Wednesday, July 28, 2022 -- Sports In Brief

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·5 min read
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GRINER

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has offered a deal to Russia aimed at bringing home WNBA star Brittney Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday.

In a sharp reversal of previous policy, Blinken also said he expects to speak with his Kremlin counterpart for the first time since before Russia invaded Ukraine to discuss the deal and other matters.

Blinken’s comments marked the first time the U.S. government has publicly revealed any concrete action it has taken to secure the release of Griner, who was arrested on drug-related charges at a Moscow airport in February and testified Wednesday at her trial. He did not offer details on the proposed deal outlined to the Russians, though a person familiar with the matter said the U.S. government has offered to trade convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Whelan and Griner.

The person insisted on anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Though it is unclear if the proposal will be enough for Russia to release the Americans, the public acknowledgment of the offer at a time when the U.S. has otherwise shunned Russia reflects the mounting pressure on the administration over Griner and Whelan and its determination to get them home.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees acquired All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Kansas City Royals for three minor league pitchers on Wednesday night in what could be the first in a flurry of moves ahead of next week’s trade deadline.

The AL East leaders sent right-handers Chandler Champlain and Beck Way to the Royals along with left-hander T.J. Sikkema.

A 28-year-old left-handed hitter, Benintendi was among 10 Royals who missed a four-game series at Toronto from July 14-17 because he was not vaccinated. Benintendi lost $186,813 of the $8.5 million salary he won in an arbitration case against the Royals.

New York believes he is amenable to getting vaccinated. No Yankees missed earlier trips to Toronto this season, and the Yankees have a three-game series there from Sept. 26-28.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mike Trout appreciated all the support he received Wednesday after the Los Angels Angels’ head trainer revealed the three-time AL MVP had a “rare” spinal condition that could affect him for the rest of his career.

Even if Trout thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion.

The 10-time All-Star left a game against Houston on July 12 with what was first called back spasms, then went on the injured list a week later with what was called rib cage inflammation.

On Wednesday, Angels trainer Mike Forstad revealed it to be a rare spinal condition, saying it’s something Trout “has to manage not just through the rest of the season.”

Trout has been examined by Dr. Robert Watkins III, a top back specialist and the co-director of the Marina Spine Clinic in Los Angeles, and received a cortisone injection last week that has already begun to produce results.

NFL

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — DK Metcalf was a spectator because of his ongoing contract extension talks, but it allowed him a pretty good view of the biggest question facing the Seattle Seahawks on the first day of training camp.

Metcalf watched as Geno Smith took the first round of snaps with Seattle’s No. 1 offense on the opening day of camp on Wednesday. Smith getting the nod on the first day was expected and Seattle coach Pete Carroll again proclaimed Smith as the leader in the competition with Drew Lock as the replacement for Russell Wilson.

But the quarterback competition will be a long, drawn out battle expected to last throughout the preseason. The more urgent matter for Seattle is the situation with Metcalf and how long the current contract stalemate may last.

When Seattle broke from minicamp in June — a mandatory event that Metcalf skipped — there seemed to be optimism a deal would be reached. And while Metcalf reported to camp to avoid being fined, there is still no agreement in place that would keep Metcalf in Seattle beyond this season.

GOLF

BEDMINSTER, N.J. (AP) — The Saudi-funded LIV Golf series announced a 14-tournament schedule for next year with 12 established team franchises and a chance for players to either be promoted or relegated through its series of Asian Tour events.

Greg Norman, the CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf, said Wednesday in a news release that the full schedule would be released later and would include stops across the world.

The rival league of the PGA and European tours plays its third event this week at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey, the course owned by former President Donald Trump. The four additions to the 48-man roster of players are Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey, Charles Howell III and Jason Kokrak. The European tour stripped Stenson of his Ryder Cup captaincy for signing up with LIV Golf, after pledging full support to the tour when he was selected as captain in March.

Along with the 48-man field, no-cut events worth $25 million in prize money, LIV Golf Investments has pumped $300 million into the Asian Tour for “International Series” events. While details on promotion and relegation were not announced, players could earn their way into the LIV Golf League through their performance in these Asian Tour events, while those who finish toward the bottom of LIV Golf events would be replaced.

The Associated Press

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