Sports briefs for March 2, 2014

Posted March 02, 2014, at 8:28 p.m.

Sabres deal goalie Miller, veteran Ott to Blues

BUFFALO, N.Y. — An emotional Ryan Miller said goodbye to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night while embracing the challenge ahead of him with the St. Louis Blues.

The Sabres traded their star goaltender and captain Steve Ott to the Blues for goaltender Jaroslav Halak, forwards Chris Stewart and William Carrier, a 2015 first-round draft pick and a conditional draft pick.

“I’m just very emotional right now,” Miller said. “I think it’s been 12 years with this organization and I’m very excited for an opportunity to have a new adventure, a new opportunity. I have a strong sense that they have a very special team.”

Miller, 33, has been the face of the Sabres’ franchise for the past decade. A two-time All-Star, the 12-year veteran has a career record of 284-186-57 with a 2.60 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2010 as the NHL’s top goaltender.

The trade further establishes the Blues as a Stanley Cup contender. St. Louis is tied with Chicago for the Central Division lead with 84 points and has three games in hand on the Blackhawks.

Ott, 31, is an 11-year veteran who joined the Sabres in 2012. He has 264 points (103 goals, 161 assists) in 673 career games.

Dodgers’ Kemp cleared to start running

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp’s recovery from October ankle surgery moved to another phase this weekend as he was cleared to increase his on-field activities.

Kemp has been limited to running on a treadmill, taking batting practice and fielding ground balls in the outfield through the first three weeks of spring training. But the latest MRI and examination of his left ankle showed sufficient healing for him to increase that activity and begin doing some running on the field.

“Stan (Conte, Dodgers’ vice president of medical services) categorized this as step five of seven steps,” manager Don Mattingly said. “There’s still a couple stages to go through before he’s ready to play in games.”

Mattingly and Kemp emphasized that there is still no timetable for when Kemp will be cleared to take that step.

Fredette signs with Bulls

The Chicago Bulls officially signed guard Jimmer Fredette before Sunday’s game against the New York Knicks.

Fredette was granted a release by the Sacramento Kings last week and talked about what led him to choosing the Bulls.

Fredette, the No. 10 pick in the 2011 NBA draft, signed for the remainder of this season and does not have a contract option for next year. Defense has been a question with Fredette since his high-scoring days at BYU.

Going into Sunday’s game, Fredette was averaging 5.9 points per game this season on 48 percent shooting (49 percent from 3-point range). For his career, he is averaging seven points and 1.5 assists per contest.

Reliever Mota retires after 14 years in majors

Veteran relief pitcher Guillermo Mota, who served two drug suspensions during his 14-year Major League Baseball career, announced his retirement on Sunday, according to mlb.com.

The 40-year-old right-hander, who played for seven MLB teams, had not pitched in the majors since 2012, although he signed a minor league contract in January with the Kansas City Royals.

Mota was 39-45 with a 3.94 ERA in 743 relief appearances during a major league career that started with the Montreal Expos in 1999.

The native of the Dominican Republic also played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants, with whom he won World Series titles in 2010 and 2012.

Cuban favors D-League to college one-and-done

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is not a fan of the NCAA and the rule that requires players to be one year removed from high school and at least 19 years old before entering the NBA.

Cuban thinks the NBA Development League is preferable to a year in college, saying the one-and-done players are not prepared mentally and emotionally for the NBA.

“I think what will end up happening — and this is my opinion, not that of the league — is if the colleges don’t change from the one-and-done, we’ll go after the one,” Cuban said, according to ESPNDallas.com. “The NCAA rules are so hypocritical, there’s absolutely no reason for a kid to go (to college) because he’s not going to class.

“He’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball. So if the goal is just to graduate to the NBA or be an NBA player, go to the D-League.”

 

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