Around the Nation (March 24): Raburn homers in return to the field

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Associated Press

BASEBALL

Raburn homers in return to the field

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Ryan Raburn played the field for the first time since running into an outfield wall and also homered Monday as the Cleveland Indians beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-3.

Raburn doubled while driving in three runs. He made a nice play at first base, too, on a low liner by Brayan Pena.

Raburn had been limited to designated hitter duty since crashing into the right-field wall on March 7.

Lonnie Chisenhall found out earlier in the morning that he earned a spot on the Indians' opening day roster. He celebrated with his second homer this spring, connecting off starter Alfredo Simon.

Jay Bruce had two hits, including an RBI double off Indians starter Carlos Carrasco.

Jason Kipnis hit a three-run homer off J.J. Hoover, who is one of the Reds' options for the closer role with Aroldis Chapman recovering from being hit above the eye by a line drive.

Guillen, Wedge join 'Baseball Tonight'

BRISTOL, Conn. -- Former managers Ozzie Guillen and Eric Wedge are in the ESPN lineup this season for "Baseball Tonight."

ESPN also said Monday that perfect-game pitcher Dallas Braden is set to become a studio analyst for the nightly show.

The opinionated Guillen last managed with the Marlins in 2012. He will be part of the ESPN crew throughout the season and work with Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN Deportes.

Wedge will be on ESPN television and radio after managing Seattle last year. He is scheduled to make his debut Tuesday on a spring training game telecast.

Braden threw a perfect game for Oakland in 2010, and last pitched in the majors in 2011.

ESPN will take its pregame show "Baseball Tonight: Sunday Night Countdown" on the road several times this season, starting at Petco Park on March 30 when the Los Angeles Dodgers visit San Diego.

GOLF

Woods still unsure about The Masters

WASHINGTON -- Tiger Woods says it's "a little too soon" to know whether his ailing back will be well enough for him to enter The Masters.

Speaking at a news conference Monday to announce that Quicken Loans is the new title sponsor of his golf tournament, Woods said he's been trying to get ready for the Masters on April 10-13 at Augusta National. It's the only major tournament he's never missed.

Woods is off to the worst start of his 18 years on tour, and last week he withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational because of persistent back pain.

Asked whether he'll play the Masters, Woods replied: "For Augusta, it's actually still a little too soon, to be honest with you. That's kind of the frustrating thing about this."

FOOTBALL

Goodell, NFL union plan to meet on work environment

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL will meet on April 8 with the players union to discuss improving the workplace environment.

In the wake of the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal, league representatives have met with some 40 players in the last three months, as well as with the Dolphins and outside organizations, Goodell says Monday at the NFL owners meetings. The league is trying to get "as much input as possible. It's more about people understanding the importance of a proper workplace."

Goodell adds the focus is on medical evaluations of the players involved, including tackle Jonathan Martin, who left the Dolphins in the middle of last season, saying he was harassed by guard Richie Incognito. Martin was traded to the 49ers earlier this month.

SOCCER

Beckham group eyes Port of Miami for MLS home

MIAMI -- An architectural group hired by David Beckham is recommending the Port of Miami as a site for the soccer star's MLS expansion team.

The plan is for a 25,000-seat outdoor stadium with views of the bay and the downtown skyline. The capacity, however, could drop to 21,000 but able to expand to 35,000.

The team begins play in 2016. More than 30 sites have been evaluated, with four sites under "active consideration" -- Port of Miami, Marlins Park, Florida International University and the Miami Intermodal transportation hub near the city's airport.

Architects made clear they prefer the Port of Miami. The expansion team would have to play two seasons in a temporary home, likely FIU or Marlins Park, until the Port of Miami stadium would be ready by 2018.

BASKETBALL

Silver: Two years of college best for NBA players

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Adam Silver says he's heard the "Bill Gates theory" numerous times from critics over the last month: You shouldn't be required to attend college to become a millionaire.

But the new NBA commissioner steadfastly believes that basketball players should spend at least two years in college before being allowed to enter the draft -- instead of the required one.

Fair or not, he says it's simply best for the league.

Speaking before Monday's Rockets-Bobcats game in Charlotte, Silver says "I think two years is the right balance."

That means if Silver had his way Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins would be staying in school another year. But there's little he can do about that.

An agreement between the league and players association is not imminent.

Lakers' Gasol has vertigo, doubtful for game tonight

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol has been diagnosed with vertigo.

Gasol isn't expected to play when the Lakers host the New York Knicks tonight.

The 7-foot Spaniard missed the second half of Los Angeles' victory over Orlando after complaining of dizziness and nausea. He spent the night in a hospital, but the Lakers said an MRI of his head was normal.

Gasol will be re-examined Tuesday, but likely won't play against the Knicks.

Gasol's vertigo is the latest in a staggering list of injuries and ailments for the Lakers (23-46), who are on track for their worst season since moving to California.

COLLEGE

Marquette trying to move quickly in new coach search

MADISON, Wis. -- Marquette's interim athletic director says the school is trying to move as quickly as possible to hire a replacement for Buzz Williams.

Bill Cords told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday that the level of interest to replace Williams has been "very rewarding."

Williams was formally introduced Monday as the head coach at Virginia Tech. He left Marquette after six seasons.

Cords, as expected, is not revealing who is on his wish list of candidates and any information about interviews.

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