Thursday’s Sports Minute

Thursday’s Sports Minute

RATINGS HOMERUN:Derek Jeter's final All-Star appearance has helped boost television ratings for the game. The American League's 5-3 win Tuesday night in Minneapolis averaged more than 11.3 million viewers on Fox, up from 11 million for last year's game at the Mets' Citi Field in New York. The rating was up 9 percent for the first full half-hour, when the retiring Yankees shortstop first stepped to the plate. Photo: Associated Press

A look at the sports news making headlines today, Thursday, July 17.

Third major gets underway

The 143rd British Open is underway at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.

This is the third major of the year. Bubba Watson won the Masters back in April before Martin Kaymer won the U.S. Open last month. Each will be after his second major title of the year.

Tiger Woods and defending champ Phil Mickelson are among the other big names looking to contend this year.

Stephenson goes to Hornets…Pacers get Stuckey

The Indiana Pacers have lost their third-leading scorer and No. 2 rebounder from last season.

A person familiar with the contract says shooting guard Lance Stephenson has agreed to a three-year, $27 million deal with the Michael Jordon-led Charlotte Hornets, a package that includes a team option for the third season. Stephenson confirmed the move on Twitter.

The Pacers had offered Stephenson a five-year, $44 million contract but he chose to sign for fewer years.

Stephenson averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game for the Pacers last season.

Meanwhile, a person with knowledge of the situation tells the AP that the Pacers have agreed to terms with free agent guard Rodney Stuckey on a one-year deal to help replace Stephenson. Stuckey averaged 13.9 points last season, his seventh season with the Detroit Pistons.

Also in the NBA:

  • The Washington Wizards have announced that they’ve acquired center DeJuan Blair from the Dallas Mavericks for the rights to Emir Preldzic. Blair has appeared in 366 career regular season games over five seasons with San Antonio and Dallas, averaging 7.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder say they have signed free-agent guard Anthony Morrow, who averaged career-highs of 10.4 points and 2 1/2 rebounds for New Orleans last season. His agent said Morrow accepted a three-year, $10 million package.
  • Brandon Rush is back with the Golden State Warriors after accepting a two-year contract. Rush was Golden State’s top reserve during the 2011-12 season before tearing the ACL in his left knee in the team’s 2012-13 home opener. He was traded to Utah last summer and played just 38 games for the Jazz after returning from the knee injury.
  • A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Heat free agent James Jones will be joining LeBron James with the Cavaliers. Jones and the Cavs agreed to terms on a veteran minimum deal for $1.4 million. The 11-year veteran spent the past six years in Miami and shot a career-high 46 percent on 3-pointers in 20 games last season.
  • Orton released by Dallas

    Quarterback Kyle Orton has been released by the Dallas Cowboys. He had skipped all of the offseason workouts amid reports he might retire. The move saves Dallas about $3.25 million this season, but will cost the team about that amount on the salary cap over the next two seasons.

    Former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden takes over as Tony Romo’s backup. Weeden, Cleveland’s first-round draft pick in 2012, signed with the Cowboys in March and worked with the first team during the offseason while Romo continued his recovery from back surgery.

    Back at it

    French rider Tony Gallopin won his second race of the Tour de France as he won the 11th stage. Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali remains the overall leader. The 11th stage covered 116.3-miles and took place not far from the Swiss border. The stage featured four small- to medium-sized hills near the end.

    More viewers for midsummer classic

    Derek Jeter’s final All-Star appearance has helped boost television ratings for the game. The American League’s 5-3 win Tuesday night in Minneapolis averaged more than 11.3 million viewers on Fox, up from 11 million for last year’s game at the Mets’ Citi Field in New York. The rating was up 9 percent for the first full half-hour, when the retiring Yankees shortstop first stepped to the plate.

    Royals deal with Rangers

    The Kansas City Royals have gotten some relief help, acquiring veteran reliever Jason Frasor from the Texas Rangers for Triple-A right-hander Spencer Patton. Frasor was 1-1 with a 3.34 earned run appearance in 38 games with Texas.

    The deal took place just hours before Patton was scheduled to participate in the Triple-A All-Star game.

    Trojans, Tide to play in ’16 Cowboys Classic

    Alabama and Southern California will play in the 2016 Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas, on Labor Day weekend. The last time Alabama and USC met in the regular season was 1978, when the Crimson Tide were the AP national champions and the Trojans finished No. 1 in the UPI poll. Defending national champion Florida State plays Oklahoma State in this year’s Cowboys Classic on Aug. 30.

    Rangers ink Lombardi

    The New York Rangers have agreed to terms with free agent forward Matthew Lombardi.

    The 32-year-old Lombardi had 20 goals and 50 points in 46 games in Switzerland last season. He led the team in goals and assists, and tied for sixth in the league in goals.

    Lombardi has 101 goals and 262 points in 536 NHL games.

    Buffalo inks defenseman

    The Buffalo Sabres have re-signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a two-year contract. He was a restricted free agent after the Sabres retained his rights by making him a qualifying offer last month. Ruhwedel split last season playing for the Sabres and their American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester. Overall, he has one assist in 28 NHL games, and four goals and 24 assists in 47 AHL games.

    Pacquiao announces next fight

    Welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao will return to China for his next fight, taking on Chris Algieri Nov. 22 in the gambling enclave of Macau.

    The scheduled bout comes a year after the Filipino headlined the first big fight card there with a win over Brandon Rios. Pacquiao returns to Macau on a two-fight winning streak that began last September with his win over Rios. Before that, he had lost a disputed decision to Timothy Bradley and was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez.

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