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Sports briefs for Sept. 17, 2013

By BDN Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Torza leads New England Senior Amateur golf

FALMOUTH, Maine — Bill Torza of Cromwell, Conn., shot an even-par 70 Tuesday to grab a one-shot lead after the first round of the New England Senior Amateur Championship at Portland Country Club.

Chasing Torza is Bill Hermanson of East Lyme, Conn., who fired a 71, while six other players lurk only three shots off the pace.

A total of 126 players are competing for regional supremacy.

The group at 73 includes Robert Currey of Boston, Claude Hoopes of Marion, Mass., Jack Kearney of Peachtree City, Ga., Joseph Keller of Ostervilla, Mass., William Haden of Manchester Village, Vt., and Shawn McLoughlin of Bethel, Conn.

Leading the Maine contingent is Tom Bean of Manchester, who is tied for 16th place after shooting a 5-over 75. Alan Bouchard of Falmouth shot 78 and Gary Manoogian of Westbrook carded a 79 while Jim Van Fleet out of Great Chebeague Golf Club and Mark Plummer of Manchester came in at 80.

Currey and McLoughlin also are vying for the Super Senior Division title, a group of golfers age 65 and over. The 69-year-old McLoughlin is the defending Super Senior champion.

The tournament concludes with 18 holes on Wednesday.

Seven new assistant coaches at UMF

The University of Maine at Farmington athletics department has seven new assistant coaches on its staff this fall.

Tess Perry (UMF 2010 grad) joins the men’s and women’s cross country team as an assistant coach, while Matt Lamb comes on board as an assistant men’s soccer coach.

Alyssa St. Pierre (UMF 2010) and Hattie Laliberte (UMF 2010) return to campus as assistant field hockey coaches, and Dave Ronald (UMF 1988) will take a spot on the touchline as an assistant women’s soccer coach.

Also, former major league pitcher and Portland Sea Dog Devorn Hansack will join UMF baseball as an assistant coach, while Orion Cochrane (UMF 2013) joins the staff as an assistant golf coach.

Patriots’ Gronkowski near return

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will attempt to practice this week and but remains doubtful to play in his first game since he was injured in the regular-season finale in December 2012 against the Miami Dolphins.

Gronkowski missed one month and five games last season between Nov. 22 and Dec. 23 with a broken forearm.

If the tight end doesn’t play in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he is likely to debut by the Week 4 trip to Atlanta.

Quarterback Tom Brady did not target a tight end last Thursday in the Patriots’ 13-10 victory over the Jets. His top receiver has been Julian Edelman with Gronkowski and Danny Amendola injured.

In 2012, Brady targeted tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Gronkowski 163 times and 237 times in 2011. Hernandez was released in June 26 and is awaiting trial on murder charges.

Gronkowski hasn’t participated in full-contact drills and missed most of the offseason because of multiple surgeries on his forearm, which became infected, and another operation on his back.

Rangers’ Washington notes job is on the line

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington admits that his club’s September swoon could cost him his job, according to comments he made on his weekly radio spot on local sports radio.

Talking in his regular slot on the Fitzsimmons & Durrett show on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, Washington acknowledged that a second consecutive subpar finish may motivate ownership to make a change. The Ranger are 2-12 in September heading into Tuesday night’s meeting with Tampa Bay.

“We all have to take the blame for our collapse right now if that’s what you want to call it,” Washington said. “I’m not calling it a collapse. I’m just calling it a slump. But there isn’t anything I can do about that. I don’t really think about that type of stuff. I know at some point in this game of baseball we all have to look for another job, but it isn’t anything I’m concerned about.”

Texas is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak in which it has failed to even hold a lead in any game. The all-time winningest manager in team history, Washington has led the team to three consecutive trips to the playoffs, including World Series berths in 2010 and 2011. But the 2012 squad blew a six-game lead over Oakland in the American League West in September to fall into the wild-card game, where it lost the one-game playoff at home to Baltimore.

The Rangers entered Tuesday with an 81-68 record and a half-game lead over Cleveland for the second wild-card spot.

Blue Jays shutting down Encarnacion, Cecil

The Toronto Blue Jays plan to shut down Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Cecil for the final two weeks of the season, according to multiple reports.

Encarnacion finishes the season hitting .272 with 36 home runs and 104 RBIs. He’s been battling an injured wrist that is expected to require surgery. With Toronto (68-81) long out of the running, the team elected to get the process started earlier.

Cecil pitched in 60 games, all in relief, going 5-1 with a 2.82 ERA. He’s been bothered by an elbow injury and pitched just three times in September, throwing a total of 10 pitches.

The Jays had previously ruled Jose Bautista out for the year with a bone bruise in his hip.

Mariners’ minor leaguer suspended 50 games

Seattle minor league pitcher Forrest Snow was suspended for 50 games without pay after a second violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Snow, picked by the Mariners in the 36th round of the 2010 draft, finished the 2013 season with Tacoma in the Pacific Coach League, going 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA for the Triple-A club. He began the year in Double-A Jacksonville, where he pitched in 23 games and was 1-5 with a 3.00 ERA working mainly in relief.

The suspension will be effective at the start of the 2014 season.

BYU suspends linebacker Hadley

BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley was suspended indefinitely from the program for a violation of team rules, the school announced Tuesday.

The university did not offer an explanation of the nature of the infraction and coach Bronco Mendenhall did not make a statement.

The junior started the Cougars’ first two games this season and all 13 games in 2012. He is tied for fourth on the team in tackles with 12 so far this year.

Hadley will miss Saturday’s in-state battle with Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium. His backup at the linebacker spot is senior Tyler Beck.

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