Reports: Jets DT Ellis agrees to plea (Yahoo! Sports)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) New York Jets defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis reportedly has reached a plea agreement in a Virginia court that will reduce a felony charge to a misdemeanor. Multiple reports Thursday say Ellis will plead guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery, citing comments from attorney S. Howard Woodson, who represents the victim, Dennis Eley. Woodson said Eley likely will pursue a civil lawsuit, which he was originally filed for $3 million, then withdrawn. The incident took place in April 2010 while Ellis was attending Hampton University. The Jets selected him in the third round of the 2011 draft.
Hamilton hits 4 HRs as Rangers beat Orioles 10-3 (Yahoo! Sports)
BALTIMORE (AP) Moments before he made history with his final swing in an incredible four-homer performance, Josh Hamilton stepped to the plate in the eighth inning with a surprising sense of calm. The Texas Rangers slugger had never before hit more than two home runs in a game, and he already had three. So as he took his place in the batter’s box against Baltimore right-hander Darren O’Day, Hamilton already had a feeling of accomplishment. ”I just went up like it was any other at-bat because if I don’t hit one,” Hamilton reasoned, ”I’ve still had a really good night.” It turned out to be unforgettable. Hamilton became the 16th player to hit four home runs in a game, launching a quartet of two-run drives against three different pitchers to carry the Rangers to a 10-3 victory Tuesday. Hamilton homered off Jake Arrieta in the first and third innings, added another off Zach Phillips in the seventh and topped it off with a one-for-the-books shot against O’Day. During the last at-bat, Hamilton took a mighty hack and missed, lined a foul into right-field seats and then sent an 0-2 pitch over the center-field wall. ”Obviously it’s, other than being in the World Series, the highlight of my big-league career,” Hamilton said. ”I was saying after I hit two I’ve never hit three in a game before, and what a blessing that was. Then to hit four is just an awesome feeling, to see how excited my teammates got. ”It reminds you of when you’re in Little League and a little kid, and just the excitement and why we play the game. Things like that. You never know what can happen. It was just an absolute blessing.” Hamilton also doubled in the fifth inning. His 18 total bases is a new single-game American League record, and his eight RBIs are a career high. ”Amazing,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ”Josh came out tonight, and he wasn’t going to be denied.” The last player to hit four home runs in a game was Carlos Delgado on Sept. 25, 2003, for Toronto against Tampa Bay. Two of the 16 players to hit four homers in a game did it before 1900. ”History was witnessed tonight,” Washington said. ”It’s like anything else – you do something good or something incredible happens, it takes a little bit for it to sink in,” Hamilton said. ”I think when I get away from everybody and I have some time to myself, I think it might then.” Hamilton is the sixth AL player to perform the feat. The last to hit four homers in a game against the Orioles was Rocky Colavito in 1959, at old Memorial Stadium. ”He’s the best athlete in baseball,” teammate Nelson Cruz said of Hamilton. ”If anybody can do it, he can do it.” Elvis Andrus got on base ahead of Hamilton in each instance, said, ”He kept hitting bombs and bombs. It feels really good because I don’t have to run that hard to score.” Hamilton, who is in the final year of his contract and could become a free agent after this season, leads the AL with 14 homers and 36 RBIs, and his 5-for-5 effort raised his batting average to .406. He also set the Texas single-game club record with five extra-base hits, breaking the mark of four held by eight players. Hamilton has homered in five of his last six at-bats, counting his final trip to the plate Monday night. Hamilton’s record-setting night is the latest accomplishment in a career that almost never was. He went from first round draft pick in 1999 by Tampa Bay to out of baseball all together because of drug and alcohol addiction. He recovered and returned to the majors in 2007 with Cincinnati, and was traded to the Texas, where he has become a star – the AL MVP in 2010 – while still battling his addiction. He had a relapse before this season, but is off to a torrid start. ”Understanding that what I’m doing and what God’s allowed me to do coming back from everything I went through and allowing me to play the game at the level I play it, it’s pretty amazing to think about,” Hamilton said. Adrian Beltre also homered for the Rangers. Coming off a 14-3 win in the series opener, Texas has won two straight for the first time since April 24-25 and are 20-10, their best-ever record after 30 games. Dating back to last season, Texas has won seven in a row over Baltimore by a combined 70-18 score. Rangers starter Neftali Feliz (2-1) gave up one run on four hits and had a career-high eight strikeouts. Converted to starter after notching 72 saves over the previous two seasons, Feliz had a 2-0 lead to protect before throwing his first pitch and maintained the advantage – just like when he was closer. The Orioles entered the series with the best record in the majors after a 5-1 trip through Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, but they have looked more like a team with 14 straight losing seasons in these two games against the two-time defending AL champions. Arrieta (2-3) allowed six runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings. He yielded a career-high three homers, matching the total he surrendered in his first six starts this season. His most notable flaw was his inability to keep Hamilton from hitting the ball out of the park. ”It was the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that. Very special hitter,” Arrieta said on Hamilton. ”He didn’t miss tonight.” J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis hit consecutive solo homers for Baltimore in the eighth, long after the outcome had been decided. The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Andrus drew a one-out walk and Hamilton hit Arrieta’s next pitch over the center-field wall. It was more of the same in the third, and then some. After Andrus reached on a chopper off the plate, Hamilton lined an opposite-field drive into the left-field seats. Beltre followed with this sixth home run, the fourth time in 30 games that Texas has homered in successive at-bats. Andrus singled in the seventh before Hamilton sent a drive over the center-field wall against Phillips, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game. After that, the only suspense was whether Hamilton would get another at-bat. He did, and made it count. NOTES: Andrus has reached base in 26 straight games. He is 16 for 33 on the road trip. … Despite Baltimore’s surprising start, the game drew a meager crowd of 11,263. … Baltimore’s Chris Davis singled in the eighth to snap an 0-for-14 skid.
Simon reaches final in Bucharest (Yahoo! Sports)
BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) Top-seeded Gilles Simon beat Matthias Bachinger of Germany 7-5, 6-2 on Saturday to advance to the final of the Nastase Tiriac Trophy. The Frenchman, who won the tournament in 2007 and ’08, clinched his fourth ATP World Tour semifinal victory this season. He’ll play Fabio Fognini, who defeated Attila Balazs 6-3, 6-1.
Spurs rout Lakers, improve spot atop West (Yahoo! Sports)
LOS ANGELES (AP) While last week’s blowout loss to the Lakers still stings the San Antonio Spurs, they found a way to feel better while moving into prime position to win the West. Tony Parker had 29 points and 13 assists, Tim Duncan had 19 points and eight rebounds, and the Spurs handed Los Angeles its worst loss of the season, 112-91 on Tuesday night. Just six days after the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers jumped to a 26-point lead during a comfortable victory at San Antonio, the Spurs answered by scoring 18 consecutive points during an impressive second-quarter spree. The Spurs snapped Los Angeles’ four-game winning streak while dominating a meeting of division leaders – albeit with Bryant sitting out his sixth straight game to rest his bruised shin. ”It went just as well for us as it went for them in San Antonio,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ”The Lakers had the kind of night we had back home when they destroyed us. So we had a good night, and we still caught a break: I looked hard, but I didn’t see Kobe anywhere. I think that helped us a little bit.” Manu Ginobili scored 15 points as the Spurs (44-16) improved their position atop the Western Conference with their fourth straight win, moving a half-game clear of Oklahoma City (44-17) for the No. 1 playoff seed. Popovich didn’t sit his stars in the second game of a three-in-three-nights stretch, with Duncan playing 35 minutes and Parker 30. ”After the last meeting, this game had a little more to it,” Duncan said. ”We love our position (in the West), obviously. We hope to hold on to it. We’re facing a tough schedule, but we’re feeling good, and we’re staying healthy.” San Antonio, which had lost three straight to the Lakers, stretched its lead to 23 points in the third quarter – making 30 of 43 shots in the middle quarters – and hung on comfortably for its 15th win in 17 games. Parker particularly decimated Los Angeles’ defense, going 14 of 20 against point guards Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake. ”I think it was very motivated,” Parker said. ”We weren’t happy with our performance (last week), and we wanted to get it back from them. Everybody knew it. Pop didn’t bring it up and we didn’t talk about it. Personally, I think it was one of my worst games, so I wanted to do better.” The two perennial West powers will meet yet again for a rubber match Friday in San Antonio. Andrew Bynum had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers, whose Pacific Division lead over the Clippers dwindled to a half-game, although the Lakers hold the tiebreaker. Matt Barnes and Pau Gasol scored 16 points apiece, but with Bryant watching from the bench in a sharp suit, Los Angeles couldn’t match the depth of the Spurs, who got at least four points from 10 players. ”We’ve been doing pretty well with and without (Bryant),” Gasol said. ”We just had a bad stretch at the end of the second quarter, and we paid a huge price.” Bryant’s absence had inspired strong performances from the Lakers over the past week, but the Spurs had little trouble with Los Angeles’ reconfigured lineup. San Antonio took control with a 24-4 run in the second quarter, blowing open a tight game with opportunistic defense and relentless fast breaks. Six players scored during the 18-0 portion of the run, with Danny Green hitting consecutive 3-pointers along the way. The Lakers committed seven turnovers in the second quarter, while the Spurs made 17 of 24 shots to take a 63-47 halftime lead. ”The tempo was in their favor,” Lakers coach Mike Brown said. ”They sped us up, and we did not look like we had – nor did we try – to get control of the game. We got out of character a bit of the way we’ve been playing lately. You have to give the Spurs credit.” Although Bryant says he would be healthy enough to play if the Lakers were in the playoffs now, Brown said Bryant is unlikely to play Wednesday at Golden State. The NBA scoring leader already has played through several lesser injuries this season, and Brown seems content to allow Bryant to heal for the postseason, even if his absence costs the Lakers a spot in playoff seeding. Popovich agreed with his former assistant’s strategy, saying he would choose health over playoff position. Popovich has rested his veteran core down the stretch, but everybody was active against the Lakers – and everybody contributed to a blowout win. NOTES: The Spurs have 19 road wins, matching Oklahoma City for the most in the West. Chicago leads the NBA with 22. … Devin Ebanks had nine points in his 10th start of the season for Los Angeles, his sixth straight in Bryant’s place. The second-year pro has played in just 20 games this season. … Fans near courtside included Denzel Washington, Charlize Theron, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, Salma Hayek, Kat Dennings and former Angels 3B Doug DeCinces.
Florida defensive standout Ronald Powell tears ACL (Yahoo! Sports)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida star linebacker Ronald Powell could miss the season after tearing a ligament in his left knee. Coach Will Muschamp announced the extent of Powell’s injury Monday. The junior pass-rushing specialist was injured in Saturday’s spring game. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Powell was originally thought to have a sprain but further tests showed that he tore his anterior cruciate ligament. He needs surgery and will require at least four to six months of recovery and rehabilitation. Powell, a junior, led the Gators with six sacks last season and nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Muschamp says Powell ”has already started with prehab, and once the swelling goes down and he regains his range of motion, he will have the surgery.” .