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Sports briefs, Dec. 23, 2011

From wire reports

Valentine fills out Red Sox coaching staff

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox have hired Bob McClure as pitching coach and moved Tim Bogar to bench coach.

The Red Sox said Friday Alex Ochoa will be first base coach on manager Bobby Valentine’s staff and Jerry Royster will be the third base coach. Bogar and Ochoa both played under Valentine with the New York Mets.

Bogar is in his fourth year with the Red Sox, spending the last two as the third base coach.

McClure recently joined the Red Sox organization as a special assignment scout and instructor. He spent the previous six seasons as the pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals.

Ochoa was the hitting coach for Boston’s Class-A affiliate in Salem of the Carolina League.

Royster was most recently the manager of the Lotte Giants of the Korea Baseball Organization from 2008-10.

Ford will miss Illinois bowl game over grades

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois starting tailback Jason Ford will miss the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl because of academic problems.

School officials said Friday that Ford is academically ineligible for the bowl on New Year’s Eve against UCLA.

Interim head coach Vic Koenning said earlier this week that the Illini might be without Ford. Sophomore fullback Jay Prosch is out with a staph infection.

Illinois will have only two backs who played during the season. Troy Pollard and Donovonn Young played behind Ford and combined for 868 yards rushing.

Ford is a senior who rushed for 600 yards this season and will finish with 1,962 career rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns.

The school said seldom-used freshman wide receiver Jake Kumerow is also academically ineligible for the bowl.

Disabled fans to receive free World Cup tickets

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Former playing greats Romario and Ronaldo have announced a plan to donate 32,000 free tickets to disabled fans for matches at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Romario, a World Cup winner in 1994 who is now in the Brazilian parliament, had requested the free tickets from the organizing committee. The former Brazil striker has a daughter with Down syndrome and had tears in his eyes as he announced the giveaway Friday.

He said the decision was “a great victory.”

Romario was joined by former teammate Ronaldo. The highest scorer in World Cup history and a two-time winner, he is a member of the 2014 organizing committee.

The measure involves donating 500 tickets to disabled people for each match at the 2014 tournament.

NBA reduces suspensions for Bynum, Villanueva

NEW YORK — The NBA has reduced suspensions for the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum and the Pistons’ Charlie Villanueva by one game because of the shortened season.

The league on Friday trimmed one game off the five-game ban Bynum was given for knocking the Mavericks’ J.J. Barea to the court in the second round of last season’s playoffs. The center will now miss the first four games and be eligible to return Dec. 31 against Denver.

Villanueva was originally suspended five games for instigating an altercation with Cleveland’s Ryan Hollins and attempting to escalate it by entering the Cavaliers’ locker room. He served a game of it last season and will have to miss the first three of this season, and is also eligible to play to New Year’s Eve against Indiana.

NFL fines: Lions’ DE Avril, LB Tulloch $15K apiece

Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril and linebacker Stephen Tulloch have been fined $15,000 apiece by the NFL for horse collar tackles during last week’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Other fines announced by the league Friday include Jets’ wide receiver Santonio Holmes docked $7,500 for excessive celebration after a score in a loss to Philadelphia, and Texans linebacker Brian Cushing penalized $10,000 for hitting Carolina quarterback Cam Newton in the head and neck area.

Also, Bengals linebacker Dan Skuta was fined $20,000 for an illegal blindside block, Bengals safety Chris Crocker was fined $15,000 for roughing the passer, Raiders defensive back Jerome Boyd was docked $20,000 for an illegal blindside block and Giants linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul was fined $10,000 for an illegal hit on the quarterback.

Reds trade Wood, 2 others, to Cubs for Marshall

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds acquired left-handed reliever Sean Marshall from the Chicago Cubs on Friday for young lefty starter Travis Wood and two other players.

It was the second time in a week that the Reds gave up several prospects for pitching help. They earlier sent four players, including Edinson Volquez, to San Diego for starter Mat Latos.

The 29-year-old, 6-foot-7 Marshall was 6-6 with a 2.26 ERA last season. He had five saves. The Reds have been in talks to try to re-sign closer Francisco Cordero, who became a free agent after last season.

“Sean has been one of the best and most durable relievers in baseball the last couple of seasons,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said in a statement.

The 24-year-old Wood made 35 starts for the Reds over two seasons. He finished 6-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 2011, with a stint in Triple-A after struggling early in the year.

The Cubs also get 24-year-old outfielder Dave Sappelt, who batted .243 in 38 games with the Reds, and 19-year-old infield prospect Ronald Torreyes, who batted .356 in 67 games for Class A Dayton.

Wood made 17 starts for the Reds in 2010, going 5-4 with a 3.51 earned run average. He took a perfect game into the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies before giving up a double to Carlos Ruiz, and left after finishing the 9th with the score tied at 0.

Pavlik pleads not guilty to drunken driving

CANFIELD, Ohio — Former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count charging him with driving an all-terrain vehicle while drunk.

The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown reports Pavlik’s attorney, Damian Billak, entered the plea on his behalf in a Mahoning County court. Billak says they look forward to addressing the issues in court.

Deputies say the 29-year-old Pavlik was arrested Wednesday night at his home outside Youngstown after a neighbor reported he crashed the ATV into a telephone pole and lamppost.

Pavlik in January finished two months of alcoholism treatment at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Earlier this month, trainer Jack Loew announced they had split ways.

Billak says Pavlik plans to relocate to California.

A pretrial hearing is set for Jan. 13.

Brown family increases Bengals ownership stake

CINCINNATI — The Brown family has increased its control of the Cincinnati Bengals.

The team announced Friday that the Browns have obtained the shares held through the Austin Knowlton estate.

Investors in New York had made a deal for the shares that had been estimated at 30 percent of the club. But the Brown family exercised rights to match the terms to acquire the last major piece of the team that had been outside the family.

Terms weren’t announced.

Bengals President Mike Brown said in a statement that the family is committed to having the Bengals remain an asset to the region.

Brown’s late father, Paul Brown, was an original owner and the first Bengals coach in 1968. The team plays in Paul Brown Stadium.

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