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Sports Report: Spring Training Starts; Yankees Eliminating Print-At-Home Tickets

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In the NHL, Chicago beat the Rangers 5-3, Colorado topped Montreal 3-2, and Minnesota bested Calgary 5-3.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman's 20-game suspension for cross-checking a linesman during a game against Nashville Jan. 27. Wideman appealed the suspension and met with Bettman at a hearing in New York last week. The NHL Players' Association announced after Bettman's ruling that it would further appeal to neutral arbitrator James Oldham.


Play in the NBA resumes today. It also marks the trade deadline.

All-Star forward Chris Bosh was not with the Miami Heat for practice Thursday, and the team says he will not play in their game at Atlanta on Friday. The Heat went back to work after their All-Star break, and the team is not commenting about Bosh going back on blood thinners to combat a blood clot. Bosh missed the final 30 games last season with a similar ailment. The team says it has no other information to announce at this point. Meanwhile, Bosh posted an audio-only Snapchat featuring the Kendrick Lamar lyric, "We gonna be all right."


Spring training in Major League Baseball starts today with Pitchers and Catchers set to report.

The New York Yankees are eliminating print-at-home tickets. The Yankees say the decision comes from their desire to eliminate fraud. But some say it has to do with the team’s partnership with Ticketmaster.

Andrew Miller can't wait to watch Aroldis Chapman on a mound up close. The Yankees acquired Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds in December. He's taking over for Miller as the club's closer this season. The left-hander routinely surpasses 100 mph with his fastball. With Chapman closing, Miller will join Dellin Betances in a set-up role. Pitchers and catchers report for spring training today.

Reliever Matt Belisle has accepted the Washington Nationals' minor league contract offer and an invitation to spring training. The 35-year-old Belisle is a 12-year major league veteran who spent last season with the St. Louis Cardinals, posting a 2.67 earned-run average in 34 appearances. He also pitched for new Nationals manager Dusty Baker in Cincinnati.

The Kansas City Royals have announced that additional netting at Kauffman Stadium is being installed and will extend toward the outfield end of each team's dugout. The idea is to improve the safety for fans sitting along the foul lines. Several clubs have considered ways to protect fans from foul balls hit into those seats, and some have suggested that similar netting should be mandatory in major league ballparks.

All-Star second baseman DJ LeMahieu and the Colorado Rockies have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $7.8 million contract. LeMahieu set career bests last year with a .301 average and 61 RBIs last season, one year after winning a Gold Glove. Players won three of the four arbitration cases this winter, their first winning record since 2011.


The New England Patriots have released defensive back Leonard Johnson. New England signed the 25-year-old Johnson in December after Tampa Bay released him from the injured reserve list. He appeared in four regular-season games with three starts for the Patriots this past season and made seven tackles with three passes defended.

The New York Giants have re-signed long-snapper Zak DeOssie. A nine-year veteran and captain of New York's special teams, DeOssie ended last season on injured reserve with a wrist problem that required surgery.

Hall of Fame:

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has a received a $2.5 million grant from the foundation established by late Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson. The money will go toward funding a variety of programs and projects, including a holographic theater experience. Also, $1 million will be set aside to create an endowment fund.Wilson was inducted into the hall in 2009. He died in March 2014.

The grant was presented on Wednesday by Mary Owen, Wilson's niece and member of the hall of fame's advisory committee. In 2012, Wilson provided the hall a $2.5 million gift to fund what is now called Ralph Wilson, Jr. Pro Football Research and Preservation Center. It features an archive that includes more than 30 million pages of documents and five million photographic images.


In college men's basketball, UAlbany snapped Stony Brook’s 18-game winning streak by downing them 82-70.

Vermont beat Binghamton 78-64 last night. Cam Ward scored 16 including the first eight points of a 21-4 run late in the second half. Ernie Duncan and Nate Rohrer added 14 points each for Vermont, and Kurt Steidl had 10 points and eight rebounds.

Army beat Holy Cross 72-68 last night. Kevin Ferguson scored a career-high 25 points on 12-for-16 shooting and corralled 13 rebounds to lead Army. Malachi Alexander and Cullen Hamilton each scored 17 to lead Holy Cross.

Fordham shot 10 of 24 from long distance and the Rams broke the game open early to beat UMass 77-66 last night. Joseph Chartouny scored 16 points with eight assists for Fordham. Trey Davis scored 20 points and grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds for UMass.

Clemson kept its long-shot NCAA tournament hopes alive with a 65-54 victory over Boston College last night. Jaron Blossomgame scored 23 points for Clemson. Boston College leading scorer Eli Carter was 1-of-17 shooting to end with 5 points, 11 fewer than his season's average.

Number 8 Xavier held on to beat Number 23 Providence 85-74 last night. Trevon Bluiett scored 17 of his 23 points during Xavier's big first half, and Myles Davis had a triple-double. The Musketeers led for all but the opening minute as they piled up 52 points in the first half. They pushed the lead to 21 in the second half and withstood a late run by the Friars that cut the lead to six.

In college women's basketball, top-ranked UConn beat Cincinnati 88-34 last night for its 62nd consecutive win. Breanna Stewart scored 14 points off the bench. The senior added eight rebounds and five assists in just 21 minutes as UConn reached the 25-win plateau for the 23rd consecutive season.

Sports Betting:

A U.S. appeals court is wondering if New Jersey would become "the Wild East" if it becomes the rare state to allow sports betting but not regulate it. New Jersey officials have tried for several years to legalize sports betting despite a 1992 federal law that forbids it. A revised 2014 law would allow sports betting at Atlantic City casinos and certain racetracks.

U.S. Circuit judges in Philadelphia have twice rejected New Jersey's efforts but reconsidered Wednesday in arguments before the full court. Gov. Chris Christie says the state is losing millions to illegal sports betting that could help the casino and racing industries. At least one judge suggested that other states could simply follow suit. A decision is not expected for several months.


Manny Pacquiao's comments disparaging gays have cost him his contract with apparel giant Nike. The company says it has dropped the Filipino boxer after he was quoted as saying gay people "are worse than animals." Nike called Pacquiao's comments "abhorrent" and said the company strongly opposes discrimination of any kind and has long stood up for the fights of gays. Pacquiao apologized Tuesday for the remarks made a day earlier. He meets Timothy Bradley on April 9 in what could be his last fight.


FIFA ethics prosecutors have requested life bans for two South American officials who already pleaded guilty in an American investigation of corruption in world soccer. The FIFA ethics committee says it has completed its investigations into former CONMEBOL vice presidents Luis Bedoya of Colombia and Sergio Jadue of Chile.

FIFA ethics judges will now handle the case. No hearing dates have been set. A U.S. Department of Justice indictment unsealed in December said Bedoya and Jadue took "annual six-figure bribe payments" linked to tournament broadcasting rights.

Both have pleaded guilty to racketeering and wire-fraud conspiracies, and forfeited cash in Swiss and American bank accounts. Bedoya was a member of the FIFA executive committee until resigning in November.

©2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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