AP Sports SummaryBrief at 11:59 p.m. EST

Former Mets GM Billy Eppler suspended through World Series for fabricating injuries

NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Mets general manager Billy Eppler was suspended through the 2024 World Series by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, who concluded he and other team employees fabricated injuries to create open roster spots. No Mets medical or athletic training personnel were mentioned in the announcement by Major League Baseball. Manfred said in a statement that Eppler directed “the deliberate fabrication of injuries; and the associated submission of documentation for the purposes of securing multiple improper injured list placements during the 2022 and 2023 seasons.”

Chiefs rule out All-Pro LG Joe Thuney for Super Bowl vs 49ers with pectoral injury

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs ruled out All-Pro left guard Joe Thuney from the Super Bowl because of a pectoral injury he sustained in the divisional round of the playoffs. Nick Allegretti will start in Thuney’s place against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Wide receiver Rashee Rice was a full participant after he was stepped on near the end of practice Thursday. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who missed last year’s Super Bowl after dealing with an injury, also put in a full practice after dealing with an illness earlier in the week. The 49ers were expected to release their final injury report later Friday.

Ohio State hires Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator after he steps down as head coach at UCLA

UCLA coach Chip Kelly stepped down after six seasons leading the Bruins to become offensive coordinator for Ohio State. Buckeyes coach Ryan Day hired former Texans coach Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator last month, but O’Brien is now heading to Boston College to become the Eagles’ head coach. Day played quarterback in college for Kelly when he was offensive coordinator at New Hampshire. Kelly had a 35-34 record in six years with the Bruins, who are moving to the Big Ten next season.

Nick Taylor shoots 60 to match course record, shares Phoenix Open lead with Andrew Novak

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Nick Taylor matched the course record with an 11-under 60 to finish his first round Friday and shot 70 in the second to match Andrew Novak for the Phoenix Open lead at 12 under. With weather delays pushing the first round into Friday, Taylor returned to complete a record round shared with four others at TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium course.  Taylor got his second round off to a shaky start before two birdies on the back nine moved him back into a tie for the lead with more than half the field still needing to finish Saturday. Novak closed out a 65 in the morning and shot 4-under 31 on the front nine for another 65 in the second round.

Shohei Ohtani tries to blend in with Dodgers, even if that might prove impossible

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani gave his first interview at Camelback Ranch as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers on a chilly Friday morning, surrounded by more than 50 reporters who asked questions of baseball’s first and only $700 million man. These kinds of scenes make it hard for Ohtani to be one of the guys. But he’s trying. Ohtani said he’s “going to act like a rookie” while getting acclimated to his new team. The Dodgers had their first official workout of spring training on Friday, with pitchers and catchers reporting. Several hitters were also taking batting practice, though stars like Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman haven’t arrived at camp.

Taylor Swift’s connections to sports go back to her early days performing the national anthem

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Taylor Swift got her singing career started by performing the national anthem at sporting events as a young child and teenager. She sang the anthem before 45,900 fans at Game 3 of the 2008 World Series. The U.S. Open. NASCAR. The World Series. Yes, even the Double-A Reading Phillies. Swift was an unsigned artist who looked for any kind of break by belting out the song about the land of the free and the home of the brave in front of as many packed crowds as she could find.

Rivers wins No. 1,099 as Bucks trounce Hornets 120-84 to send Charlotte to its 10th straight loss

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Doc Rivers won his 1,099th regular-season game to move into eighth place on the NBA’s list, Damian Lillard scored 26 points in his return from a two-game injury absence and the Milwaukee Bucks cruised past short-handed Charlotte 120-84 to send the Hornets to their 10th straight loss. Malik Beasley made seven 3-pointers on nine attempts and finished with 21 points for Milwaukee, which improved to 2-5 under Rivers, who replaced Adrian Griffin. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 15 points and 15 rebounds in just 24 minutes, and Bobby Portis added 18 points and seven rebounds. Brandon Miller and Nick Richards each scored 16 points for the Hornets.

76ers team president Daryl Morey ‘hopeful’ that Embiid can return for a possible postseason run

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers team president Daryl Morey expressed optimism on Friday that reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid would return from a knee injury in time for a possible postseason run. Morey said feedback following Embiid’s meniscus surgery on Tuesday was mostly good and he was hopeful the center could get back to playing at an MVP level. Morey added guards Buddy Hield and Cameron Payne at the trade deadline, but was unable to work a deal to add a big man.

Tatum scores 35 points and Celtics ride 3rd-quarter rally to beat Wizards 133-129 for 40th win

BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum scored 35 points and sparked a third-quarter rally to help the NBA-leading Boston Celtics to their 40th win of the season, 133-129 over the Washington Wizards. Kristaps Porzingis added 34 points and 11 rebounds. Boston is 40-12 and reached 40 victories the fastest since the 2008-09 season. It was Tatum’s 20th game this season scoring 30 or more points. Deni Avdija had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards, who have lost five straight. Corey Kispert added 24 points. Washington led by as many as eight in the third quarter and closed with 131-127 in the final minute. But Boston closed it out at the foul line.

Canada wins 3rd straight to send Rivalry Series to decisive Game 7, beating US 3-0 in Regina

REGINA, Saskatchewan (AP) — Natalie Spooner opened the scoring on a power play 58 seconds into the third period and Canada won its third straight to send the Rivalry Series to a decisive seventh game, beating the United States 3-0 on Friday night. Emerance Maschmeyer made 27 saves, and Emily Clark and Sarah Nurse added goals. Game 7 is Sunday in St. Paul, Minnesota. Twenty-six seconds after Megan Keller was penalized for body-checking, Spooner took a pass from Marie-Philip Poulin on a rush, cut to the slot and fired a wrist shot to the far side past goalie Aerin Frankel. The U.S. failed to wrap up the series for the third straight game and second time in three nights in Saskatchewan. On Wednesday night in Saskatoon, Canada won 4-2.

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