August 15, 2013

(AP) — Manny Ramirez is a free agent again after the Texas Rangers released him from his minor league contract.

The Rangers released Ramirez on Tuesday, just more than five weeks after he started playing for Triple-A Round Rock.

“Based on our evaluation, there was not a spot for Manny on the club at this time,” Rangers general Jon Daniels said. “We released him so he could pursue other opportunities if he so chooses.”

The 41-year-old Ramirez hit .259 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 30 games for Triple-A Round Rock. All of his homers came in the first eight games.

Ramirez never played for the AL West leaders, even after All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz was suspended last week by Major League Baseball for the final 50 games of the season. They have since acquired right fielder Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox.

A 12-time All-Star, Ramirez is a .312 career hitter and is 14th on the career home runs list with 555. He started out this season playing in Taiwan, where he hit .352 with eight homers and 43 RBIs.

Ramirez was suspended for 50 games in 2009 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers after testing positive for a banned drug. He retired in April 2011 instead of serving a 100-game ban for a second positive test while with Tampa Bay, but later agreed to a reduced 50-game suspension and played in the minors for Oakland in 2012. He won two World Series with Boston.

Ramirez hit 17 homers in the final 53 games of 2008 after being traded from Boston to Los Angeles, but he has just 28 since then because of injuries and the suspensions. He was 1 for 17 without a homer with Tampa when the second drug suspension hit two years ago.

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August 15, 2013

(AP) – The Montreal Alouettes signed quarterback Troy Smith to a two-year deal Wednesday.

The 29-year-old Smith won the Heisman Trophy with Ohio State in 2006, leading the Buckeyes to a spot in the BCS national championship game. Smith spent three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, and was with the San Francisco 49ers in 2010. He played for Omaha in the UFL in 2011.

“We’ve been in discussions for well over three months and have been patiently waiting for Troy to finish his commitments at Ohio State,” Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said. “We’ll have to fast track Troy in order to get him over the learning curve of the CFL and caught up to speed over the next several weeks.

“He’s here to learn and grasp the game for future competition.”

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August 15, 2013

By ANNE M. PETERSON

AP Sports Writer

 

Goodbye, Rose Garden. Hello, Moda Center.

The Portland Trail Blazers announced a 10-year agreement with insurance provider Moda Health on Tuesday to rename the Rose Garden.

Blazers President Chris McGowan said a new logo should be unveiled within about a month, and the team hopes much of the new signage will be up by the season's home opener on Nov. 2 against San Antonio.

At the request of team owner Paul Allen, the new logo will incorporate a rose as a tribute to the fans and the city. Allen originally named the arena the Rose Garden.

''The Rose Garden is not going away. It's going to be a part of our history and heritage,'' McGowan said. ''The Moda Center is going to take us into the future.''

Moda Health, founded in 1955 and based in Portland, offers medical, dental, pharmacy and vision plans to 2 million members in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Formerly known as ODS, the company changed its name in May.

Williams Johnson, president of Moda Health, would not disclose terms of the deal. The partnership also will include other enhancements to the Rose Quarter district.

In April, Allen told reporters he was ''attached' to the Rose Garden, which was opened in 1995. The building is owned by Allen's company, Vulcan Inc.

''I understand people's investments in a particular name. I tried to pick a name, the Rose Garden, that was something like the Boston Garden or Madison Square Garden, there was something in those names that appealed to me as having some permanence,'' he said at the time. ''We'll see what happens.''

Asked what he would tell fans similarly attached to the Rose Garden name, McGowan said: ''Hopefully, they'll understand that this is what organizations do to go to another level.''

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August 15, 2013

(AP) -- Forward Elias Harris has agreed to a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers announced the deal Wednesday.

Harris spent the past four years at Gonzaga, averaging 14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds last season while earning all-conference honors for the second time.

After going undrafted, Harris was a versatile contributor for the Lakers during summer league play in Las Vegas last month. He averaged 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds while starting five games.

The 6-foot-8 Harris is from Speyer, a city in southwest Germany. He played for the German national team in the 2010 world championships and the 2009 European championships.

Lakers center Chris Kaman also has played for the German national team.

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August 08, 2013

(AP) Minnesota Timberwolves Presi­dent Flip Saunders says the team “fully supports” the decision to send first-round draft Shabazz Muhammad home from the NBA's rookie transition program due to a rules violation.

Muhammad was sent home after bringing a female visitor to his hotel room Tuesday night. Players are required to get approval for guests from program officials. Muhammad also will be fined for the infraction, which was first reported by USA Today. He will have to go through the program again next summer.

Muhammad was chosen 14th overall by the Timberwolves in June after one season at UCLA.

The rookie transition program is a four-day seminar that is held to help teach young players about making the jump from college, or overseas, to the NBA.

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