PORTLAND — Former Boston Red Sox great Fred Lynn will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Travelers Night at the Ballpark at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, when the Portland Sea Dogs take on the Reading Phillies.
Lynn’s first pitch will generate money for The Good Shepherd Food Bank, the largest hunger relief organization in Maine. Travelers will donate $1,000 and will double the amount to $2,000 if the pitch is called a strike.
In further efforts to support The Good Shepherd Food Bank, Travelers and the Portland Sea Dogs will host a food drive at Travelers Night at the Ballpark during which fans will be encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate to local Maine families in need.
Red Sox DH Ortiz shuts it down for a few days
BALTIMORE — Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has been shut down as he strives to return from a strained right Achilles tendon.
Ortiz had already been told not to take batting practice, and now he’s been ordered to also stop running.
Ortiz has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 18. Speaking before the Red Sox faced the Orioles on Wednesday night, Ortiz said running felt more like limping, and he was getting sore afterward.
He said, “I’m looking for a step forward instead of a step backward. You’ve got to let injuries heal.”
Ortiz says he won’t hit or run at least through Thursday. Boston begins a three-game series with the Yankees on Friday.
In 89 games this season, Ortiz is hitting .316 with 23 homers and 58 RBIs.
Rafael Nadal pulls out of US Open with knee injury
NEW YORK — Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam count will stay stuck at 11 for now, sidetracked by another knee problem.
The third-ranked Spaniard withdrew from the U.S. Open on Wednesday. Tendinitis has kept him out of action since his stunning loss at Wimbledon in late June.
The injury already forced him out of the London Olympics, where he was supposed to defend his title and carry Spain’s flag in the opening ceremony.
Nadal is still only 26, but the withdrawals raise questions about the future of a player who has had recurring knee problems in the past.
His 11 Grand Slam titles include a record seven on the red clay of the French Open, yet his hard-charging, hard-hitting style of play takes a toll on his body, particularly his knees.
Roger Federer, in contrast, has played in every Grand Slam tournament since the start of 2000, a streak of 51 in a row.
Bettman says ‘wide gap’ remains in NHL labor talks
TORONTO — The wide gap that existed in labor talks between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association was hardly bridged on Wednesday, a day after the union presented its counterproposal and with the threat of a lockout now only a month away.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the two sides are “still apart, far apart,” and “not on the same page,” in making his first public comments since having a chance to read through the NHLPA’s offer. Adding that he was “a little disappointed” that the union has yet to present its full proposal, Bettman said the league isn’t even at the point of making a counteroffer.
“I think there are still a number of issues where we’re looking at the world differently,” Bettman said, after the two sides met for about an hour at the NHLPA headquarters in Toronto. “So there’s still a wide gap between us, and not much time to go.”
NHLPA executive director Don Fehr described the gap between the two sides as “a pretty substantial monetary gulf.” But he placed the blame on the NHL for creating the gap in the first place with the cutbacks in salary and limitations placed on free agency the league made in its initial offer last month.
The current collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15, and the NHL has already warned that it will lock out its players if a new deal is not reached by then. The NHL regular season is set to open Oct. 11.
Ex-coach says he didn’t shove Solo at World Cup
The former coach of the U.S. women’s national soccer team says he didn’t shove goalkeeper Hope Solo at the meeting when she was benched before the semifinals of the 2007 World Cup.
Greg Ryan said Wednesday said the allegation made in the goalkeeper’s book is “completely false.”
Hope describes the meeting with Ryan in great detail in the newly released “A Memoir of Hope.” She said Ryan told her he had the support of veterans Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach in his decision to go with Briana Scurry, even though Solo had started every game in the tournament up to that point.
Solo writes that near the end of the meeting: “I had nothing left to say so I stood up to leave. Greg leaned over and pushed me back down on the couch. Hard.”
Solo writes that Ryan then swore at her and told her she couldn’t leave until he said she could.
“I was stunned that he had touched me,” Solo writes.
Ryan, now the coach of the University of Michigan women’s soccer team, released a statement through the school.
“This allegation is completely false,” he said. “I did not shove or push Hope as I’ve been accused in her book. I would have been terminated immediately by USA Soccer had this allegation been true. I have openly discussed the contents of the meeting and this is the first time that this accusation has been brought to light.
“Hope was disappointed that I benched her for the semifinals but it was the right move for the team. It was discussed with team leaders and they stood by my decision. It’s in the past and I’ve moved on. I’m focused on the upcoming Michigan soccer season.”
With Scurry in goal, the U.S. lost to Brazil 4-0. After the game, Solo publicly criticized the decision to start Scurry and was subsequently ostracized by her teammates. The Americans eventually finished third, and Solo was not allowed to fly home with the rest of the team from China.
Ryan was dismissed by U.S. Soccer later that year. New coach Pia Sundhage mended fences between Solo and the rest of the team, and the goalkeeper anchored the Americans to gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Her diving save late in the final minutes preserved the 2-1 victory over Japan in the gold medal match last week at the London Games.