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Tribune News Service

Sports Budget for Friday, February 14, 2020

Updated at 11 p.m. EST (0400 UTC)

This budget is now available at http://www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.

^TOP STORIES<

^Teddy Greenstein: A betting guide to NBA All-Star Weekend: Expert advice from a one-time baller<

BKN-GREENSTEIN-COLUMN-SPORTSPLUS:TB — The first thing to know about betting on this year's NBA All-Star Game is that the over will not hit. Nor the under. Thanks to the novel new format, the fourth quarter will be untimed with a target score. So the total is MIA. (Which does not stand for Jimmy Butler's team.)

Beyond that, the first wagering opportunity is straightforward: Team LeBron is favored by 4.5 points over Team Giannis.

If you firmly believe LeBron's crew will win, but not by five, you can sprinkle coin on the money line — wagering $200 to win $100. If you smell an upset, bet $100 to win $175 on Giannis' minions.

800 by Teddy Greenstein in Chicago. MOVED

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^Tony Kemp arrives at A's camp, addresses Astros' sign-stealing system: 'I said no'<

BBA-ATHLETICS-KEMP-ASTROS:CC — Tony Kemp isn't one to make a grand entrance upon arrival to a new team. The 28-year-old new Oakland Athletic will take introductions slow, teammate by teammate.

But one Athletic took Kemp aside on his own. Pitcher Mike Fiers wanted to talk with his former Houston Astros teammate — a teammate he celebrated a 2017 World Series title with. They talked it out.

"I understand where he comes from," Kemp said. "He's my teammate now and teammate in Houston and nothing changes."

300 by Shayna Rubin in Mesa, Ariz. MOVED

^Blues' Jay Bouwmeester gets defibrillator implant after collapsing in Anaheim<

HKN-BLUES-BOUWMEESTER:LA — Jay Bouwmeester had surgery Friday to insert an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to restore his heart's normal rhythm after the St. Louis Blues defenseman collapsed on the bench during a game in Anaheim this week.

Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said the procedure was performed at the UC Irvine Medical Center. The 36-year-old Bouwmeester will be monitored by a team of specialists at the hospital until he is cleared to return to St. Louis.

150 by Helene Elliott in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^Barack Obama makes surprise appearance at NBA All-Star Weekend to pitch in during a charity event<

BKN-ALLSTAR-OBAMA:TB — Former President Barack Obama walked into a small, cordoned off section of Wintrust Arena for an NBA Cares service event and received a familiar greeting as cheers, smiles and outstretched hands surrounded him.

Every person in attendance was prepped in advance of Obama's arrival. Security detail swept the space and cameras were fixed prior to his entrance.

Obama had done his homework, too. He worked the room and dropped stats and sports references, bonding with players, coaches and children on hand for the event.

Once Obama settled in, he was flanked by Hawks guard Trae Young and Pelicans forward Zion Williamson.

450 by DeAntae Price in Chicago. MOVED

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^Kobe Bryant leads Hall of Fame finalists for 2020<

BKN-BRYANT-HOF:LA — This summer was to be a celebration of three of the best players in NBA history, three champions who played against each other, who shared an era and fought for prominence. Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant.

But this year's Hall of Fame finalist announcement necessitated a more somber tone. It opened with acknowledgment of the people the league had lost this season — particularly Bryant and former commissioner David Stern.

When Bryant's name was announced, the Hall of Famers sitting on the stage behind the host bowed their heads or looked down.

250 by Tania Ganguli in Chicago. MOVED

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^BASEBALL<

^Paul Sullivan: Humble? The Cubs? This should be interesting to see.<

BBN-SULLIVAN-COLUMN:TB — As the Cubs begin their quest to erase the bad vibes from last year's collapse, Anthony Rizzo informed the media there's a different feeling in the clubhouse.

"It's a new opportunity," Rizzo said. "It's going to be something that grows more and more, confidence-wise. We're a confident group, but we're also a humble group right now."

Humble? The Chicago Cubs? Theo Epstein's Cubs?

Humble is a word I wouldn't normally attach to the Cubs, one of the cockiest, most self-assured groups I've been around in more than three decades of covering baseball

1000 by Paul Sullivan in Mesa, Ariz. MOVED

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^Cody Bellinger on 2017 Astros: 'Everyone knows they stole the ring from us'<

BBO-DODGERS-BELLINGER-ASTROS:LA — The Dodgers are brimming with optimism about the 2020 season. They just added Mookie Betts and David Price to a roster teeming with talent. They are the overwhelming favorites to win the National League pennant. Winning their eighth straight division title should not be even a slight challenge.

But the Dodgers did not spend Friday morning talking to the media about the upcoming season because the baseball world is still caught up in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal after the organization's apology tour took another hit Thursday.

350 by Jorge Castillo in Glendale, Ariz. MOVED

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^MLB raises minor league minimum pay, but most players will remain in poverty<

^BBO-MINORS-PAY:NY—<An upcoming raise to minor league player salaries won't push most players past the poverty line.

MLB will raise minimum salaries between 38% and 72%, depending on the minor league level, according to a memo sent to the 30 major league teams. Rookie and short-season, currently the lowest paid professionals in any organization in baseball, will see their weekly income boost from $290 to $400, while Triple-A minimums will creep up to $700.

However, the raise only impacts the five months out of the year minor leaguers are paid. They aren't paid during spring training, either.

350 by Bradford William Davis. MOVED

^Jake Marisnick apologizes for his role in Astros' sign-stealing scheme and regrets not speaking up<

BBO-METS-MARISNICK-ASTROS:NY — Hours after J.D. Davis expressed regret and embarrassment for his knowledge of the 2017 Astros' sign-stealing scheme, new Mets outfielder Jake Marisnick echoed his teammate — saying he "feels terribly" about the line that he crossed.

Marisnick, a seven-year big leaguer, saw his home batting average spike when he played 106 games for the Astros in 2017. He hit .308 (33 for 107) at Minute Maid Park — where MLB confirmed the Astros installed a monitor that displayed the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros' dugout — and batted .187 (23 for 123) on the road that season.

600 by Deesha Thosar in Port St. Lucie, Fla. MOVED

^Bill Madden: Rob Manfred not satisfied with Jim Crane and Astros' failed apology<

^BBO-MADDEN-COLUMN:NY—<To Houston owner Jim Crane, the Commissioner of Baseball is panning your performance at the Astros' "cheating mea culpa" press conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., Thursday.

Rob Manfred admitted he wasn't having a good day — or good week for that matter — when I talked to him by phone Friday about the continuing fallout from the Astros cheating scandal. Much as he felt he had meted out the stiffest penalties he could have, Manfred is getting hammered everywhere for not coming down harder on Crane and for not doing anything to at least publicly diminish the Astros' 2017 World Series championship.

250 by Bill Madden. MOVED

^Could Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter face off as owners? A-Rod reported as potential Mets buyer.<

^BBN-METS-RODRIGUEZ-JETER:FL—<Once star-studded teammates with the New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter could potentially re-kindle their baseball rivalry from the owner's box.

According to the New Post, Rodriguez has emerged as a potential buyer for the New York Mets. The report says A-Rod is "kicking the tires" on joining an upcoming bidding for the franchise.

Billionaire Steve Cohen was previously in agreement to buy an 80% share of the Mets for $2.6 billion, but the deal fell apart last week.

300 by Wells Dusenbury. MOVED

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^Bob Brookover: Phillies' Larry Bowa says Astros hitters should be drilled for cheating<

BBO-BROOKOVER-COLUMN:PH — These are dark days for Major League Baseball. Attendance and TV ratings already had been dipping in recent years, and now the game is dealing with cheating scandals involving the Houston Astros and the yet-to-be punished Boston Red Sox, the teams that won the 2017 and 2018 World Series.

Shame and dishonor unfortunately are almost as familiar to baseball as balls and strikes. Two of the most notable stains in the game's history were the 1919 Chicago White Sox World Series fix and the PED-fueled numbers that have kept Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, and others out of the Hall of Fame.

950 by Bob Brookover in Clearwater, Fla. MOVED

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^Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger has knee surgery<

^BBA-INDIANS-CLEVINGER:AK—<Spring camp just opened this week, but the Indians already have news that fans won't like, as it was announced that Mike Clevinger underwent knee surgery on Friday.

Clevinger hurt his knee while training at the team's complex in Goodyear, Ariz., on Wednesday and on Thursday was diagnosed with a partial tear of his left medial meniscus. Dr. Tim Kremcheck performed the surgery.

A timetable for his return has not yet been established.

300 by Ryan Lewis. MOVED

^Mark Bradley: The Astros are sorry this story won't go away<

^BBO-BRADLEY-COLUMN:AT—<The Astros Apology Offensive launched Thursday. As you'd expect from a campaign a month in the formation, it came across as less than heartfelt. We might even call it canned, but we'd beat a joke to within an inch of its life. Here was team owner Jim Crane: "Our opinion is that this (his team's sign stealing) didn't impact the game."

Shortly thereafter, Crane said: "I didn't say it didn't impact the game."

Players Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, who had declined to express remorse, decided that, after further review, they were remorseful after all. "I have learned from this," Bregman said, the lesson presumably being not to cheat — or, if you do, not to get caught.

1050 by Mark Bradley. MOVED

^Yankees GM Brian Cashman: Astros' sign-stealing 'definitely' affected the game<

BBA-YANKEES-CASHMAN-ASTROS:ND — Like his owner last week and many of his players this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman expressed a desire to "move on" from the Astros' illegal sign-stealing scandal and focus on the 2020 season.

But Cashman, like Hal Steinbrenner and the players who have addressed it, didn't equivocate on the ramifications of what the Astros did and the impact it might have had on the 2017 ALCS, which the Yankees lost to the Astros in seven games.

"I definitely think it had an effect on things, without question," Cashman said Friday afternoon.

600 by Erik Boland in Tampa, Fla. MOVED

^NFL<

^Browns' Myles Garrett says Steelers' Mason Rudolph called him 'stupid N-word' before fight<

^FBN-BROWNS-GARRETT:AK—<Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has publicly doubled down on his accusation that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph called him a racial slur in the buildup to their fight Nov. 14 in Cleveland.

"He called me the N-word," Garrett said during part of an Outside the Lines interview with Mina Kimes that ESPN aired at 11 p.m. Thursday on SportsCenter. "He called me a 'stupid N-word.'

700 by Nate Ulrich. MOVED

^Ravens release highly paid starting safety Tony Jefferson, a respected on- and off-field leader, saving $7 million<

FBN-RAVENS-JEFFERSON:BZ — The Ravens released safety Tony Jefferson on Friday, cutting ties with one of their defense's highest-paid starters after his third and most inconsistent season in Baltimore.

Jefferson, 28, struggled in coverage last year and suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 5. He acknowledged on social media last month that he did not expect to be retained this offseason. Jefferson was owed $11.2 million in 2020, the final year of his four-year deal, and the Ravens will save $7 million with his release.

650 by Jonas Shaffer in Baltimore. MOVED

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^Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst suspended four games for violating NFL's drug policy<

FBN-RAVENS-HURST:BZ — Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst has been suspended for the first four games of the 2020 regular season after violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances, the league announced Friday.

The NFL did not disclose the substance, but anabolic and androgenic steroids, stimulants, and human or animal growth hormones, as well as "related or similar substances," are banned under league policy. Masking agents and diuretics are also classified as prohibited substances.

Hurst is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.

350 by Jonas Shaffer in Baltimore. MOVED

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^NBA<

^Marcus Hayes: Brett Brown is having best season so far as Sixers head coach<

BKN-HAYES-COLUMN:PH — It doesn't feel like it, but this might be Brett Brown's best season yet.

Yes, the 76ers recently lost four in a row during a stretch that put Brown's job in immediate peril, which was stupid. Yes, they play worse on the road, which is why they stand No. 5 in an Eastern Conference that they were favored to win.

But here's the thing: They never should have been favored to win the East. Not after losing JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler, their two most reliable perimeter players.

1300 by Marcus Hayes in Philadelphia. MOVED

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^Mac Engel: To be like LeBron or Dirk? That's the big decision for Mavs star Luka Doncic.<

BKN-ENGEL-COLUMN:FT — Luka Doncic says he can handle the minutes, the workload and expectations, but he has a decision to make whether he wants to be a LeBron, or a Dirk.

Neither is the wrong answer, but that preposterous possibility is plausible.

If Luka wants, he can be a Dirk and live the "quiet" NBA superstar existence and be beloved, and respected, by all. Or, he can go all-in and be the biggest name in a global sport, like LeBron.

Luka has the name, the game, the looks. He needs some hardware, but it's all there.

1100 by Mac Engel in Dallas. MOVED

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^Zach LaVine asked on ESPN if he has confidence in Bulls management before 'Fire GarPax' chant breaks out<

BKN-BULLS-LAVINE:TB — Let's check in on how things are going for the Bulls during NBA All-Star Weekend oh.

During an appearance Friday on ESPN's "First Take," Zach LaVine was asked if he had confidence team vice president of basketball operations John Paxson can build a winning team around the Bulls guard.

Before LaVine could answer, Bulls fans attending the live show at Navy Pier erupted with jeers and a "Fire GarPax" chant, alluding to Paxson and general manager Gar Forman.

250 by Jeremy Mikula in Chicago. MOVED

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^Heat rookie Kendrick Nunn comes to Chicago for All-Star Break as hometown kid<

BKN-HEAT-NUNN:FL — Returning to Chicago hasn't lost its luster for Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn.

Especially not on Friday, when the undrafted rookie was set to compete in the Rising Stars game in the United Center, less than 15 miles away from where he grew up on the South Side of Chicago.

"It's a dream come true," Nunn, 24, said about playing in his hometown during All-Star Weekend. "It's an honor to be here and I'm looking to have a lot of fun.

"Chicago basketball means a lot. A lot of great guys come from Chicago. There's a lot of legacy and tradition here and I like carrying it."

550 by Khobi Price in Chicago. MOVED

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^Magic forward Aaron Gordon says he's going to win NBA dunk contest<

^BKN-MAGIC-GORDON:OS—<For all of his athleticism and physical skills, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon's best attribute going into the 2020 NBA AT&T Slam Dunk competition may not be a dunk at all.

It likely will be his confidence.

Gordon will be chasing his first NBA dunk title Saturday night in Chicago in what will be his third and final All-Star dunk competition. He said he plans to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the event to its fullest, but make no mistake, he'll apply his most intense focus on winning.

And he expects to.

When asked what we'll see from him at the competition, Gordon replied: "I'm going to win."

850 by Roy Parry. MOVED

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^NHL<

^Wild fire Bruce Boudreau, name Dean Evason interim coach<

HKN-WILD-BOUDREAU:MS — Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was fired Friday morning and will be replaced, on an interim basis, by assistant Dean Evason.

Boudreau, in his fourth season, got the word he was being dismissed at Tria Rink from first year general manager Bill Guerin.

"The most important thing is the players are going into this stretch run on a high, and I felt like they just needed a different voice right now," Guerin said at a news conference.

"I expect this team to compete for a playoff spot. I think maybe some adjustments or a different voice that Dean will bring will help the guys."

900 by Sarah McLellan in St. Paul, Minn. MOVED

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^Jason Zucker's two goals propel Penguins to 4-1 win vs. Canadiens<

HKN-CANADIENS-PENGUINS:PG — Jason Zucker was tough on himself after his Penguins debut on Tuesday, saying, "My hands were terrible. I mishandled pretty much every puck I touched."

In his second game, it seemed like pretty much every puck he touched went in.

Zucker scored two goals less than two minutes apart in the second period Friday, propelling the Penguins to a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens at PPG Paints Arena and reassuring them that they made the right move on Monday when they gave up two of their top future assets to get him from the Minnesota Wild.

700 by Matt Vensel in Pittsburgh. MOVED

^Hurricanes roll past Devils, 5-2<

HKN-DEVILS-HURRICANES:RA — Rod Brind'Amour bounced up and down on his toes during the national anthem, smacking on his gum, showing off some nervous energy.

High above PNC Arena, Dougie Hamilton had rolled out on his scooter, sounding the warning siren, showing some stamina.

In short, there were all the earmarks of an important game Friday as the Carolina Hurricanes faced the New Jersey Devils. Crunch time has come early for the Canes, who entered the game four points out of playoff position but responded with a solid 5-2 victory.

550 by Chip Alexander in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED

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^Late power-play goal fuels Rangers' 3-1 win against Blue Jackets<

HKN-RANGERS-BLUEJACKETS:OH — The margins have been thin between wins and losses all season for the Blue Jackets. They entered Friday night with two straight overtime losses in which the game-winners started with a few judgment errors that ended up being costly.

Mistakes will happen, but they are hurting a little more for the Jackets right now with more than $30 million in talent out with injuries, and they're a team that can't afford many mistakes because of the lack of offensive firepower they've shown for most of the season.

500 by Jacob Myers in Columbus, Ohio. MOVED

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^Sharks use third-period comeback to rally past Jets, 3-2<

^HKN-SHARKS-JETS:SJ—<There's something to be said for perseverance.

From the Sharks' perspective Friday, all they could do was continue to apply pressure on Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck and hope they could eventually break through.

It finally happened in the third period, as Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier scored goals 89 seconds apart to help the Sharks earn a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Jets at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

400 by Curtis Pashelka. MOVED

^COLLEGE BASKETBALL<

^Bob Ford: Villanova fighting to remain successful in the Big East it created<

^BKC-FORD-COLUMN:PH—<The highlight reel, which ended as only the most fortunate of highlight reels end — in a shower of confetti falling on a championship trophy — came to its wild, familiar conclusion, and Ryan Arcidiacono walked onto the basketball court at Finneran Pavilion at halftime Wednesday night.

Former teammate Kris Jenkins, the recipient of the most famous pass ever thrown in Villanova basketball history, applauded from the sideline, and the crowd stayed in its seats to watch as Arcidiacono's jersey was retired.

900 by Bob Ford. MOVED

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^Kentucky's top-ranked basketball target is done with visits. What's next for Greg Brown?<

BKC-KENTUCKY-BROWN:LX — All of his recruiting visits now behind him, top 10 national basketball prospect Greg Brown III is inching nearer to a much-anticipated college decision.

He's just not ready to make it quite yet. Or, more accurately, his dad wants him to think about it a little bit longer.

Greg Brown Jr., the star recruit's father, told the Herald-Leader this week that he and his son hadn't even sat down to seriously talk about his college options, days removed from the family's final official visit, a trip to Michigan this past weekend.

1500 by Ben Roberts in Lexington, Ky. MOVED

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^GOLF<

^Footprints, sandy greens and sore ankles: Why poor bunker raking rankles golfers<

GLF-BUNKER-RAKING:LA — It might seem like a dream job, wearing shorts in the sunshine and walking the verdant fairways of the most beautiful golf courses on the planet, sometimes for big paychecks.

But being a PGA Tour caddie can be a drag, too. And there's a lot of smoothing over for your pro. The most mundane part of the job is among the most important: meticulously raking a sand trap after a golfer has hit out of it.

"If you're a neat freak, which some of us are, which I am, you want to make sure it looks really good, better than it looked when it was raked by machine in the morning," said caddie John Limanti, on the bag for Adam Scott, who shot 64 at Riviera on Friday for the lowest second round of the Genesis Invitational.

1100 by Sam Farmer in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^AUTO RACING<

^Can Team Penske dethrone Joe Gibbs Racing? Three NASCAR storylines to follow in 2020.<

CAR-NASCAR-STORYLINES:CH — With the NASCAR season kicking off at Sunday's Daytona 500, the Charlotte Observer breaks down what to look for in the sport's top series in 2020. Here's what we're following.

750 by Alex Andrejev in Daytona, Fla. MOVED

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^WNBA<

^Swapping UConn players: Sky trade Katie Lou Samuelson to Wings for Azura Stevens<

^BKL-SKY-WINGS-TRADE:HC—<Former UConn standout Katie Lou Samuelson was traded from the Chicago Sky to the Dallas Wings on Friday, along with a 2021 first-round draft pick, in exchange for fellow ex-Husky Azura Stevens.

"We are happy that Katie Lou will be a part of our team," Wings coach Brian Agler said in a statement. "She is a premier shooter with great range and has length to defend multiple positions. I have a strong feeling that her best basketball days are ahead of her."

300 by Alex Putterman. MOVED

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