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Sports briefs for Feb. 17, 2014

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Boston’s Pedroia says thumb feels fine

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who had offseason thumb surgery, took batting practice on Monday and says he feels fine.

Two weeks after the Red Sox won the World Series, Pedroia had surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He wore a cast for about a month.

He hit just nine homers last season, the fewest since he had eight as a rookie. He admitted the injury hampered him.

“A little bit, but it’s fine now,” he said, according to Associated Press. “It’s fixed up, man. It’s good. It’s good to go.

“The rehab was great. I feel healthy and there’s no setbacks, no restrictions or anything.”

Poll says most NFL players OK with gay teammate

An ESPN poll indicated that 86 percent of NFL players surveyed would accept having an openly gay teammate.

The poll was taken in light of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam coming out as a homosexual. Sam was expected to be taken in the May draft but it is not certain how the revelation will affect his draft status.

ESPN surveyed 51 players (nearly the equivalent of an NFL roster) and asked four true-false questions.

Forty-four players (86 percent) indicated that a teammate’s sexual orientation did not matter to them, and 39 (76 percent) indicated they would be comfortable showering around a gay teammate.

However, 32 players (less than 63 percent) responded that they had teammates or coaches who used homophobic slurs last season. Also, only 25 of the 51 players (49 percent) indicated that an openly gay player would be comfortable in an NFL locker room.

Roberts to start at second for Yanks

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Monday that Brian Roberts will succeed Robinson Cano as the team’s second baseman.

The concern is that Roberts has struggled with injuries since 2009.

“That is the plan, for him to be our second baseman,” Girardi said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. “I know he hasn’t played a full season in the last few years, he’s obviously a guy who has some age on him too, but my plan is to run him out there every day.”

Roberts, 36, played 77 games last year, his most since playing 159 in 2009. He has been plagued by a variety of injuries, with the effects from concussions slowing him down the past two years.

Roberts signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Yankees this winter. He batted just .249 in limited action with the Baltimore Orioles last year.

Panthers QB Newton will not hold out for extension

Carolina Panthers Cam Newton said during a radio interview that he does not plan to hold out to pressure the team into giving him a long-term contract extension, ESPN.com reported.

Newton recently completed his third season in the NFL. Under the collective bargaining agreement, Newton is eligible for an extension of his original four-year contract. The Panthers also have the option of picking up a fifth-year option on the quarterback’s current contract.

The Panthers went 12-4 this past season, and Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Ron Rivera have said Newton is the Panthers’ franchise quarterback. However, there have been no signs that negotiations are underway on an extension or that the Panthers plan to pick up the option.

In any case, Newton said on the “Dan Patrick Show” on Monday that he does not plan to hold out to try to get a new contract.

“I’m not worried about contract discussions right now,” he said on the show. “My main focus is just becoming the better player I can become.”

Ravens’ Suggs agrees to multiyear deal

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs signed a multiyear contract extension. The new deal is a four-year extension that will free up $4 million in salary-cap space for the Ravens, according to NFL Media.

Suggs will reportedly receive more than $20 million in the first three years, with $16 million guaranteed in the first two seasons.

The Ravens have limited cap space and several free agents they want to re-sign. Suggs’ deal accommodates the Ravens by significantly reducing his $12.4 million salary. The new deal adds three years to the one year remaining.


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