Indians outfielder had health scare

Wire Reports

FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Indians' Leonys Martin celebrates his run against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis. Martin feels blessed to be alive after recovering from a life-threatening bacterial infection last summer. He spoke to the media Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, for the first time since the health scare. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Indians' Leonys Martin celebrates his run against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis. Martin feels blessed to be alive after recovering from a life-threatening bacterial infection last summer. He spoke to the media Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, for the first time since the health scare. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)

Martin feels blessed to be alive


Associated Press

Friday, January 11

CLEVELAND (AP) — Leonys Martin feels blessed to be alive after recovering from a life-threatening bacterial infection last summer.

The Cleveland Indians outfielder spoke to the media Friday for the first time since the health scare. He thanked the doctors and staff at Cleveland Clinic, where he spent nearly two weeks after being rushed to the hospital following an Aug. 7 game.

“They saved my life,” he said.

The 30-year-old Martin said various thoughts have passed through his mind over the last several months.

“The most important thing is I’m able to see my family, my kids and play baseball again,” he said.

Martin said he might have blacked out and can’t recall details of what happened the night he became ill after returning home from a game at Progressive Field.

“I still have no idea,” he said. “The only thing I remember is feeling pain. I don’t know where. I don’t remember anything else.”

Martin isn’t sure how got to the hospital and said he didn’t fully understand what happened until he talked to the doctors after he got out of intensive care a couple of days later.

Doctors determined that a bacterial infection had entered his bloodstream and released toxins that damaged his internal organs and compromised their functions. Martin said doctors have been unable to pinpoint what caused the infection.

Martin’s family came to Cleveland and spent time with him. His teammates printed his initials and number (“LM13”) on their hats the rest of the season.

“That was really emotional for me to watch the game and see the support from my teammates and the fans,” he said. “I’ll never forget that.”

Martin was given clearance to resume baseball activities in November. He has no restrictions on strength and conditioning as spring training begins next month.

“It’s been a long recovery,” he said. “The doctors, we’ve been through everything like baby steps, taking it slow. I’m in good shape right now. I feel 100 percent.”

Martin was acquired from Detroit for minor league infielder Willi Castro on July 31 to give the Indians help in their outfield, but he appeared in only six games, going 5 for 15.

Martin is the Indians’ most experienced outfielder with camp about to begin. All-Star Michael Brantley signed with Houston and it’s unclear what the opening day outfield will look like in Minnesota on March 28.

Martin realizes it will be an emotional experience when he gets back on the field and isn’t sure how he’ll react.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I will do my best to be under control. I’m going to enjoy every time I’m in a Cleveland Indians uniform.”

NOTES: The Indians claimed RHP A.J. Cole from the New York Yankees. The 27-year-old Cole began last season in the Washington rotation, was hit hard in his first start and sent to the Yankees in late April for cash. He finished 4-2 with a 6.14 ERA last year, including 3-1 with a 4.26 ERA in 28 relief appearances for New York.

More AP MLB: and

Nadal: Murray will be a big loss, but the game goes on


AP Sports Writer

Saturday, January 12

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal knew it was inevitable that sooner or later the Big Four would become the Big Three.

That Andy Murray is the first of the long-time leading four in men’s tennis to signal the end of his career is something Nadal has to keep in perspective.

The No. 2-ranked Nadal enters the Australian Open as a legitimate title contender along with No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 3-ranked Roger Federer, both six-time champions at Melbourne Park. Nadal is 32. Djokovic turns 32 in May, a week or so after Murray. Federer is 37.

Five-time finalist Murray plans to start the tournament in Australia, but he has conceded it could be his last after 20 months of struggling to overcome a long-time injury. The severe pain from his surgically repaired right hip is restricting his movement and he has already flagged he’ll retire after Wimbledon — if he can keep playing that long.

Murray practiced on Saturday at Melbourne Park not long before Nadal appeared at a news conference to talk about his health after three months out of competitive tennis and his prospects at the Australian Open, the only one of the four Grand Slam tournaments that he hasn’t won at least twice.

“Yeah, of course is very bad news,” Nadal said of Murray’s tearful news conference the previous day. “Will be a very important loss for us, for the world of tennis, for the tour, for the fans, even for the rivals that he have been part of a great rivalry between the best players for a long time, and a great competitor.

“But being honest, when somebody like him, that he achieved almost everything in his tennis career, is suffering like he’s doing for such a long time already … probably he does the right thing for his mental health.”

Nadal has missed long periods of tennis because of injuries throughout his career, still managing to amass 17 major titles, but has never contemplated a date for retirement.

“I didn’t arrive to that point. I am a positive guy. I always had the feeling that we’ll fix it,” he said. “But, of course, there is periods of time that you don’t see the light. Is tough.”

Federer has credited improvements in travel, in nutrition and in life balance for giving modern tennis players the ability to extend their careers well into their 30s. He was 35 and coming off a long injury layoff when he revived his career with an Australian Open title in 2017. He successfully defended the title last year, his 20th major.

Nadal’s plan for longevity revolves around playing fewer tournaments and resting whenever he has persistent injuries. That became less of an option for Murray, who is contemplating further surgery just to cut down on the pain he feels when he’s doing such simple things as putting on his shoes and socks.

“Seems like he had not very long career because today players are playing that long. But he’s 31 — 10 years ago, if he retired at 31, we will say he had a great and very long career,” Nadal said. “We will miss him. But today is him. Tomorrow another one. We are not 20 anymore. Our generation, everyone is more than 30s.”

The Big Four have dominated the men’s circuit for more than a decade and shared around the major titles with few exceptions, such as Stan Wawrinka’s wins at the 2014 Australian Open, the 2015 French and the 2016 U.S Open, and Marin Cilic’s victory at the 2014 U.S. Open.

There’s a crop of other players coming through, including No. 4-ranked Sasha Zverev, but much of the attention in the first the couple of days at Melbourne Park will be on Nadal, Murray and Djokovic — who went through juniors together — and Federer.

Nadal will open against Australian James Duckworth in the second match Monday on Rod Laver Arena. Federer has a night match against Denis Istomin on the same center court.

Murray is scheduled to play No. 22-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday at Melbourne Arena, the third of the show courts. Djokovic is on the other side of the draw and will start on Day 2.

Nadal recalled a younger Murray — “a little bit a bad boy” — in the under-13s and 14s, but was full of praise for how his Scottish friend had evolved.

“At the end of the day you appreciate a lot your rivals because you shared lot of important moments in our lives,” he said. “I always had good relationship with him. We shared courts in the most important stadiums in the world, competing for the most important things. That’s impossible to forget.”

More AP Tennis: and

UPDATE: On bad hip, Andy Murray out in 1st round of Australian Open


AP Tennis Writer

Monday, January 14

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — If this was it for Andy Murray, if this truly was it, he gave himself — and an appreciative, raucous crowd that included his mother and brother — quite a gutsy goodbye, the type of never-give-in performance he’s famous for.

What Murray could not quite do Monday at the Australian Open was finish off a stirring comeback and prolong what might just be the final tournament of his career.

Playing on a surgically repaired right hip so painful that pulling on socks is a chore, he summoned the strength and strokes to erase a big deficit and force a fifth set before eventually succumbing to 22nd-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-2, Murray’s first opening-round loss at a Grand Slam tournament in 11 years.

“If today was my last match, look, it was a brilliant way to finish,” Murray said. “I literally gave everything that I had on the court, fought as best as I could, and performed a lot better than what I should have done with the amount I’ve been able to practice and train.”

Murray, just 31, is a year removed from his operation, and he said that he will decide in the next week or so whether to have a second one. If opts to avoid another procedure, he might be able to play in July at Wimbledon, where he won two of his three major titles, including the first for a British man in 77 years. If he decides for further surgery, then Monday’s match might have been his last.

Even with a hitch in his gait, even as he leaned forward to rest his hands on his knees between points, Murray summoned the strength and the strokes to push the match beyond the 4-hour mark.

And the fans tried to will him past Bautista Agut, who had lost in straight sets all three previous matches the two men had played.

They roared when Murray managed to break back to 2-all on the way to taking the third set, with his mom, Judy, smiling widely as she stood alongside other spectators.

They chanted his name when he grabbed the fourth set.

They rose when the compelling contest ended.

“Andy deserves this atmosphere. Andy deserves (that) all the people came to watch him,” Bautista Agut said. “He’s a tough, tough fighter. A tough opponent. He gives everything until the last point. I want to congratulate him for all he did for tennis.”

Afterward, a video was shown in the stadium with tributes to Murray from various players, including rivals Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, along with Nick Kyrgios, Caroline Wozniacki, Karolina Pliskova and Sloane Stephens.

“Amazing career. Congratulations, buddy,” Federer said. “I’m your biggest fan.”

Federer opened his bid for a third consecutive Australian Open championship, and record seventh overall, with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Denis Istomin at Rod Laver Arena. Nadal, whose 17 career majors are second among men only to Federer’s 20, overpowered Australian wild-card entry James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5 earlier.

Nadal, who had surgery on his right ankle in November, hadn’t competed since stopping during his U.S. Open semifinal in September because of a bad knee.

“It’s very difficult to start (again) after an injury,” Nadal said. “I know it very well.”

Other major title winners who advanced on Day 1, when the temperature approached 90 degrees (33 Celsius), included defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Sharapova — who beat Harriet Dart 6-0, 6-0 — Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens and Petra Kvitova.

The highest-seeded player to exit was No. 9 John Isner, who hit 47 aces but lost 7-6 (4), 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) against 97th-ranked Reilly Opelka in an all-American match.

The most attention, though, was drawn by Murray, who is as popular for his success on the court as his attitude away from it.

The stands were dotted with British and Scottish flags and with signs of support. When Bautista Agut entered, he was greeted by a smattering of polite applause. When Murray was introduced, there were full-throated screams, followed by chants of his first name.

As play began, Murray delighted his well-wishers every so often with terrific shots on a full sprint and his trademark, quick-reflex returns. When he flubbed a shot or otherwise let a point slide by, Murray displayed the muttering and leg-slapping self-contempt the world has come to know and expect — and, let’s face it, love — from the guy.

For all that Murray accomplished over the years, including reaching No. 1 in the rankings and a pair of Olympic singles gold medals, he never was able to leave Melbourne with the trophy, finishing as the runner-up five times.

When Murray eventually succumbed to his weariness — not to mention Bautista Agut — the arena speakers blared Queen’s “We are the Champions,” with its fitting line: “And we’ll keep on fighting ‘til the end.”

If this was, indeed, the end, Murray did just that.

“I’d be OK,” he said, “with that being my last match.”

More AP Tennis: and

AP Source: A’s, MLB meet with Heisman Trophy winner Murray


AP Baseball Writer

Monday, January 14

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Representatives of the Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball met Sunday with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, a day before the Oklahoma quarterback’s deadline to enter the NFL draft, a person with direct knowledge of the session said.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because the meeting was not made public. Oakland executives remained confident as recently as the baseball winter meetings last month in Las Vegas that Murray would report to spring training this year and pursue baseball. MLB joined the efforts to persuade the dual-sport star, sending someone from its marketing group to the meeting, the source said.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Murray’s Sooners lost in a college football playoff semifinal Dec. 29 to eventual runner-up Alabama.

Drafted last June in the first round as the ninth overall pick, the outfielder signed with Oakland for $4.66 million. There was an agreement between the team and Murray that he would play football this year, then skip his senior season to begin his pro baseball career — and A’s manager Bob Melvin as well as executive Billy Beane and general manager David Forst closely followed Oklahoma football in 2018.

“I can’t put it into words. Just thankful,” Murray said after the draft. “That’s a huge deal, the organization letting me do that.”

Murray showed off his skills taking batting practice at the Coliseum in an A’s uniform back in June, greeted by “WELCOME TO OAKLAND” on the big scoreboard with his photo. Beane joked with super agent Scott Boras — who represents Murray — about the prized prospect committing to 15 years with the A’s, who reached the playoffs for the first time since 2014 before losing the AL wild-card game to the Yankees and the franchise is preparing to build a new ballpark near the popular Jack London Square neighborhood of the city.

This past season for the Sooners, he completed 260 of 377 passes for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns with seven interceptions and a passer rating of 199.2. He also rushed for 1,001 yards and 12 TDs.

“We’re big Oklahoma fans right now for sure,” Melvin said at the winter meetings. “It’s kind of tough to watch them scramble around a little bit sometimes, but it’s exciting.”

More AP MLB: and

Samuelson reaches 2,000 points as UConn beats South Florida


AP Sports Writer

Sunday, January 13

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn coach Geno Auriemma sent a message to his starters on Sunday, pulling the entire group 4 ½ minutes into what was expected to be an easy win over an injury-depleted South Florida team.

The third-ranked Huskies, who trailed by as many as eight points in the first half, eventually shook off their sluggish start to beat the Bulls 63-46.

“I’ve got a very immature team, I think,” Auriemma said. “That shows up in the inconsistency some times.”

Katie Lou Samuelson scored 19 points to become the 10th UConn player ever to reach the 2,000-point milestone. Megan Walker added 14 points and Napheesa Collier had 12 for the Huskies (14-1, 3-0 American), who have never suffered a conference loss in the AAC.

Enna Pehadzic had 17 points and 12 rebounds for USF (10-7, 1-2), which led for most of the first half and trailed by just six points at the half. Tamara Henshaw added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

USF was leading 6-4 when Auriemma sat all the starters at once, resulting in an audible gasp and then applause from the crowd.

The Bulls proceeded to build their lead to 14-6, after a 3-pointer Pehadzic.

“We’ve come up here with much more talented teams and didn’t rebound and defend as well,” said USF coach Jose Fernandez, whose team outrebounded UConn 42-26. “It’s great to get a lot of our younger kids some time. We just right now don’t have enough guys that can put the ball in the basket.”

UConn’s starters returned in the second quarter. The Huskies retook the lead at 20-18 on a layup by Walker and never trailed again.

A third-quarter steal by Christyn Williams led to a fast-break layup from Samuelson, which put her over 2,000 points and gave UConn a 44-24 lead.

“We knew that we were going to get another chance at some point during the game to kind of fix what we started and that’s what we did when we got back in there,” Samuelson said.

USF is 0-27 against UConn, going back to when both teams were in the Big East. The Bulls are far from alone. UConn is 104-0 against the rest of the American Athletic Conference since its formation in 2013, including 89-0 in the regular season.


The Bulls, who have lost three players for the season with injuries, dressed just eight players for the game. Senior Laura Ferreira, who had been scoring just under 16 points, missed her second straight game and is listed as out indefinitely with an undisclosed illness. Fernandez declined to give any update on her status after the game.

UConn: Samuelson joined Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Tina Charles, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Nykesha Sales, Kerry Bascom, Diana Taurasi, Kara Wolters and Rebecca Lobo in the 2,000-point club.


With Williams struggling (no points, 0-for-2 from the floor), UConn junior guard Molly Bent played a career-high 21 minutes on Sunday. That’s almost three times her career average. She scored six points, hitting both her 3-point attempts and added 3 assists and two steals. Auriemma called her effort the best part of the game.

“I don’t have the talent that some of these other guys have,” Bent said. “Today, to be able to knock in a couple of shots, to make a couple of hustle plays, I didn’t make as many as I should have, but it’s a lot of fun getting that opportunity.”


Auriemma made it clear he was not happy with his team’s effort:

“It’s gotten to the point where coaching, you just make suggestions, you can’t tell people what you want them to do,” he said. “You make a suggestion and if they want to do it they do it. If they don’t, they don’t. So, I suggested that they sit down. So, we’re even, one-to-one.”


USF: The Bulls are off until Saturday, when they host Tulane

UConn’s next opponent also is Tulane. UConn will play the Green Wave on the road Wednesday night.

More AP college basketball: and

FILE – In this Aug. 1, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Indians’ Leonys Martin celebrates his run against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis. Martin feels blessed to be alive after recovering from a life-threatening bacterial infection last summer. He spoke to the media Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, for the first time since the health scare. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File) – In this Aug. 1, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Indians’ Leonys Martin celebrates his run against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis. Martin feels blessed to be alive after recovering from a life-threatening bacterial infection last summer. He spoke to the media Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, for the first time since the health scare. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)

Wire Reports