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Sports briefs for Aug. 20, 2013

By BDN Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Free Tennis Night in Maine set Sept. 6

SCARBOROUGH, Maine — The Maine Tennis Association, in partnership with USTA New England, announced Tuesday they will hold the first Free Tennis Night in Maine at nine indoor tennis clubs from Portland to Bangor on Friday, Sept. 6 to celebrate the sport across the state.

The free night is being offered as a way to get people back into the sport, celebrate the sport for those who currently play and reach out to new players in Maine. Each event will have a tennis professional on site to assist in a no-pressure night of friendly competition, education and socialization. All adults 18 and over are invited to attend at no charge.

“Tennis is a lifetime sport, if you played earlier in your life and stopped, this is an opportunity to get back in the game. If you’ve always wanted to try it out while under professional supervision, this gives you an opportunity without risk. Tennis is a fun, relaxing, cardio-healthy activity that we want to share with everyone in Maine,” Ron Friedman, former president of the MTA, said.

Registrations will be handled by the individual locations. To find a location, visit www.mtatennis.com and click on Free Tennis Night in Maine for a listing.

Dodgers’ Puig fined for showing up late

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig arrived late to the ballpark before Tuesday night’s game against the Miami Marlins and was hit with a fine.

The rookie phenom told manager Don Mattingly that he was stuck in traffic on the way to the stadium. Puig is staying at his family’s home in Miami while the Dodgers are in town.

He spent about 10 minutes in Mattingly’s office after he arrived about 35 minutes before the team’s scheduled pregame stretching, according to reports. Mattingly was vague with reporters on the amount of the fine, saying it was more than $1 and less than $10,000.

The 22-year-old, who has slumped lately, was not in the starting lineup for Tuesday night’s game. He is hitting .171 with 10 strikeouts in his past 39 plate appearances and 2-for-17 in the past four games.

In 67 games this season, Puig is batting .351 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs.

As promised, Jaguars’ Jones-Drew set for season opener

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew resisted the temptation to open his media session on Monday with local reporters with the words, “I told you so.”

Jones-Drew had said since the first day of training camp that he would be ready for the regular-season opener; that it would only take a game or two in the preseason to get his football conditioning to full speed.

The eighth-year running back had foot surgery to correct an injury near the end of the 2012 season, causing some to speculate whether he would be ready for the start of the 2013 regular season.

After sitting out the first week’s game against Miami, Jones-Drew was in for seven plays last Saturday against the New York Jets. He carried the ball three times for nine yards and had one reception, a short swing pass out of the backfield that he turned into a 20-yard gain down to the Jets 6-yard line.

Matsuzaka released by Indians

Daisuke Matsuzaka was granted his unconditional release by the Cleveland Indians.

The veteran right-hander and former Red Sox starter had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and had been pitching for the Columbus Clippers. He allowed five runs in four innings in his final start Monday and was 5-8 with a 3.92 earned run average in 19 starts.

“He decided that he wanted to seek an opportunity elsewhere,” Clippers manager Chris Tremie told the Columbus Dispatch. “I don’t know if there is one out there or not. He was great while he was here. He went about his business in a professional manner. He wants to make it back (to the big leagues). I wouldn’t count him out.”

Another reclamation project, left-hander Scott Kazmir, edged Matsuzaka for a spot in the Indians’ starting rotation in spring training.

Broncos’ Von Miller accepts 6-game suspension

Von Miller met with the media Tuesday afternoon and said he wanted a “fair resolution” to his pending six-game suspension. Less than two hours later, the Denver Broncos linebacker issued a statement accepting the league-imposed punishment.

“The Substances of Abuse policy requires everyone to comply with the rules. Although my suspension doesn’t result from a positive test, there is no excuse for my violations of the rules,” Miller said through the NFL Players Association. “I made mistakes and my suspension has hurt my team, Broncos fans, and myself. I am especially sorry for the effect of my bad decisions on others. I will not make the same mistakes about adhering to the policy in the future.

“During my time off the field, I will work tirelessly and focus exclusively on remaining in peak shape. I look forward to contributing immediately upon my return to the field and bringing a championship back to the people of Denver.”

It was an about-face for Miller, who had said just hours before that he had yet to hear from the league and the information he had came through the media.

Miller’s suspension begins Aug. 31 and he will be eligible to return to the active roster Monday, Oct. 14.

Bucks’ center Sanders gets $44M extension

Center Larry Sanders signed a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. While terms weren’t disclosed, it is a four-year, $44 million deal according to multiple reports.

Sanders, 24, averaged 9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds in 71 games last season while also finishing second in the NBA with an average of 2.8 blocks per game.

Entering his fourth season out of VCU, Sanders is considered an integral part of the Bucks’ rebuilding process after they parted with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis over the offseason.

Sanders averaged 27.3 minutes per game last season, more than double what he averaged in 2011-12. He also averaged 10.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in Milwaukee’s four playoff games.

MRI shows no serious damage to Cousins’s right foot

WASHINGTON — An MRI exam taken Tuesday showed no serious damage to the right foot of Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, a person familiar with the situation said.

Cousins was found to have suffered no significant ligament damage in his foot, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the team did not announce the MRI results. The person said Cousins is expected to be available when the Redskins open the regular season Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Cousins left the Redskins’ preseason game Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers after being hurt in the second quarter. Cousins grabbed his foot after being hit on the sideline by Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons at the end of a run. X-rays taken Monday showed no fractures, and Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said after the game the team was hopeful that Cousins had not suffered a serious injury. Tuesday’s MRI was to determine the possibility of something more severe, such as a Lisfranc mid-foot injury.

Cousins has started the Redskins’ first two preseason games while starter Robert Griffin III is eased back toward full-time duties after undergoing knee surgery in January.

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