Around the Nation (Jan. 17): Six Indians chosen to play in World Baseball Classic

Staff and wire report Published:

Staff and wire report

BASEBALL

Six to represent Indians in World Baseball Classic

NEW YORK -- The World Baseball Classic provisional rosters were officially unveiled Thursday, with both closer Chris Perez and setup man Vinnie Pestano representing the Cleveland Indians for Team USA.

The remainder of the Classic rosters were also announced Thursday.

From the Indians, two-time All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was named to Venezuela's provisional roster and catcher Carlos Santana will suit up for the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico will feature Tribe infielder Mike Aviles and left-handed pitching prospect Giovanni Soto. All three teams will open in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of Pool C.

Indians backup catching candidate Yan Gomes, who helped Brazil qualify for the Classic in November, was not listed on Brazil's provisional roster. The 25-year-old catcher -- vying for a roster spot with Cleveland this spring -- is still weighing whether to take part in the tournament. Gomes can still be added to Brazil.

The United States is scheduled to take part in the Classic's first round from March 8-10 at Chase Field as Part of Pool D (also featuring Canada, Mexico and Italy).

The World Baseball Classic championship will take place at 8 p.m. on March 19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

BASKETBALL

Bryant gets record 15th straight All-Star start

NEW YORK -- Kobe Bryant has been voted to his NBA-record 15th consecutive All-Star start, leading four Los Angeles players into next month's game.

Lakers teammate Dwight Howard and the Clippers' Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will join Bryant in the Western Conference lineup for the Feb. 17 game in Houston. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, the MVP of last year's game, rounds out the five.

Kevin Garnett held off Chris Bosh in fan balloting, giving the East two Boston Celtics and two Miami Heat players. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will represent the defending champions and receive passes from Boston's Rajon Rondo. New York's Carmelo Anthony is the other starter.

Bryant finished with 1,591,437 votes, edging James by about 7,800 to finish as the leading vote-getter and break a tie with Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West and Karl Malone for the most consecutive starting nods.

Reserves will be announced next Thursday.

GOLF

Mickelson opens season at Humana Challenge

LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson opened his season with an erratic even-par 72 on Thursday in the Humana Challenge, leaving him nine strokes behind the first-round leaders.

Recovering from flu-like symptoms, the 42-year-old Mickelson had three birdies, a bogey and double bogey at La Quinta Country Club -- one of three courses used in the pro-am event.

Jason Kokrak, Roberto Castro and James Hahn topped the leaderboard at 9-under 63. Kokrak had two eagles and five birdies at La Quinta, Castro had nine birdies at PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Private Course, and Hahn had nine birdies on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course.

Russell Henley, the Sony Open winner Sunday in Hawaii in his first start as a PGA Tour member, had a 64 on the Nicklaus course.

Colt Knost (Garrettsville) shot a 4-under 68 on PGA West's Arnold Palmer Private Course.

FOOTBALL

Pats put Gronkowski on IR with forearm injury

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots have placed tight end Rob Gronkowski on injured reserve with a forearm injury, guaranteeing he'll miss the rest of the season.

Gronkowski broke his left arm on the Patriots' seventh offensive play of Sunday's 41-28 win over the Houston Texans in a divisional playoff game.

Ryan Leaf kicked out of drug treatment center

HELENA, Mont. -- Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf is in prison after threatening a staffer and violating his therapeutic plan at a drug treatment center.

Leaf was serving nine months of a five-year sentence at the Nexus Treatment Center after pleading guilty to burglary and criminal possession of dangerous drugs.

Montana Department of Corrections documents released Thursday say Leaf told his roommate he wanted to drag a program staffer by his hair. Leaf also wrote that he wanted to throw the staffer against the wall and smash his glass into the man's head.

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