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Sports briefs for Aug. 19, 2013

By BDN Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Sea Dogs’ Couch named EL pitcher of week

PORTLAND, Maine — Portland Sea Dogs’ righthanded pitcher Keith Couch has been selected as the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. Couch pitched two games for the Sea Dogs last week and had a record of 2-0 with eight strikeouts and a 1.13 ERA.

Couch, who is a native of Elmont, N.Y., made his first appearance of the week on Tuesday night at Altoona and earned the win with seven strong innings in Portland’s 5-2 victory. He gave up one run on eight hits while striking out four batters and walking one. In his second appearance of the week on Sunday at Harrisburg, he tossed a complete game six-hitter with four strikeouts and no walks while lifting Portland to a 2-1 win. It was the first nine-inning complete game by a Sea Dogs’ pitcher since Charlie Zink on June 19, 2007 at Connecticut.

Since moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation in early June, Couch has a record of 7-1 with a 2.96 ERA in 13 games. He was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2010 draft.

The Sea Dogs began a three-game homestand on Monday night against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Hadlock Field.

Celtics seeking assistant coach for Rondo

The Boston Celtics are looking for an assistant coach who can relate to point guard Rajon Rondo, who is known for having a strong personality.

Gone from the team are coach Doc Rivers (a former NBA point guard) and veteran Kevin Garnett, who mentored Rondo. The team is reportedly concerned with how Rondo will get along with first-year coach Brad Stevens.

Rondo said he was “open” to Stevens’ approach, and the two spoke right after the Celtics hired the former Butler coach.

But the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn tweeted Sunday: “NBA source familiar with #celtics say team desperately needs another asst coach who can bond with Rondo, someone he can relate to and trust.”

Rondo is still recovering from ACL surgery from last season. He is expected to be ready for the start of this season.

NASCAR’s Stewart out for season with broken leg

Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has ruled himself out for the rest of the season due to the broken right leg he suffered in a car crash earlier this month.

Stewart, who suffered a broken tibia and fibula in an Aug. 5 sprint car race in Iowa, will be replaced on his Stewart-Haas team by veteran driver Mark Martin and Austin Dillon for the remainder of the 2013 campaign.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed to be out … but the team is in very good hands with Mark Martin and Austin Dillon,” Stewart, 42, said in a statement.

“Mark is someone I’ve looked up to my entire career and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Austin is a great young talent, and he showed that Sunday at Michigan.”

Dillon, who finished 14th at Michigan after replacing Stewart in the Stewart-Haas No. 14 Chevrolet, will also drive for the team in the Oct. 20 Talladega event.

Martin, who has piled up 40 wins in the Cup ranks over the past four decades, was released by Michael Waltrip Racing on Monday and will fill in for Stewart this weekend at Bristol and in 11 other races.

Stewart, who has also won titles in Indy cars and stock cars, was NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion in 2002, 2005 and 2011.

Angels’ Pujols ruled out for season

Days after Albert Pujols said he still hoped to return to action this season, the Los Angeles Angels announced Monday that the slugger would be shut down for the rest of the year.

Pujols has been out since July 27 due to a partially torn left plantar fascia. He had his walking boot removed Friday, allowing him to begin exercising, and he maintained that he had not ruled out returning to the field by season’s end. The Angels scuttled those plans Monday, though.

Just two years into a 10-year, $240 million contract, Pujols will finish with the lowest single-season batting average of his career. Over 99 games, he hit .258, and he also set career lows with a .330 on-base percentage, a .437 slugging percentage, 17 homers and 64 RBIs.

Pujols split time between first base and designated hitter this year to cut down on the wear and tear on his left foot.

The decision to pull the plug on his season was made easier by the fact that the Angels (55-68) entered play Monday night in fourth place in the American League West, 15 1/2 games behind the first-place Texas Rangers. They also were 15 games behind the second-place Oakland A’s, who held the second AL wild-card position.

Donovan open to move abroad if no deal with L.A.

United States striker Landon Donovan says he is a ready for a new challenge abroad if he does not reach an agreement with his Major League Soccer club L.A Galaxy.

Donovan, who has had loan spells with English Premier League club Everton and Germany’s Bayern Munich in the past, will become a free agent in December if he does not extend his current deal with the Galaxy.

“Right now I am enjoying myself, I want to continue enjoying myself, we have received offers from teams in different countries that are intriguing,” Donovan told Fox Sports’ Fox Soccer Daily on Monday.

“I am still going to speak with the Galaxy and see how they value me and see where they want to go, going forward, but I am really open in a way that I haven’t been before in the past.

“I was pretty content to stay in LA. But if it doesn’t work out and we can’t come to an agreement here then I am ready for a different challenge and we will see what happens,” he added.

Donovan took an extended break from the game after securing the MLS Cup title with the Galaxy in December and lost his place in the U.S. national team.

However, he returned to the international stage at the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup and was the tournament’s joint top scorer with five goals, helping Juergen Klinsmann’s team to the title.

Hawk-Eye says human error to blame for incorrect decision

DUBLIN — Ireland’s Gaelic Athletic Association suspended the use of its Hawk-Eye system following an error on Sunday, the day the goalline technology was used in the English Premier League for the first time.

In an under-18 All-Ireland hurling semi-final at Dublin’s Croke Park on Sunday, Hawk-Eye overruled a goalline umpire by adjudging that a ball went wide despite its own graphic showing that it had sailed over the bar for a score.

The game finished in a draw and the opposing team won in extra time. Limerick, the losing side, have said they will appeal against the result and hope the match can be replayed.

Hawk-Eye, owned by Japanese group Sony, said one of its technicians had mistakenly configured the system for Gaelic football rather than hurling, meaning the ball was too small to read and an incorrect decision was given.

Lakers star Bryant running

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is running.

Bryant showed evidence of his progress in recovering from an Achilles tear by posting a video on Instagram of him running on a treadmill.

Bryant also tweeted: “Remember who got amnesia #gasoline #mambamentality.”

Bryant was injured in April. While it typically takes a significant amount of time to recover from the injury — and many have struggled to fully recover — Bryant has vowed to be ready by the start of the regular season in late October.

Former Detroit Pistons point guard Isiah Thomas tore his Achilles at age 32 and never returned. Former Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins was the same age and missed 283 days after the injury.

Bryant, who turns 35 on Friday, has said that he “shattered” the recovery time on the injury and that the Achilles feels “really, really good.”

He credited his team of physicians and trainers for his rapid recovery, saying he takes them with him on business trips, family vacations and “everywhere.”

Bryant is entering the final year of his contract with the Lakers.

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