In Brief | Nation and World


Blue Jays’ Johnson scratched from start

NEW YORK — The Toronto Blue Jays scratched Josh Johnson from his start against the New York Yankees on Friday night because of right triceps tightness, and the team hopes the precautionary move will keep him from missing any further outings.

Verlander expected to make next start

DETROIT — Detroit ace Justin Verlander is expected to make his next start despite a blister on his pitching thumb that caused him to leave Thursday’s game.

Tigers trainer Kevin Rand says Verlander’s blister is something the right-hander has had to deal with in the past as well, but it doesn’t look as if he’ll miss any more time.

Bengals reach deal with RT Andre Smith

CINCINNATI — The Bengals reached agreement with right tackle Andre Smith on a new contract Friday night, the final step toward bringing back their offense intact from last season.

Smith had been an unrestricted free agent. He says the team changed its offer, and he decided it was time to make a decision. He accepted a three-year deal.

Kenseth wins pole at Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. — Matt Kenseth didn’t wait long to get his pole award back.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver stripped of his pole award from last week at Kansas in a raft of penalties levied by NASCAR this week, set a track record with a lap at 130.334 mph Friday at Richmond International Raceway.

Jockey Calvin Borel elected to Hall of Fame

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel and horses Housebuster, Invasor, Lure, McDynamo and Tuscalee have been elected to the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.

Borel, Housebuster, Invasor and Lure were selected in the contemporary category, and McDynamo and Tuscalee were chosen by the Museum’s Steeplechase Review Committee, the Hall of Fame said Friday. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 9 at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion.

Nadal wins twice in Barcelona

BARCELONA, Spain — Seven-time winner Rafael Nadal won back-to-back matches to advance to the semifinals of the Barcelona Open on Friday.

After rain forced several third-round matches to be pushed back, Nadal started the day by beating Benoit Paire of France 7-6 (2), 6-2. The fifth-ranked Spaniard then defeated Albert Ramos 6-3, 6-0 after his overmatched opponent had downed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 7-6 (4) earlier in the day.

He will face Milos Raonic today after the Canadian outlasted Tommy Robredo 6-7 (5), 6-3, 7-6 (2). Fourth-seeded Nicolas Almagro will play Philipp Kohlschreiber in the other semifinal.

Sharapova edges Ivanovic at Stuttgart

STUTTGART, Germany — Top-seeded Maria Sharapova got through another tough test in outlasting Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 on Friday to advance to the semifinals of the Porsche Grand Prix.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, an American qualifier, beat Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-4, 6-2, a day after upsetting fourth-seeded Sara Errani in a match that lasted past 1:30 a.m.

The American next goes against second-seeded Li Na of China, who defeated fifth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5. Li blew a 5-2 lead in the second set but won the last two games of the match, converting her third match point.

Sharapova will next play third-seeded Angelique Kerber, who defeated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-3, 7-6 (2) to reach her third semifinal of the season.

Schiavone to face Scheepers in Morocco

MARRAKECH, Morocco — Francesca Schiavone of Italy moved into the semifinals of the Grand Prix SAR by defeating third-seeded Alize Cornet of France 6-4, 6-4 on Friday.

Schiavone broke for a 4-3 lead in the first set and led 4-1 in the second before Cornet rallied to tie at 4-4. But the Frenchwoman, who saved 16 of 21 break points in the match, then dropped serve in the penultimate game.

Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, will face Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa, who routed seventh-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-1, 6-2.

Simon reaches semifinals in Bucharest

BUCHAREST, Romania — Three-time champion Gilles Simon reached the semifinals of the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy on Friday, while top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic was upset.

The second-seeded Simon extended his unbeaten streak at the clay-court tournament to 16 matches by ousting Daniel Brands of Germany 6-1, 7-5. The 10th-ranked Tipsarevic lost 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain.

Simon will meet big-serving Czech Lukas Rosol, who stopped eighth-seeded Serb Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-1.

In the other semifinal, Garcia-Lopez will meet fifth-seeded German Florian Mayer, who ousted Victor Hanescu of Romania 6-3, 7-6 (3).

UConn guard Napier to stay for senior year

STORRS, Conn. — Connecticut guard Shabazz Napier is staying for his senior season and will not enter the NBA draft.

Napier led UConn in scoring last season, averaging more than 17 points. He says in a statement Friday he wants to get his degree and play in the NCAA tournament.

UConn went 20-10 this season but was barred from the Big East and NCAA tournaments after failing to qualify academically.

The school says two other top players, sophomores Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels, also have told the coaching staff they will return next season.

Arkansas F Mickelson transfers to Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Sophomore forward Hunter Mickelson is transferring from Arkansas to Kansas, where he will sit out next season and have two years of eligibility remaining.

Mickelson was a target of the Jayhawks coming out of high school, but opted to play for the Razorbacks. The 6-foot-10 forward started 20 of the 31 games he played last season, averaging 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while leading the team with 39 blocks.

From wire sources