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Sports briefs for Sept. 22, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Phillies announce Sandberg as manager

PHILADELPHIA — As a player, Ryne Sandberg even admits he probably wouldn’t have made a good manager. But he’s come a long way since then.

The Philadelphia Phillies officially removed the interim tag from Ryne Sandberg’s title Sunday morning, making him the 52nd manager in team history.

“Communication is one of my strengths, which is ironic because as a player I think I wasn’t strong at all at communicating. I was focused on catching the ball and hitting it, and it kind of stopped there,” Sandberg said. “That was all part of going to the minor leagues and aging a little bit and maturing.”

Sandberg, who entered the season as the Phillies’ third-base coach, was named the club’s interim manager on Aug. 16 when Charlie Manuel was fired.

For the two years before that, he served as manager of Lehigh Valley, the Phillies’ Class AAA affiliate, and including his time with the Chicago Cubs managed six years in the minor leagues.

Yankees honor closer Rivera

The New York Yankees honored closer Mariano Rivera, who is retiring at the end of the season, before Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

The 50-minute ceremony included appearances by former teammates, the retiring of his No. 42 jersey and rock band Metallica performing “Enter Sandman,” the song played when Rivera enters games.

“Thank you for 19 years of support,” Rivera said to fans. It’s been a great run and you guys have been amazing. … You guys will have a part of my heart here in New York.”

Rivera is Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader with 652 in a Hall of Fame career that has lasted 19 years.

“He was about as good a security blanket as a manager could ever have,” former manager Joe Torre said.

Torre and former teammates Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez were among those who helped honor Rivera.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared Sept. 22, 2013, as “Mariano Rivera Day.”

Cincinnati freshman dies in auto accident

University of Cincinnati freshman offensive lineman Ben Flick was killed in an auto accident on Saturday night in Oxford, Ohio.

Two other Cincinnati players were injured in the one-vehicle crash that occurred after the Bearcats’ 14-0 win over Miami of Ohio.

Flick, of Hamilton, Ohio, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Wide receivers Mark Barr of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Javon Harrison of Dayton, Ohio, were taken by helicopter to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center with injuries. Barr was in critical condition and Harrison was stable.

The driver of the vehicle, who was not identified, was in critical condition.

All three players are redshirting and did not travel with the team. Oxford is about 25 miles north of Cincinnati.

“I can’t put into words how tragic this is,” coach Tommy Tuberville said in a statement. “As a father and a coach, it’s something you hope you never have to go through.

Alabama still No. 1 in major polls

There was not much movement in the major polls as Alabama held on to the No. 1 spot.

The Associated Press media and USA Today coaches polls were released Sunday.

The top 14 teams in the AP poll stayed in the same position as last week.

Alabama did lose a few first-place votes. The Crimson Tide slipped from 59 top votes to 56. No. 2 Oregon, which did not play, picked up the remaining four first-place votes.

In the coaches poll, Alabama received 59 first-place votes and Oregon got the three remaining votes.

Alabama struggled against Colorado State for three quarters before pulling away for a 31-6 victory Saturday. The Tide led 17-6 heading into the fourth.

No. 3 Clemson beat North Carolina 26-14 Thursday, No. 4 Ohio State routed Florida A&M 76-0 Saturday and No. 5 Stanford topped Arizona State 42-28.

49ers’ Smith not disciplined after arrest

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith faces no immediate discipline from the team or the NFL stemming from his arrest on suspicion of DUI Friday.

Smith is expected to start Sunday’s game against the visiting Indianapolis Colts. However, the team is urging him to seek treatment, according to ESPN. Fox Sports reported that he could enter a rehab program as early as this week and could miss significant time.

He still could be suspended by the league at some point.

San Jose police Sgt. Heather Randol told ESPN that marijuana was not found in Smith’s car but unidentified prescription drugs were after Smith crashed his car into a tree. He was arrested after the accident at 7 a.m. Friday. He was not injured.

Wiggins roared home to Tour of Britain title

LONDON — Bradley Wiggins secured victory in the Tour of Britain on Sunday with huge crowds cheering him and fellow-Briton Mark Cavendish through central London.

The 2012 Tour de France winner began the eighth and final stage with a 28-second lead and comfortably protected his advantage during 10 laps alongside the River Thames.

Cavendish claimed his third stage win, sprinting away from Sam Bennett and Elia Viviani in a flat-out dash near the finish at Whitehall.

Martin Elmiger was second in the general classification.

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