AP Sports Digest

January 17, 2020 - 2:18 am
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The highlights of the AP Sports report. An up-to-the minute listing of all stories planned, including games and events, is available in Coverage Plan on AP Newsroom, http://newsroom.ap.org/coverageplan You can also find a link to Coverage Plan on the left navigation of the Newsroom home page, http://newsroom.ap.org

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TOP STORIES

BBN--METS-BELTRAN OUT

NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltrán is out as manager of the New York Mets before a single game, the latest fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that has rocked Major League Baseball. The move comes two days after Boston cut ties with manager Alex Cora. By Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

MMA--UFC 246-MCGREGOR’S RETURN

LAS VEGAS -- The last three years for Conor McGregor have been a morass of pay-per-view defeats, whiskey sales and relentless legal trouble. The Irish superstar hasn't won during that time, but he gets a chance Saturday night in his UFC return against Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 830 words, photos.

FBN—NFL AT 100-AFC CHAMPIONSHIPS

Tom Brady has been synonymous with the AFC championship for the last two decades. Sunday's showdown between the throwback Tennessee Titans and the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs marks the first AFC championship game since 2010 without Brady barking under center and Bill Belichick scowling on the sideline. By Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. UPCOMING: 1,300 words, photos by 3 a.m.

FBN--NFL AT 100-NFC CHAMPIONSHIPS

With "The Catch” that sent San Francisco to its first Super Bowl and “The Blown Call” that kept New Orleans at home, NFC championship games have two seminal moments. There's also plenty to remember from the 37 years separating those plays. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.

COMMENTARY

BBO—ON BASEBALL-SIGN STEALING

NEW YORK — Technology unleashed baseball's Analytics Era and now holds the sport prisoner. AJ Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltrán are casualties, a triple play of hubris. At the cutting edge with the Houston Astros, now they have been cut, deposed within a whirlwind 72 hours this week that raised questions of how rife are the rules breakers? By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. UPCOMING, 800 words, photos, by 3 a.m.

SPORTS SHOWCASE

TEN--FEDERER ON THE BIG THREE

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Roger Federer is not troubled by the prospect of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic -- or both -- surpassing his men's record for most Grand Slam singles titles. He tells the AP that ending up in third place would be just fine. By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. SENT: 1,000 words, photos. Sidebars on men’s, women’s capsules, glance (all sent).

NOTABLE

FBN—ANDY'S GANG

Of the coaches in the NFL's Final Four, Andy Reid is the outlier. Only Kansas City's coach has been the head man in a Super Bowl. Only Reid is close to having a Hall of Fame-worthy resume. Only Reid has been around for a couple of decades. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 730 words, photos by 3 a.m.

FBN--49ERS-KITTLE

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- George Kittle has been more productive than any tight end in NFL history in his first three seasons. But he gets his most pleasure when the San Francisco 49ers run the ball. By Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow. SENT: 850 words, photos.

FBN--CHIEFS-MONEY MAHOMES

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Mahomes was largely overshadowed this season by Lamar Jackson, the Ravens’ star quarterback. But the Chiefs' own MVP has quietly had another spectacular season, making him one of the best bargains in professional sports -- for now. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

Previews, matchup capsules for Packers-49ers, Titans-Chiefs for weekend use (sent).

BBA--RED SOX-MANAGER

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox say the turmoil in the manager's office isn't a reason to give up on this season and trade outfielder Mookie Betts. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 690 words, photos.

BKN--CELTICS-BUCKS

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer dug into his team after Thursday night's win. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 17 rebounds, Khris Middleton scored 23 and the Bucks held off the Boston Celtics 128-123 despite blowing two separate 20-point leads. By Keith Jenkins. SENT: 810 words, photos.

SKI--SHIFFRIN’S TWISTING SEASON

Mikaela Shiffrin's bid for her fourth straight overall World Cup title is tighter than usual. The American leads Petra Vlhova by a lot but the margin could be the equivalent of three races. Are her rivals catching up? And what must she do to restore her dominance? By Pat Graham. SENT: 790 words, photos.

BKC--T25--UNDEFEATED AZTECS

SAN DIEGO -- No. 7 San Diego State is the nation's last remaining undefeated team after Auburn lost to Alabama. Led by Malachi Flynn, the Aztecs need two more wins to match the 20-0 start by Kawhi Leonard's team in 2010-11. By Bernie Wilson. SENT: 800 words, photos.

BKW—T25-STANFORD-OREGON

EUGENE, Ore. — Sabrina Ionescu didn't notice the Oregon crowd's roar when she finally went to the bench with a career-high 37 points against Stanford. The Ducks' fans were aware she'd set the school's career scoring record. For Ionescu, all that mattered was that the sixth-ranked Ducks were well on the way to handing No. 3 Stanford its first conference loss with an 87-55 victory. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 960 words, photos.

FBN--HOF-SHELL’S LONG WAIT

PITTSBURGH -- Donnie Shell knew he was ahead of his time. It's why the Steelers safety never worried about whether he'd get into the Hall of Fame. His long wait ended this week, when he got the call more than 30 years after his final game. By Will Graves. SENT: 880 words, photos.

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Friday Time Schedule (EST)

NBA

Chicago at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Minnesota at Indiana, 7 p.m.

Washington at Toronto, 7 p.m.

Cleveland at Memphis, 8 p.m.

Miami at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.

Atlanta at San Antonio, 8:30 p.m.

Portland at Dallas, 9:30 p.m.

NHL

Anaheim at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Winnipeg, 8 p.m.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Men's Top 25

No. 13 Dayton at Saint Louis, 7 p.m.

No. 15 Michigan State vs. Wisconsin, 7 p.m.

No. 19 Michigan at Iowa, 9 p.m.

Women's Top 25

No. 7 UCLA at Southern Cal, 10:30 p.m.

No. 8 Oregon State vs. California, 10 p.m.

No. 14 DePaul at Xavier, 7 p.m.

No. 18 Arizona State at Washington, 10 p.m.

No. 19 Missouri State at Southern Illinois, 7 p.m.

No. 21 Arizona at Washington State, 10 p.m.

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