United’s Gressel nabs MLS honor
Atlanta midfielder Julian Gressel has been named Major League Soccer’s Rookie of the Year.
Gressel, 23, appeared in 32 matches with 24 starts, and had nine assists, third-most for a rookie in league history. He also had five goals.
Atlanta United, playing its first season in MLS, went 15-9-10 and finished fourth in the Eastern Conference. United was the first expansion team to make the playoffs since 1998.
Texas in best spot for Otani
Texas, the New York Yankees and Minnesota can pay the most to a young international amateur free agent as highly touted pitcher-outfielder Shohei Otani prepares to enter the market, and Major League Baseball and its Japanese counterpart have agreed to the outlines of a deal to keep the old posting system for this offseason.
The Rangers can agree to a maximum $3,535,000 signing bonus from their pool that covers July 2 through next June 15, according to figures compiled by Major League Baseball and obtained by The Associated Press. New York can pay $3.25 million and the Twins $3,245,000.
Just three other teams can give him a seven-figure signing bonus: Pittsburgh ($2,266,750), Miami ($1.74 million) and Seattle ($1,570,500).
After that comes Philadelphia ($900,000), Milwaukee ($765,000), Arizona ($731,250), Baltimore ($660,000), Boston ($462,000) and Tampa Bay ($440,500).
Twelve teams are capped at $300,000 as penalties for exceeding their signing bonus pool under baseball’s previous collective bargaining agreement, which did not have a cap: Atlanta, the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington.
Each team started with a pool of $4.75 million, $5.25 million or $5.75 million, and amounts could be traded. Most of the pool money already has been spent on Latin American prospects.
Anthony foul appeal denied
The NBA said Wednesday that Carmelo Anthony’s flagrant 2 foul will stand, but rescinded the flagrant issued to Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City’s last game.
The league also fined Westbrook, Paul George and coach Billy Donovan $15,000 apiece for their criticisms of the officials after the call against Anthony on Sunday.
Both were unusual plays in that flagrant fouls are usually called against defensive players. Instead, Anthony and Westbrook were whistled for contact they created while attempting shots.
Stephens back on US team
Sloane Stephens is back on the United States team for the Fed Cup final, and Victoria Azarenka is missing for Belarus.
That alone gives the early advantage to the Americans.
Stephens, who won the U.S. Open this year for her first major title, missed the opening two rounds of the international team competition because of a foot injury. But she is back and will be playing alongside CoCo Vandeweghe, Shelby Rogers and Alison Riske in the best-of-five series this weekend in Minsk.
The United States is looking to win the Fed Cup for the first time in 17 years, while Belarus is playing in the final for the first time.
Stephens hasn’t played in the Fed Cup since the 2016 quarterfinals, but she said it’s been “no problem at all” slipping back onto the squad.