a perennial contender was too good to pass up.
Pierzynski on Saturday signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, choosing them from among several suitors, 10 days after being released by the Boston Red Sox.
The veteran catcher didn’t divulge what other teams showed interest in him, but said playing for a contender was a priority.
“You want to try and find a team that can win. You don’t want to go to the team that’s in last place and just kind of play out the string,” said Pierzynski, who was in the starting lineup and batting sixth for the Cardinals’ afternoon matchup against the Chicago Cubs.
Pierzynski, 37, now with his sixth team in 17 seasons, spoke with St. Louis manager Mike Matheny Friday before signing and expressed his desire to continue playing and willingness to accept whatever role was best for the team.
“I just wanted to make sure he was a good fit,” Matheny said. “Explain to him the lay of the land here, kind of what are expectations are. Also, get kind of a feel of where he is. There are certain guys kind of on that bubble (questioning) `do I still want to keep doing this?’”
The Cardinals have been looking for a steady presence behind the plate since All-Star Yadier Molina went down with a torn ligament in his right thumb on July 9. Molina underwent surgery on July 11 and is expected to miss 8-to-12 weeks.
“Bringing in another talented player to help us try kind of try and put things together and figure out how to take our club to another level,” Matheny said. “We still believe we have to get to another level.”
Pierzynski brushed aside questions about the his reputation as a negative influence in the clubhouse, and Matheny said he told his team to get rid of any preconceived notions.
“People that played with me and know me, know what I’m about and that’s all that really matters,” Pierzynski said.
The left-handed hitting Pierzynski played 72 games this year with the Boston Red Sox, hitting .254 with four home runs. He is a career .282 hitter.
“I didn’t want to end with the bad taste I had in my mouth in Boston,” Pierzynski said “I didn’t want to end like that. I didn’t want to end the season. I didn’t want to end anything like that.”
Pierzynski joined the Cardinals direct from Coopertown, N.Y. and the Baseball Hall of Fame, where he and his family were guests of 2014 inductee and Pierzynski’s former White Sox teammate Frank Thomas.
Catcher George Kottaras was designated for assignment to make room on the St. Louis roster.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid is serious about what he has said about competition at the cornerback position.
Sean Smith, last year’s starter at right cornerback, moved to the second team for the last four days of organized team activities. His status hasn’t changed three days into training camp.
“We look at Sean as a first-team player,” Reid said. “We need all those guys and we need two-deep at the corner where we feel like that two-deep is equivalent to starting players. That’s where we’re looking.”
The Chiefs are in transition following a 2013 season where the defense ranked 25th against the pass (247.6 yards per game).
Another factor for changes may have been the memory of blowing a 38-10 third-quarter lead en route to a 45-44 playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Gone from last year’s roster are safeties Kendrick Lewis and Quintin Demps, and cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Dunta Robinson. Kansas City used a third-round pick on Phillip Gaines and entered training camp with 11 cornerbacks.
Second-year pro Marcus Cooper has moved to Smith’s place with the starters on the right side, with fourth-year pro Ron Parker settling in at left cornerback.
Smith took the demotion in stride.
“At the end of the day,” he said. “I control my own destiny. As long as I come out here and compete, work hard and be the same guy I’ve been in the past, I’ll be all right.”
Smith, who enters his sixth season with 71 career starts, takes on a mentorship role.
“One thing about us,” Smith said, “we’re very tight as a unit. We come out here and compete, we push each other. I’m very supportive regardless who it is. Whether I’m first string, second string, it doesn’t matter.”
“Nothing has changed with us,” Parker said. “We’re still working and competing every day like nobody has a starting job.”
Cooper’s presence with the first-team defense doesn’t come as a surprise considering he started six games in 2013. However, the 26-year-old Parker is another story.
The Chiefs are Parker’s fourth team since he entered the league in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of Newberry College with the Seattle Seahawks. He also had stints with the Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers, mostly as a practice squad player.
Parker, who joined the Chiefs on Sept. 1, 2013, off waivers from the Seahawks, has appeared in 26 career games with one start, the latter coming last season in Week 17.
Despite the lack of NFL starting experience, Parker has been with the first team for 10 straight practices since the final week of organized activities.
“It’s meant a lot to me,” Parker said of his opportunity. “I’ve been having sleepless nights this offseason, couldn’t wait to get back just to be out here, ready to take on anything.”
Parker offers versatility as a converted college free safety and he played cornerback in high school. He possesses 4.36 40-yard dash speed.
Parker is confident his experience fits what the Chiefs require of cornerbacks in defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s scheme.
“I feel like I can just be interchangeable with anything they ask me to do,” he said.
The Chiefs face some of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in 2014, including Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, and Ben Roethlisberger, and two AFC West meetings against Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.
The Chiefs have time before the start of the regular season to allow the cornerback competition to work itself out.
But knowing what’s in store this season could expedite the Chiefs’ decision to allow the duo to get comfortable.
“It’s real important to come together in the secondary in training camp,” Parker said. “Mainly, we have to get the communication down and everybody get on the same page and play together. Once we get that down pat, that’s what training camp is for.”
Reid likes what he’s seen out of Parker and Cooper with the first-team defense, and Smith with the backups.
“All three I thought did a good job today,” Reid said.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Robert Quinn set a St. Louis Rams record and led the NFC with 19 sacks last season. The challenge this season is to do even better, without changing a thing.
“I stuck to my same routine. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?” Quinn said. “Of course, I want to push myself harder to be a better player.”
The defensive end was second overall in the NFL, a half-sack behind the Colts’ Robert Mathis, and also was second in the league with seven forced fumbles. He has a number in mind for 2014, but is keeping it private.
“I can’t do that,” Quinn told reporters, “because you’re going to put too much pressure on me.”
Of course, he can’t deny thinking about the NFL record of 22 1/2 sacks by the Giants’ Michael Strahan in 2001.
“Can I plead the fifth?” Quinn said. “I’m sure any D-lineman or anybody going for sacks wants to take down that record, but you have to go one sack at a time.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do to better myself, and I think as a defense we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Rams view the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Quinn as still ascending. Though he’s entering his fourth season, he’s only 24 after leaving North Carolina early.
Plus, this season he’ll have Gregg Williams pushing for more, both on the pass rush and defending the run. Williams is a proven commodity as a defensive coordinator and Quinn has been impressed with the defensive coordinator’s wealth of knowledge on both sides of the ball and knack for exploiting the opponent’s weakness and protecting his own team’s deficiencies.
“His philosophy is to defend every blade of grass,” Quinn said. “That’s how detailed he wants to be about everything, and I think guys are definitely stepping up to the challenge.”
The Rams aspire to top-10 status on defense with a pass rush that was among the leaders with 53 sacks, and has added first-round pick Aaron Donald, a tackle who can pressure the quarterback. They’re getting respect nationally, too.
End Chris Long had 8 1/2 sacks, tackle Michael Brockers had 5 1/2, backup end William Hayes had five and middle linebacker James Laurinaitis had 3 1/2.
Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, could figure in the mix, too. Sam showed a nice outside rush move in drills against other fellow backups.
“He’s fitting in really well,” Long said. “Like any other rookie he’s unpolished, but he’s eager to learn.”
So, if opponents double-team Quinn, problems are likely to crop up elsewhere.
“We’ve got a whole bunch of great guys that can put up numbers on any given day,” Quinn said. “It’s going to be hard just to focus on one guy, so if teams decide to focus on me you can name any guy on our defense, really.”
Last season, Quinn had a trio of three-sack games. One of the highlights was scrambling on all fours to get to Saints quarterback Drew Brees, stripping the quarterback, recovering the fumble and racing to the end zone for his first career touchdown.
“Robert Quinn is a super hero,” fellow defensive end Chris Long said.
He’s getting that treatment from the team’s promotions department, which concocted a giveaway figure of Quinn bending at the hips and waving his arms during a sack dance named “The Bernie,” which aims to mimic movements made by the cadaver in the film, “Weekend at Bernie’s.”
“It’s definitely funny to put on my mantel – once I get one,” Quinn said. “Hopefully this year I just keep it rolling so I don’t disappoint them.”
The Rams second training camp workout began in 99-degree heat, about a 20-degree hike from an unseasonably cool first day. Coach Jeff Fisher didn’t mind it a bit and pointed out Week 2 is at Tampa Bay.
“We need some heat,” Fisher said. “From an acclimation standpoint, it’s ideal. We’ve become an air-conditioned society.”
Players have one more day of practice without pads before putting them on for the first time for a special teams session Monday morning. The full squad will have its first full-pad practice on Tuesday.
(Fort Smith) (AP) – Good news: You’ve got plenty of time to start training for the first Fort Smith Marathon.
The Southwest Times Record reports that the inaugural 26.2-mile race will happen Feb. 8.
The course will begin and end downtown, winding through several city streets in between. The idea has been floating around for several years but organizer Jeremy Smith says it’s recently gained more support from city leaders and the mayor.
Marathon director Patrick Pendleton says past races have gone well and helped lay the groundwork.
He says the course will emphasize the history and scenery of Fort Smith, using the theme of “True Grit.”
The cost will be $80 for the full marathon and $60 for the half. A four-person relay will also be offered.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — For the second straight game, Cleveland reliever John Axford gave up the winning hit.
Billy Butler’s two-run, two-out, eighth-inning, pinch-homer off Axford was the difference in the Kansas City Royals’ 6-4 victory over the Indians on Friday night.
On Thursday, Nori Aoki punched a RBI-single in the 14th inning off Axford to give the Royals a 2-1 win.
Axford said Aoki’s hit had no lingering effect on Friday.
“Everything is fresh for me,” Axford said. “That’s something I pride myself on. I feel good. I feel strong. It’s obviously tough after the last two nights.”
The Indians signed Axford to be their closer after he saved 106 games for Milwaukee and was the Brewers’ closer from 2010-12. Axford, however, hasn’t earned a save since May 3 and has lost that job.
“I’ll keep going through it and be patient, prepare myself and get ready to go back in that role if that situation comes back,” Axford said.
Axford didn’t get the ball back after Butler’s 422-foot blast to left.
“It was just a bad pitch,” Axford said. “I let it stay out over the plate. It was supposed to be away and it ended up in the seats.”
Carlos Santana homered twice for the Indians, who have lost five of six.
“We have to win games, and to make that change it starts with starting pitching,” said Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin, who was pulled in the sixth.
The Royals won a game of matchup moves. After Salvador Perez singled with one out in the eighth off Carlos Carrasco (3-4), Nick Hagadone entered and got the second out.
Butler batted for Raul Ibanez and homered on Axford’s second pitch.
Earlier in the game, the 42-year-old Ibanez drove in a run when he became the oldest Royals player to hit a triple. Ibanez scored on the play when second baseman Jason Kipnis made a wild relay throw.
Kelvin Herrera (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Aaron Crow worked around a leadoff double in the ninth to earn his second save in four chances.
Royals closer Greg Holland, who had pitched in the three previous games, was unavailable.
Perez, who had three hits, and Mike Moustakas had back-to-back home runs to open the second. It was the second time this season Perez and Moustakas hit consecutive homers, having also done it April 23 at Cleveland.
Royals rookie Yordano Ventura, tagged for six runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings in his previous start at Boston, left after 6 1/3 innings. He gave up three earned runs and struck out seven.
Santana hit a solo homer in the fourth and a two-run shot in the sixth.
Tomlin, 1-5 in his previous seven starts, was pulled after 5 1/3 innings.
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs don’t have the look of a team more interested in draft position than on-field success.
One day after the Central Division cellar-dwellers couldn’t have looked worse in a 13-3 embarrassment against the lowly San Diego Padres, they showed some grit in a come-from-behind, 7-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, who suffered their fourth consecutive loss on Friday.
A persistent wind at their backs, the division rivals treated the largest crowd at Wrigley Field this season to five home runs and 23 hits.
“A good team win,” said manager Rick Renteria, whose club trailed 3-0 before even getting a chance to bat. “The crowd was buzzing all day. It was a pretty neat environment. Obviously, the fans were into it.”
Luis Valbuena hit a decisive two-run homer in the seventh to decide the see-saw affair.
Kevin Siegrist (1-2) hit Anthony Rizzo with a full-count pitch to start the inning. One batter later, Valbuena launched the first pitch into the center-field bleachers, his first homer against a left-hander in 37 at-bats this season.
“I was looking for a fastball, and I got a fastball right there,” Valbuena said. “That’s why I got aggressive.”
“We had the match-ups we wanted right there,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “We wanted (a left-hander) in that situation, in that part of the lineup, and a lefty ended up getting him.”
The Cardinals tied the score 5-5 on solo homers by Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday in the fifth inning. Pinch-hitter Oscar Taveras singled to break the tie in the sixth, but the lead was short-lived.
Justin Grimm (3-2) pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Hector Rondon retired the side in the ninth for his 12th save in 15 chances.
Cubs starter Travis Wood did well to survive five innings after a rocky start. He allowed five runs – two earned – and seven hits with one walk.
Wood aided his cause with a solo homer off Joe Kelly in the fourth inning, his third of the season. He became the first Cubs pitcher since Carlos Zambrano (2009) with at least 10 RBIs in a season.
“They fought off a lot of pitches and made me work,” Wood said. “I was only able to go five, but luckily, I was able to keep it close and we were able to pull it out.”
Ryan Sweeney’s three-run homer pulled Chicago even at 3-3 in the second inning. Kelly had not allowed an earned run in 18 1-3 innings against the Cubs before then.
One inning later, Sweeney singled home Valbuena, who had walked, for a 4-3 lead.
Kelly lasted 4 2-3 innings allowing eight hits and two walks.
St. Louis struck first with three unearned three runs in the opening inning, when Wood was forced to throw 32 pitches largely because of two errors behind him.
Carpenter and Holliday singled, then rookie second baseman Arismendy Alcantara threw away a potential double-play grounder that allowed a run to score.
One out later, Jon Jay hit a two-run double, and when left fielder Chris Coghlan allowed the ball to get past him, the batter advanced to third base on the second error of the inning.