Local Sports

Ducks: Stars’ physicality over line

By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS — Physical play gets ratcheted up come playoff time, but the Anaheim Ducks thought things got a little out of hand with how the Dallas Stars poked, prodded and punched captain Ryan Getzlaf during Game 3 of the teams’ first-round series Monday.

Late in the second period, with the Stars up 2-0, there was a scrum behind the net and Stars winger Antoine Roussel flicked Getzlaf’s face mask and Getzlaf punched Roussel in the face. Roussel then hit Getzlaf in the face a few times as players from both teams jumped into the fray.

“Well, I mean I think it was pretty obvious out there,” Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked if the physical play crossed the line. “We’ve warned the refs about them. It’s just something that I guess you do anything to win, but it’s not something that I think our team would do. We’ll take them and be as physical and be as mean as they want, but obviously they know there’s something wrong with his jaw, so they’re going after it.”

Getzlaf’s jaw was injured in Game 1, when he was hit by a Tyler Seguin slap shot near the end of the game.

“You’ve got to stay as disciplined as you can, but you’ve got to protect yourself, too,” Getzlaf said. “That’s part of the game. Obviously, I never expected them to target my face that much, but that’s the way it goes I guess.”

Stars coach Lindy Ruff seemed surprised by how upset the Ducks were about the physical play. (more…)

Rangers rally for two runs in ninth to beat A’s

Michael Choice singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and the Texas Rangers rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Tuesday night.

Josh Wilson doubled to drive in the tying run just ahead of Choice, who began his career with the A’s.

Alexi Ogando (1-1) recorded one out in the eighth to pick up the win. Joakim Soria pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

Luke Gregerson (0-1) took the loss after blowing his third save opportunity. He gave up two runs on three hits. Gregerson appeared to have pitched out of trouble when he threw out pinch hitter Mitch Moreland at the plate on a safety squeeze by Leonys Martin for the second out.

Martin stole second and scored when Wilson, who cost the Rangers two runs with a fielding error in the fourth, doubled.

Donnie Murphy had two hits and drove in a run for the Rangers, who won their seventh in eight games.

Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and Eric Sogard drove in runs for the A’s, who lost their second straight for the first time this season. Josh Reddick had two hits.

A’s starter Tommy Milone allowed three runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out one.

Nick Martinez was recalled from Double-A to make the start for the Rangers. He lasted five innings, allowing four runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out one. (more…)

Rangers’ Choo (sprained ankle) day to day

By Eric Gilmore | Special to ESPNDallas.com

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Texas Rangers finally got some good news on the injury front Tuesday.

An MRI revealed that left fielder Shin-Soo Choo has a sprained left ankle, but not the more serious high ankle sprain, Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said before Tuesday’s game against the Athletics.

Choo will not play Tuesday or Wednesday against the A’s, but he’s considered day to day and the Rangers have no plan at this point to put him on the team’s crowded disabled list. Team physician Dr. Keith Meister analyzed results from Choo’s MRI and delivered the good news to Levine.

“We view this as very positive news considering, as high ankle sprains from our past experience … are a little more of a lengthier time frame for recovery,” Levine said.

Choo was injured in the top of the seventh Monday night when he tried to beat out an infield hit and landed hard on the base with his left foot.

The Rangers have 10 players on the disabled list, and the results from past MRIs this season have usually revealed bad news.

“We’re hoping that this is an indication that we’re heading in the right direction from an injury standpoint,” Levine said. “We’re kind of long overdue for some positive news back from the training staff. This is certainly a silver lining to what was a concerning injury that we thought we had last night. We feel very optimistic that hopefully Choo is a vital part of this team and will be back on the field soon.” (more…)

McHugh strikes out 12 as Astros beat Seattle 5-2

Collin McHugh struck out a career-high 12 in his season debut, and Jason Castro, Chris Carter and Matt Dominguez homered to lift the Houston Astros to a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

McHugh (1-0), called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City for the start, struck out the first three batters of the game to set the tone for his first win in 10 career starts. The right-hander didn’t walk a batter, giving up three hits in 6 2/3 shutout innings.

Josh Fields pitched the ninth for his second save. The Astros have won six straight against the Mariners.

Justin Smoak provided Seattle’s only offense with a two-run homer in the seventh inning as the Mariners extended their losing streak to eight games.

NFL to release sked Wednesday night

By John Clayton | ESPN

NFLThe 2014 NFL regular-season schedule will be released Wednesday, April 23, at 8 p.m. ET. Here is what we already know:

Opponents for 2014 season
Strength of schedule for 2014

The games will be unveiled during ESPN2′s schedule release show from 8 to 10 p.m. ET.

Annually, the release of the NFL schedule has become almost like a national holiday.

The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks are expected to host the annual kickoff game on Thursday, Sept. 4.

The NFL’s three London games are already set — Miami at Oakland at 1 p.m. ET on Sept. 28, Detroit at Atlanta at 9:30 a.m. ET on Oct. 26 and Dallas at Jacksonville at 1 p.m. ET on Nov. 9.

Among the other highlight games is a Super Bowl rematch, with the Denver Broncos at Seattle, along with San Francisco at Denver, New England at Green Bay, and Philadelphia at Indianapolis. (more…)

TCU’s Brandon Carter arrested

By Jake Trotter | ESPN.com

TCU wide receiver Brandon Carter was arrested Tuesday night by Fort Worth, Texas, police on suspicion of possession of marijuana.

According to the police report, Carter was detained after police ran the license plate on a 2010 Lexus and found the car had a “warrant hit.” After conducting a traffic stop, police arrested Carter and Alexis Harris, 22, for allegedly possessing less than two ounces of marijuana. The report stated that Carter had been driving, but that Harris is the car’s owner.

Carter was released from Mansfield jail Wednesday morning on a pre-trial release, according to the jail’s records.

After a breakout sophomore season in 2012, Carter was expected to be the Horned Frogs’ top receiver last year.

Instead, he spent most of the season in the doghouse and finished without a touchdown catch after reeling in nine his first two years. Carter was also granted a temporary leave of absence from the team in November.

Carter was not with the team during spring practice, either, so that he could focus on his academics.

Carter’s incident is the latest in a series of arrests of TCU football players on drug-related charges.

In February, wide receiver LaDarius Brown, who tied for the team-lead in receptions last season, was kicked off the team after being arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession.

In February 2012, four TCU football players were arrested in a drug sting and dismissed from the team. TCU has not yet commented on Carter’s arrest.

Mara: Expanded playoffs will wait

ESPN.com news services

Although NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t shut the door on the possibility of expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams for the 2014 season, New York Giants president John Mara believes the league has all but tabled the idea for this season.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen this year,” Mara told Newsday on Tuesday. “I think it’s kind of late. We have a May [20 owners] meeting [in Atlanta], but I sense that we’ll wait a year before we do that. It hasn’t been voted on yet.”

Mara, who is part of the NFL’s competition committee, told Newsday that while he’s optimistic that the proposal will “pass at some point,” he just can’t see it happening for the upcoming season.

“[The league] would notify us in advance, but I’m thinking it’s probably not going to happen for another year or so,” Mara said.

At the NFL owners meetings in March, Goodell said that expanding the playoff field for the upcoming season was not the goal, as there was still more work to do, but he added that “it’s not out of the question” and that he “wouldn’t rule it out.”

The competition committee has supported the idea of expanding the postseason field from 12 to 14 teams — seven in each conference — for the past two years.

“I think there’s a tremendous amount of interest in this, possibly even to the point of support, but we want to make sure we do it right,” Goodell said in March. “We’ve been very incremental when trying to do this. But we believed it could make our races toward the end of the season even more exciting, [with] more teams vying for playoff positions, which is great for our fans.”

Matt Harrison to start Sunday

By Eric Gilmore | Special to ESPNDallas.com

OAKLAND, Calif. — Texas Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison’s long wait will finally end Sunday at Seattle.

Harrison will come off the disabled list and make his first start in over a year in the finale of the Rangers’ three-game series against the Seattle Mariners, manager Ron Washington said Wednesday.

“I’m excited to finally get back here,” Harrison said. “The way it went last year, I didn’t think I’d ever pitch again.”

Harrison hasn’t made a big-league start appearance since April 6, 2013. He underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back on April 23 and, eight days later, had surgery on a different part of the disk.

He made three rehab starts in July and August, but was shut down for the 2013 season after experiencing numbness in his left hand during the third rehab start. He had surgery yet again on Sept. 9, this time on his right shoulder because of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

“It means a lot,” Harrison said of his return. “A lot of hard work. A lot of people along the way helped me to get where I am.”

Washington said he initially planned to have Harrison start Friday at Seattle, but he juggled his rotation to make sure that neither Harrison nor right-hander Colby Lewis would have to pitch when the Rangers play two interleague games at Colorado on May 5 and 6.

Lewis, who had season-ending hip surgery last year on Aug. 22, made his first start of the 2014 season on April 14.

“Don’t want them hitting, so we had to adjust,” Washington said.

Left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. will start Friday night against Seattle, and Lewis will start Saturday’s game against the Mariners. When the Mariners return home for a three-game series against Oakland, Yu Darvish will start on Monday, Martin Perez on Tuesday and Ross on Wednesday.

Harrison threw bullpen sessions Monday and Tuesday and plans to throw again on Friday.

“Everything is good,” Washington said. “Mind is in the right place. Ready to compete.”

Harrison went 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA in 2012. He was the Rangers’ Opening Day starter in 2013 but made only two starts that season.

Bucs considering Johnny Manziel

ESPN.com news services

Johnny Manziel is on the short list of players the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are considering with their first-round pick in next month’s NFL draft, a league source told ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure.

Manziel is one of at least four quarterbacks the Bucs have hosted for pre-draft visits. The source did not disclose how short the team’s list is for its first pick.

The Bucs hold the seventh overall selection and might have to trade up to land Manziel, the former Texas A&M star. Manziel recently was tabbed as the No. 4 overall pick to the Cleveland Browns in ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper’s latest mock.

Manziel is viewed as a likely first-round pick by many draft experts, and the Bucs aren’t loaded at quarterback.

Tampa Bay signed veteran Josh McCown in the offseason and has Mike Glennon, who started 13 games last season. The Bucs have opened minicamp with McCown taking the first-team repetitions at quarterback, while Glennon has been working with the second team.

McCown played for new Bucs coach Lovie Smith in Chicago. Upon signing McCown, Smith said it still was possible the Bucs could use their first pick on a quarterback.

ESPN.com Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinskas contributed to this report.