Francona says Tribe not trading ace Masterson
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has put to rest trade rumors involving right-hander Justin Masterson.
“I called him yesterday and told him whether he liked it or not, he’s not getting rid of us,” Francona said Wednesday at baseball’s winter meetings.
“Knowing you, I doubt if you’re reading it. And he said, ‘But my mom might.’ I said, ‘Tell her you’re not going anywhere.’ I thought it was getting a little out of hand, so I did call him.”
Also, catcher Carlos Santana could add third base as another viable option to keep his bat in the lineup. The Indians already planned on using him at first base and designated hitter.
“Santana is down at winter ball just kind of trying,” Francona said of his playing third. “I don’t know where that’s going to go.”
Chris Creighton takes over at EMU
YPSILANTI, Mich. — Eastern Michigan has hired Chris Creighton as football coach.
The 44-year-old Creighton led Drake to a 6-5 record this season and was 44-22 in six seasons at the Iowa school. He is 139-46 in 17 seasons as a head coach at Ottawa, Wabash at Drake.
Creighton replaces Ron English, fired last month after the Eagles opened 1-8 en route to a 2-10 mark. He was 11-46 over five years at the Mid-American Conference program.
Drake quickly replaced Creighton, promoting assistant Rick Fox to head coach. Fox spent the past six seasons as the assistant head coach under Creighton.
Harsin back in Boise as head coach
BOISE, Idaho — Boise State has hired former player and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to be the Broncos next head coach.
Athletic Director Mark Coyle confirmed Wednesday he had lured Harsin back to Boise and away from Arkansas State, where Harsin served as head coach for just one season.
The 37-year-old Harsin grew up in Boise and became a backup quarterback after walking on to the program in the late 1990s. He then worked as an assistant coach starting in 2001 and was elevated to offensive coordinator in 2006 by Chris Petersen.
Bears’ Cutler will likely start vs. Browns
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Quarterback Jay Cutler looks just about ready to play for the Chicago Bears. For linebacker Lance Briggs, the wait might go on.
Coach Marc Trestman is optimistic Cutler will return from an ankle injury this week against the Cleveland Browns. He was set to work with the receivers after Wednesday’s walkthrough, and Trestman said the Bears will know Thursday if he’s ready to start.
“We’re not going to let it hang through the week,” he said. “The starter tomorrow has got to get the work. So we’ll make that decision tomorrow.”
Cutler has missed the past four games with a high left ankle sprain and also sat out one with a groin injury. Veteran Josh McCown has played well in his place, but the Bears have repeatedly said they will go with Cutler once he’s ready.
Briggs, meanwhile, has missed the past six games because of a broken shoulder, and the odds that he’ll suit up against the Browns appear slim.
Briggs’ return would be a huge lift for an injury-ravaged defense that can’t stop the run. He was expected to sit out about six weeks after he was injured against Washington on Oct. 20, but the recovery has stretched longer.
The Bears clearly miss him.Their defense ranks 27th overall and last against the run, and they’ve allowed 198 yards rushing or more in five of the past seven games.
Redskins benching prized QB Griffin
ASHBURN, Va. — It takes quite the sales job to explain why a medically cleared Robert Griffin III won’t play for the rest of the season.
Embattled Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan realized that and gave it his best shot Wednesday, speaking passionately at times in a 28-minute news conference that included references to the team’s “circus atmosphere” and insistences that the move isn’t a ploy to get himself fired.
The upshot is that Griffin will be the inactive third quarterback for the Redskins’ final three games, behind starter Kirk Cousins and backup Rex Grossman. Shanahan’s reasoning is that he fears Griffin, who has taken a pounding in recent weeks, will get hurt, and that would ruin the franchise player’s offseason — a reversal of Shanahan’s oft-stated position that Griffin needed as much game experience as possible and would play to the end of the season.
Broncos’ Welker will not play tonight
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Wes Welker won’t play Thursday night against San Diego as he recovers from his second concussion in less than a month.
The NFL’s protocol for concussed players would have allowed Welker only to participate in light practice Thursday and only if he had passed baseline cognitive tests earlier in the week.
MAC to host 2018 NCAA Division I Championships
CLEVELAND — The NCAA has announced today that the Mid-American Conference and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission will serve as hosts for the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Cleveland. The tournament will take place at Quicken Loans Arena on March 15-17, 2018.
This will mark the first time the MAC will host the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The MAC will also host the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Regional in Cleveland on March 26 and 28, 2015, which was previously announced this year.
The upcoming 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships and 2015 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship Regional will mark the third and fourth events that Quicken Loans Arena will host. Previously, the facility hosted NCAA Division I Championship events including the 2007 Division I Women’s Basketball Final Four as well as the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Second & Third Rounds.
NASCAR holds critical test session
CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR took the final step toward setting its 2014 rules package with a critical test session Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The test featured four simulated races with four different configurations on the Gen-6 Sprint Cup Series car. Drivers had to attend a mandatory debrief with NASCAR following each session to give feedback on the aerodynamic, engine and suspension combinations.
NASCAR had 30 cars participating in the test, and planned to choose the configuration most favorable among drivers to test with a tapered spacer designed to reduce engine horsepower.
The goal of the test is to improve the racing at 1.5-mile superspeedways, which has been a stated goal of NASCAR chairman Brian France. He was scheduled to attend the test Monday, but rain postponed it until Wednesday.