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Off the wire

By Compiled from Democrat-Gazette Press Services

This article was published August 6, 2014 at 3:14 a.m.


Venus rebounds

Venus Williams rebounded from a shaky second set to defeat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Tuesday. Scoreboards went dark due to a power outage that affected 200,000 customers in the area, but the matches were able to go on as scheduled. Elena Vesnina stepped in as a replacement for the ailing Andrea Petkovic and beat Camila Giorgi 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Petkovic, the 16th seed, was unable to play because she was sick. "I pushed it back until the end and really tried to get healthy," she said in a statement. "But I had a temperature and a fever and it's too risky to play like that in these kinds of conditions."

Roger Federer rolled to a 6-2, 6-0 victory over wild card Peter Polansky in the second round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto, and Stan Wawrinka, Ernest Gulbis and Richard Gasquet also advanced in the U.S. Open tuneup on Tuesday. Federer needed just 52 minutes to eliminate Canada’s Polansky, who beat 2013 Wimbledon finalist Jerzy Janowicz on Monday night. The second-seeded Federer had a bye in the first round. Third-seeded Wawrinka rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (2) victory over Benoit Paire. No. 11 seed Gulbis moved into the second round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory against Joao Sousa of Portugal. Gasquet beat local favorite Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 7-5. Pospisil was set to have an MRI on an abductor injury, which seized up at 5-all in the first set. It forced him to withdraw from the doubles competition.

Jack Sock of the United States defeated Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-1, 6-3 in the first round at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on Tuesday, setting up a match with big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic. Andreas Seppi defeated Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur 6-3, 6-3 in this U.S. Open tuneup after a rain delay of more than two hours. Seppi next faces Ivan Dodig, who upset 10th-seeded John Isner on Monday night. Raonic beat Sock, a Nebraska native, in straight sets at Wimbledon and then again last week at the Citi Open in Washington. Also in the first round, Vasek Pospisil lost to Richard Gasquet 7-5, 7-5 and Nick Kyrgios downed Santiago Giraldo 7-6 (3), 7-5 and will next play eighth-seeded Andy Murray. In other matches, No. 11 seed Ernests Gulbis beat Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-4, Gael Monfils beat Radek Stepanek 6-3, 7-5 and Yen-Hsun Lu beat Marcel Granollers 7-6 (6), 7-5. Second-seeded Roger Federer was scheduled to play Canadian wild card Peter Polansky later Tuesday night.


McCutchen breaks bone

Andrew McCutchen has a broken bone in his ribcage two days after being hit by a pitch, but the Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder and last year's NL MVP hopes to avoid going on the disabled list. McCutchen left in the eighth inning of Sunday's loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Phoenix after feeling pain in his side when he swung at a pitch. He had to be helped down the dugout steps to the clubhouse and needed help getting dressed after the game. McCutchen said he couldn't be sure if getting hit caused the injury but that he has "taken a million swings and have never felt anything in my side until Sunday." Also, outfielder Starling Marte was activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list Tuesday and third baseman Pedro Alvarez was placed on the bereavement list. Marte had been out since July 22. He is hitting .255 with five home runs and 21 stolen bases in 86 games.

• The New York Yankees have shuffled left-handers in their bullpen, promoting Rich Hill from the minors and letting Matt Thornton go to the Washington Nationals in a waiver claim. The moves came before the Yankees played Detroit on Tuesday night. The 34-year-old Hill pitched four games at Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, striking out 10 in four innings without allowing a run. Hill pitched two games in the majors this year for the Los Angeles Angels and also was in the minors with Boston. He is 24-22 with a 4.75 ERA during 10 seasons in the majors with the Cubs, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland and the Angels. The 37-year-old Thornton was 0-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 46 games for the Yankees, pitching 24 2/3 innings. Also, star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has gone through a stepped-up workout in his effort to return to the Yankees' rotation. Manager Joe Girardi says Tanaka made 50 throws from 60 feet before Tuesday night's game against Detroit. That's twice as many tosses as Tanaka took Monday in his first action since being shut down in early July because of a small tear in his right elbow. Girardi says Tanaka's latest session had "increased intensity." The 25-year-old Tanaka will take a planned day off today and resume his workouts Thursday. The Japanese rookie was 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA before going on the disabled list. He is hoping to avoid Tommy John surgery. There is no timetable yet as to when Tanaka might be able to pitch again in a game for the Yankees.

• A person who reviewed the deal told The Associated Press that free-agent reliever Jim Johnson and the Detroit Tigers have agreed to a minor league contract. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement. The Tigers played at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. Johnson had a major league-best 51 saves for Baltimore in 2012, and then tied for the big league lead last year with 50. The Orioles traded him to Oakland last winter, and he wasn't able to regain his form with the Athletics. The 31-year-old right-hander was 4-2 with a 7.14 ERA in 38 games with the A's. Johnson was designated for assignment on July 24 and released the following week. Johnson is likely to pitch a few games at Class AAA Toledo, hoping to join the AL Central-leading Tigers.


Team trims roster

The U.S. men's national team has trimmed its roster to 16 players by cutting Washington's John Wall and Bradley Beal, and Atlanta's Paul Millsap. The Americans are off this week after training last week in Las Vegas, where Indiana All-Star Paul George was lost to a broken right leg. They will resume practice for the World Cup of Basketball on Aug. 14 in Chicago. Players remaining who hope to make the final 12-man roster for Spain are Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Chicago's Derrick Rose, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, New Orleans' Anthony Davis, Golden State's Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Houston's James Harden, Atlanta's Kyle Korver, Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins, Dallas' Chandler Parsons, Utah's Gordon Hayward, Toronto's DeMar DeRozan, Portland's Damian Lillard, Denver's Kenneth Faried, Detroit's Andre Drummond and Brooklyn's Mason Plumlee.

• The NBA will stage an exhibition game next August in South Africa. Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum made the announcement Tuesday in Johannesburg, where the NBA is holding a Basketball without Borders camp. He says all proceeds will go to charity and that becoming the first U.S. professional league to play a game on the continent is "just an evolution of our commitment to continuing to bring basketball to the continent of Africa." The NBA first held one of its camps in South Africa in 2003 and has returned nearly every year. Players and coaches will provide instruction to 60 top young African players while also conducting clinics and providing the campers with life skills lessons. NBA coaches Dwane Casey, Brian Shaw and Lionel Hollins are among this year's instructors.

• The Cleveland Cavaliers officially announced the signings of Mike Miller and James Jones, two shooters who won NBA titles with LeBron James in Miami. Miller and Jones agreed to terms with the Cavs shortly after James announced he was returning to Cleveland and signed a two-year, $41 million contract with the club. A 14-year veteran, Miller has played Orlando, Memphis, Minnesota, Washington and Miami. He's averaged 11.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Miller gives the Cavs a needed outside shooting threat and a player who knows how to get open for James. Last season, Miller connected on 46 percent (107-233) of his three-pointers with the Grizzlies. Jones, too, can shoot. He has made 40 percent of his career threes and won the league's three-point shootout at the 2011 All-Star game.


Hammon league's first full-time female coach

Becky Hammon, who is retiring this month from a 16-season playing career in the WNBA, will join the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach next season, the NBA team announced Tuesday.

Hammon, 37, becomes the second woman to serve on an NBA coaching staff. The first was Lisa Boyer, who was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers staff in the 2001-02 season. Boyer, however, worked part time and was not paid by the team. Hammon has been hired to a full-time, paid position.

"Having observed her working with our team this past season, I'm confident her basketball IQ, work ethic and interpersonal skills will be a great benefit to the Spurs," Coach Gregg Popovich said Tuesday in a statement.

Hammon had spent much of the 2013-14 NBA season around the Spurs organization in an unofficial capacity. With a coaching career in her sights, she was often present at practices, coaching meetings and film review sessions and watched games from behind the Spurs' bench as the team went on to win its fifth championship.

"We really respect her as an individual and as a player, and she wanted to participate so we put her in all our coaches' meetings and at our practices just to see how she reacts to it all," Popovich said during an interview in February. "It's been great having her around. Becky's a lifer. She wants to keep playing. She wants to see how she likes coaching. We love her to death."

Hammon, a point guard, was a six-time All-Star selection in the WNBA and in 2011 was named one of the 15 best players in league history. She played eight seasons in New York after signing with the Liberty in 1999. She has spent the past eight seasons with the San Antonio Stars. She averaged 8.6 points and 4.2 assists in 27 games for the Stars this season.

A native of Rapid City, S.D., Hammon became a naturalized Russian citizen in 2008 so she could play for the country's national basketball team in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Sports on 08/06/2014

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