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Bosh 'excited' to lead Heat sans LeBron

Half a world away, Chris Bosh could not escape the frenzy of last week.

An offer from the Houston Rockets was waiting. His longtime Miami teammate LeBron James was leaving. For a few moments, Bosh found himself wondering if his days with the Heat were over.

Then he looked at his family, and everything stopped.

"We've built a life in South Florida and we're comfortable," Bosh said Sunday. "So I had to do what's best now for myself and my family."

With that, his decision became very easy. Bosh will sign a $118 million, five-year deal to stay with the Heat, a formality only held up by the logistical challenge presented by him being in Ghana right now and with more exotic stops on a family vacation still to come before returning home.

When he finally puts pen to paper, the Heat locker room will essentially become his - and in an interview with The Associated Press, Bosh said that while it's a shock to realize James is no longer with Miami after four seasons, he's ready to have that voice.

"I can't lie to you: I'm excited. I'm excited for the challenge," Bosh said during a break from NBA Africa duties. "I want to step up to the challenge. I feel this is a chance to prove to myself and others that I can still do this.

"I want to see if I can do what's necessary to go in there and win every night. That's the challenge of being a leader. It excites me. It's been a long time and I feel like I'm a much better player and a leader now, so it'll be fun."

Bosh had that role in Toronto before coming to Miami, then was perceived as a No. 3 behind James and Dwyane Wade when they teamed up in 2010 to begin the "Big 3" era with the Heat.

Now, Bosh will be one of the league's highest-paid players over the next five seasons, and with that comes a responsibility role to lead.

"It's a very different process," Bosh said, "but I think I know how to do it."

The Heat called James' decision disappointing, and Bosh acknowledged that there was a "shock factor" when he heard, but Miami is moving on.

They've locked Bosh up, are closing in on a new deal with Wade and got a commitment Sunday from small forward Luol Deng on a two-year deal not long before point guard Mario Chalmers announced on Twitter that he's returning to the team. Plus, the Heat have deals pending with forwards Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger.

"Proud to say I'm back," Chalmers wrote.

Miami has been to the NBA Finals in each of Bosh's first four seasons there, the team's two-year run as champions coming to an end when the Heat lost in five games to San Antonio last month.

Bosh got over that loss fast.

"We weren't going to beat those guys," Bosh said. "They were clicking on all cylinders. ... You can accept losing to such a great team."

After that, free agency followed. Bosh, Wade and James met last month for lunch, one that created tons of speculation once word got out about the meal.

Bosh said much of what was reported was overblown, and that was the day he started thinking the run was over.

"It's not what everybody thought it was," Bosh said. "We were just talking and having lunch with each other. Did I expect to kind of figure things out? Yeah, for sure. But it wasn't that. We just enjoyed having lunch. That's when I could tell, there's a possibility that somebody could be in a different uniform next year."

Soon, the Rockets came calling. Their pitch: Come to Houston, join Dwight Howard and James Harden and keep contending for titles.

"I'd be lying if I sat here and said Houston wasn't enticing," Bosh said. "You look at their roster and you can kind of see why it makes sense for them to be interested in me, with the chance they have to be successful. They're going to be a good team regardless next year. It just seemed like I would be that final piece that they needed. It was a hard choice to turn down."

Bosh insists the Heat will be good next season. How good, that will largely be up to him.

"We have so much chemistry," Bosh said. "We'll just be continuing without LeBron. It's starting a different chapter. It's exciting. I think it should be motivation for everybody to step up to the plate. We're fortunate enough to have some of the same guys. We should be able to say, `Hey, we can come out here and compete no matter what happens."'

Hunter-Reay wins IndyCar race in Iowa

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) Ryan Hunter-Reay blew past the field with two laps to go and won the IndyCar race at Iowa Speedway on Saturday for his first victory since the Indianapolis 500.

It was the fifth straight win in Iowa for Andretti Autosport, and the second in three years for Hunter-Reay.

Hunter-Reay hadn't led a lap since Indianapolis, and he spent most of Saturday's race far from contention. But he got new tires on a late pit stop and stormed past Tony Kanaan for his third victory in 2014.

Josef Newgarden finished second, followed by Target Chip Ganassi teammates Kanaan and Scott Dixon. Ed Carpenter was fifth.

Helio Castroneves finished eighth, taking sole possession of the series points lead.

AP Source: LeBron James signs 2-year contract

CLEVELAND (AP) First, the Cavaliers got LeBron James' word. Then they got his signature.

James signed a two-year, $42.1 million contract with the Cavs on Saturday, a day after he announced he was returning to play in Cleveland and try to end the city's 50-year championship drought.

The deal provides flexibility for the NBA's biggest star with the league's maximum salary expected to rise in the future.

A person familiar with the negotiations said James' contract includes an option for the four-time league MVP to become a free agent next summer. However, it is strictly "a business deal," according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team is not providing any details about the agreement.

By only signing for two years, James can get another contract with the Cavs before the 2016-17 season, when a new television deal is expected to push the maximum salary higher. The max contract for next season is $20.7 million. Until this deal, James had never been the highest paid player on his team in 11 seasons as a pro.

The Cavs did not provide any terms of the contract in a release, citing league policy.

James announced he was returning to the Cavaliers on Friday, picking Cleveland over Miami and reversing the decision he made four years ago to sign as a free agent with the Heat.

In an essay in Sports Illustrated, James indicated he will finish his career in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers are confident the Akron, Ohio, native is committed to them long-term.

"We could not be happier to welcome LeBron James home," Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said. "Yesterday, LeBron, through his essay, told us he wasn't going anywhere except Cleveland and that `Cleveland is where he always believed he would finish his career.' These words and commitment put all of us, including LeBron, in the best position to build our franchise the right way and achieve the kind of goals we all know are possible. Expectations will be at the highest levels but no one should expect immediate and automatic success."

ESPN.com first reported the contract terms for James.

His decision to come back to his native Ohio was universally applauded. In the powerful essay on SI.com, the 29-year-old laid out his reasons for returning and said his relationship with Northeast Ohio "is bigger than basketball. I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now."

Griffin echoed those sentiments.

"LeBron's motivation to return home is clearly fueled by the kind of emotions and ideals that we can and should embrace," he said. "The contract and those details are secondary to his commitment to Northeast Ohio and the Cavaliers. It extends well beyond the boundaries of basketball and speak to his love and passion for his family, home, and our fans. He communicated his role and growth as a husband, father, teammate, community leader, and business person.

"This resonated in a special and personal way for all of us. LeBron put it well when he stated; `In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.' We can't wait to get started and look forward to his leadership, on and off the court, for many years to come."

James spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Cavs, taking them to their first finals appearance in 2007. James is already the franchise leader in scoring (15,251 points), scoring average (27.8 PPG) field goals ((5,415), free throws made (3,650), steals (955) and minutes (22,119).

James is in Brazil to watch Sunday's World Cup final between Argentina and Germany.

AP Source: Anthony staying with Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) Carmelo Anthony is staying with the New York Knicks.

Anthony has decided to remain in New York, choosing the Knicks over a number of teams which could have given him a better chance for the championship he craves.

The All-Star forward met with Chicago, Houston, Dallas and the Lakers, but has informed the Knicks he will return, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because no announcement was made.

The Knicks offered Anthony a maximum contract worth nearly $130 million over five years, about $35 million more than any of his other suitors under NBA rules, though it's unknown what the final terms of his deal will be.

Yahoo Sports and the Daily News of New York first reported Anthony's plans.

Anthony came to the Knicks in February 2011 after a trade with the Denver Nuggets. He led the NBA in scoring in 2012-13 and was second last year but is more interested in team success, so he spent the last two weeks considering other homes.

But the combination of the millions more the Knicks could offer and the chance to keep playing on basketball's biggest stage was too hard to pass up for Anthony, a New York native who spent months trying for a trade to his hometown 3 1/2 years ago.

He wanted the Big Apple then and still does now.

His decision came a day after LeBron James announced he was going to sign in Cleveland, leaving Anthony as the best free agent on the market.

The Knicks did not comment. An announcement is expected Sunday.

Not even the first playoff-less season of his 11-year career convinced Anthony to leave, though he may have seriously considered it given that his decision didn't come until the 12th day of free agency.

Instead, he's putting his faith in team President Phil Jackson and coach Derek Fisher, who will try to rebuild the Knicks after they went 37-45 last season.

That poor finish gave Anthony no choice but to look at other teams, given the Knicks' salary-cap restraints and the difficulty of making enough changes to make them a contender next season.

He traveled around the country to listen to pitches, before the Knicks went to Los Angeles on July 3, offering him the max contract.

That was one of what Jackson said was perhaps five different proposals the Knicks made. Anthony has said he was open to taking less than the max and Jackson has said he hoped the star would to give the team more flexibility in the future.

Anthony spent the first 7 1/2 seasons of his career in Denver but let the Nuggets know in the summer of 2010 that he wanted a trade to New York. He finally got it the following February, the Knicks sending four of their top six players to Denver to make the deal.

New York gave Anthony and his actress wife the bigger platform they sought, but it hasn't brought him any closer to a championship. The Knicks did win the Atlantic Division and reach the second round of the playoffs in 2013, when Anthony led the league in scoring, but they quickly fell backward this season.

That was no fault of Anthony, who averaged 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in 77 games. But he didn't have nearly enough help, and the Knicks probably can't provide it until next summer, when the contracts of Amare Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani come off their books.

"There's no instantaneous winner that we think is going to happen to the Knicks right now, but we're going to be a lot better," Jackson said recently.

That was only going to happen if Anthony stayed, and the Knicks finally have word that he will.

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AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.

Orioles get only 5 hits in 3-0 loss to Yankees

BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles couldn't blame the early-evening shadows at Camden Yards for their hitting woes, nor could they cite their unfamiliarity with the opposing pitcher.

After getting handcuffed by a rookie making his second big league start, the Orioles had no excuses following their 3-0 defeat to the New York Yankees on Saturday.

All they could do was acknowledge that Shane Greene was very tough to hit.

Greene (2-0) allowed four hits in 7 1-3 innings, striking out nine - including Nelson Cruz three times - and walking two. The right-hander didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning and allowed only two runners past second base.

"We knew it coming in, that he would present a problem," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

It didn't matter that the Orioles had never seen Greene in person, or that the game started at 4:05 p.m.

"There's so much information. You watch every pitch they've thrown," Showalter said. "Four o'clock start, 1 o'clock start, 7 o'clock start, you're going to have success if you do what he did today."

After Greene left, the Orioles got one more hit off relievers David Huff, Shawn Kelley and David Robertson, the latter of whom worked a perfect ninth to secure his 23rd save.

The 3-4-5-6 hitters in the Baltimore lineup went 0 for 16 with 10 strikeouts. In addition to Cruz, Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy both struck out three times.

It was only the third loss in 12 games for the Orioles, who finished with five hits. Chris Tillman (7-5) gave up three runs, seven hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings.

"It's another one of those (performances) that kind of gets looked at but is not properly appreciated because of what the other guy was doing," Showalter said.

It was Greene's second win in six days with the Yankees, the first coming at Cleveland, where the 25-year-old allowed two runs in six innings.

After going a combined 12-10 in the minors last year, Greene was 5-2 with a 4.61 ERA this season against such teams as the Buffalo Bisons and Gwinnett Braves. Somehow, that translated into success against the Indians and AL East-leading Orioles.

"A dream come true," Greene said. "It means a lot that I got the opportunity and it means a lot that I can come up here and help the team win."

Brian McCann had three hits for the Yankees, who moved within four games of the Orioles in the AL East. New York is 3-5 against Baltimore this season.

The Yankees led 1-0 before chasing Tillman with a two-run seventh. Kelly Johnson led off with a single and advanced on a wild pitch before Derek Jeter hit a two-out RBI single to left.

That prompted the thousands of Yankees fans among the sellout crowd of 46,667 to chant "Derek Jeter! Derek Jeter!" - saluting the 40-year-old team captain who will retire after this season.

Jacoby Ellsbury greeted T.J. McFarland with a broken-bat RBI double, and the inning ended when Ellsbury was cut down at the plate trying to score on McCann's single to center.

Ellsbury was the second New York runner to be thrown out at home, although it hardly mattered as the Yankees improved to 10-32 when scoring three runs or fewer.

An RBI double by Mark Teixeira gave New York a 1-0 lead in the third, but Jeter was thrown out trying to score on the play.

That would be the Yankees' final hit until McCann singled with one out in the sixth.

Greene allowed only a walk through four innings and struck out the first two batters in the fifth before Manny Machado grounded a single to left. Ryan Flaherty also singled before Nick Hundley struck out.

New York got runners on the corners with two outs in the sixth before former Oriole Brian Roberts whiffed on a high fastball with the count 0-2.

In the bottom half, the Orioles got successive singles from Nick Markakis and Steve Pearce before Adam Jones hit into a double play and Cruz struck out.

NOTES: Chase Whitley will start for New York in Sunday night's series finale. Kevin Gausman will start for Baltimore. ... The Yankees designated RHP Matt Daley for assignment and activated LHP Jeff Francis, obtained in a trade with Oakland on Friday. ... Knowing Miguel Gonzalez wouldn't be needed before the All-Star break, Baltimore optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled C Steve Clevenger from the same club. Gonzalez will return July 22 to face the Angels, Showalter said. ... The sellout was Baltimore's second straight and seventh of the season.

Pau Gasol tweets he's joining Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls recovered quickly after losing out on Carmelo Anthony in free agency, landing Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol to bolster the team's offense.

Gasol announced on his verified Twitter account on Saturday evening that he reached agreement with the Bulls.

"It hasn't been easy," Gasol tweeted. "After meditating it a lot I've chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career."

The Spaniard is one of the NBA's most offensively gifted and versatile big men, and he has long been one of Kobe Bryant's favorite teammates with the Lakers. Gasol spent the last seven seasons in Los Angeles, teaming with Bryant to win two championships and reach another NBA Finals.

The exact terms of his agreement with the Bulls were not immediately clear. The Bulls and Lakers had reportedly been discussing sign-and-trade options earlier in the day Saturday, but no official announcement from either team had been made.

The 7-foot Gasol is a four-time All-Star and averaged 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in 60 games last season with Los Angeles, and he brings some sorely needed offensive punch to the Bulls frontcourt.

Even with Derrick Rose expected to be ready to start next season after missing most of the last two years with knee injuries, the Bulls were still very much in the hunt for some offensive help for one of the most hard-nosed defensive teams in the league.

With Rose out last season, Tom Thibodeau's group still managed to win 48 games and make the playoffs for the sixth straight season thanks largely to a defense led by Joakim Noah up front and Jimmy Butler on the perimeter. But scoring proved to be very difficult at times, and the Bulls lost to the Washington Wizards in five games of their first-round series.

That's why they were so hot after Anthony, perhaps the best pure scorer in the game. The Bulls felt he would be a perfect fit to be surrounded by a defensive-minded supporting cast. But as reports swirled that Anthony would remain with the Knicks, the Bulls didn't waste any time moving on.

Now Gasol will team with Noah, a very good passer in the high post, in a formidable frontcourt tandem.

It's also the end of an era for Gasol and the Lakers. His arrival in a trade from Memphis helped quell Bryant's dissatisfaction with the direction of the franchise after owner Jerry Buss decided to move Shaquille O'Neal and go forward with Bryant as the unquestioned face of the franchise.

He arrived in the middle of the 2007-08 season and helped the Lakers reach the finals after a three-season absence. They lost to the Boston Celtics that time, but rebounded to win the next two championships.

Gasol was the subject of trade rumors for much of his time in Los Angeles but always had the steadfast backing of Bryant. But Gasol just turned 34, battled foot injuries last season and clashed with coach Mike D'Antoni several times. D'Antoni is gone, but the Lakers are trying to preserve their long-term salary cap flexibility to make a run at another big star next summer, so bringing the aging big man back was not considered a high priority.

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Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

LeBron move makes Cavs a betting favorite in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) LeBron James says it will take time to turn the Cleveland Cavaliers into a championship team. Oddsmakers in this gambling city aren't so sure.

The decision by James to return to Cleveland immediately turned the Cavaliers from also-rans into title contenders Friday, at least at the betting window. Most sports books listed Cleveland as 4-1 favorites to win the NBA championship next season, the same odds many posted for the San Antonio Spurs to successfully defend their title.

At the same time, the Miami Heat went as high as 100-1 to win the championship, up from 3-1 when odds first were posted for next season.

"As far as basketball is concerned this kid is the biggest odds and points mover since Michael Jordan," said Jimmy Vaccaro of the South Point hotel-casino sports book. "The only thing you can compare it to is when Peyton Manning was being courted around the country. That was the only time I saw things go as wacky as this."

At the Westgate Las Vegas sports book, oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said the Cavaliers were 60-1 picks to win the NBA title when betting opened last month. That price began dropping as speculation grew that James would return to Cleveland, with some bettors taking credence in a report by the basketball news site SheridanHoops.com earlier this week that James would definitely join the Cavaliers.

Now the Westgate Las Vegas has Cleveland and San Antonio as co-favorites at 4-1, with the Heat at 100-1.

"We took a lot of money at the higher odds, but it kind of slowed down when they got in the single digits," Sherman said. "Anytime people hear speculation from the media they'll come and support it."

James told Sports Illustrated he was going to Cleveland, and the Cavaliers would be a young team that would need some time to develop before contending for a title.

"I'm not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver," James said in the piece. "We're not ready right now. No way. Of course I want to win next year, but I'm realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010."

Vaccaro said that might be true if the Cavaliers were in the Western Conference, but that the path to the finals in the Eastern Conference is much easier. The addition of James to a team that already has substantial young talent makes the Cavaliers a contender in a weaker conference, he said.

"It's still apparent the Cavaliers won't be better than the Spurs individually or better than some other teams out west," Vaccaro said. "But it's a lot easier to get to the championship rounds. If they were in the Western Conference even with LeBron they would be a fifth or sixth pick."

Sherman agreed, saying the Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder would probably still be the favorites if they ended up meeting Cleveland in the NBA Finals. Still, he said, the impact of James on the odds can't be overestimated.

"A few years back when LeBron first left for Miami the Heat went from 25-1 to 5-2 to win it all," he said. "It's somewhat similar to that, even without the other two players."

AP Sources: Bosh agrees to max deal with Heat

Chris Bosh said countless times in recent weeks that he did not want to leave Miami.

Not even LeBron James' departure changed his mind.

And shortly after the Heat took a King-sized hit, their future started coming together.

Bosh is staying in Miami, agreeing Friday to a five-year contract that will be worth about $118 million, said two people familiar with the deal. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side had confirmed it publicly.

Keeping Bosh addresses one of the Miami's top priorities after getting the news earlier in the day that James was leaving the Heat and returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There's still plenty of work for Heat President Pat Riley to do, however. But first, he and the team lauded what James meant to them over the last four seasons.

"While I am disappointed by LeBron's decision to leave Miami, no one can fault another person for wanting to return home," Riley said in a statement Friday night. "The last four years have been an incredible run for South Florida, Heat fans, our organization and for all of the players who were a part of it. LeBron is a fantastic leader, athlete, teammate and person, and we are all sorry to see him go."

Next up for the Heat: More than likely, it's a deal with Dwyane Wade, who has spent all 11 of his NBA seasons in Miami. Wade and Miami were negotiating a new contract Friday, a move that was expected from the very moment that the 2006 NBA Finals MVP opted out of a deal that would have paid him about $42 million over the next two seasons.

"I know where I'm going," Wade told The AP on Thursday, one day before James let the world that he was going elsewhere.

While Miami is working to get a Wade deal finalized, it's unclear when Bosh will actually sign his contract - though that won't hold up the Heat from making other moves. He's expected to be in Ghana until next week, which creates a logistical challenge.

Bosh is an All-Star who averaged 16.2 points on 52 percent shooting last season, and now figures to potentially get many more shots in the Heat offensive scheme. For his career, Bosh has averaged 19.2 points in 11 NBA seasons.

This much is certain: There's no shortage of openings on the Heat roster.

Miami has agreed to deals with Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, which should get finalized once the Heat figure how to allocate their spending now that James is gone. Guard Norris Cole was the only holdover from last season with a guaranteed contract, while young center Justin Hamilton has a partially guaranteed deal and point guard Shabazz Napier came to the Heat on draft night.

Wade and Udonis Haslem, who also opted out with hopes it would help the team keep James, will almost certainly be back, and the team thinks highly of James Ennis, who played overseas last season. But that means a ton of slots in the locker room at AmericanAirlines Arena that is currently being renovated - a fitting metaphor if there ever was one - will be available between now and training camp.

Riley said the Heat mantra that he, managing general partner Micky Arison and coach Erik Spoelstra have cultivated will not be changing.

"Over the last 19 years, since Micky and I teamed together, the Miami Heat has always been a championship organization," Riley said. "We've won multiple championships and competed for many others. Micky, Erik and I remain committed to doing whatever it takes to win and compete for championships for many years to come. We've proven that we can do it and we'll do it again."

Arizona reinstates Trumbo, sends Kieschnick down

PHOENIX (AP) The Arizona Diamondbacks have reinstated outfielder Mark Trumbo from the 15-day disabled list and optioned outfielder Roger Kieschnick to Triple-A Reno.

Acquired in an offseason trade with the Los Angeles Angels, Trumbo was tied for the NL lead with seven home runs and was second with 19 RBIs when he went on the DL with a stress fracture in his left foot on April 22.

The 28-year-old hit a combined .458 with five homers and 12 RBIs in seven rehab games with Reno and the AZL D-backs.

Kieschnick hit .207 with a homer and two RBIs in 19 games for Arizona.

Dempsey back from World Cup, rejoins Sounders

TUKWILA, Wash. (AP) Clint Dempsey spent time with family, did a little fishing, let his broken nose heal and mostly ignored the World Cup.

After becoming the first American to score in three World Cups, Dempsey needed a break upon his return to the United States from Brazil. So until his appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman" the other night, Dempsey was mostly away from the spotlight.

"I got away from the game. It's tough to watch the other teams still being in the competition and you are jealous because you still want to be part of things," Dempsey said Friday as he rejoined the Seattle Sounders. "I was texting with different friends and family what the scores were and stuff like that so I was still involved, just not watching the games on TV. It was good for me to get a little bit of downtime."

Dempsey hopes the U.S. loss to Belgium in the round of 16 isn't his last World Cup game. Dempsey said he wants to continue playing with the national team as long as possible, first focusing on staying with the team through the 2016 Copa America before worrying about the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Dempsey, who turned 31 in March, believes it's possible to still be in contention for a spot in Russia when he's 35.

"I want to play with the national team as long as possible. I am looking forward to push and be a part of Copa America for sure. And if you can still play at a high level and perform then, yes, you try and be one of those players that play at the international level for a long time," Dempsey said. "But you have to continue to perform. It's not about saying you want to do it and it's going to happen. You have to put in the work."

The U.S. captain noted there was an undercurrent with the American team of continuing the efforts to grow the game in the states. Dempsey said the team was well aware of the attention back home.

"You want to do well. You want to continue the growth of the game and the sport and you want to continue pushing the game in the right direction in the states, and you feel that responsibility as a player," Dempsey said.

He noted the changes that had to be made when striker Jozy Altidore went down with a hamstring injury in the first group game against Ghana. The injury forced Dempsey to play as a target forward at the top of the American attack, rather than a slightly withdrawn position where he could have seen more of the ball as a playmaker.

"Still I thought we were able to play well and get the job done," Dempsey said. "At the end of the day we just came up a little bit short in the Belgium game."

In the short term, Dempsey said he'll be ready for Sunday night's MLS game between the Sounders and rival Portland that's expected to draw another crowd of about 65,000 in Seattle. Seattle and Portland already played one wild match this season, a 4-4 draw in April where Dempsey recorded a hat trick with two late goals that rallied the Sounders for a point.

It'll be the second match this week between the Cascadia rivals after facing off in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday. Seattle beat Portland 3-1 in extra time to advance in the tournament.

"I'm back, I want to play," Dempsey said.

LeBron James says he's returning to Cavaliers

CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James is returning home to Ohio, reversing the decision he made four years ago that led to two NBA titles in Miami and crushed Cleveland Cavalier fans.

James told Sports Illustrated for a story published Friday that he was signing with the Cavaliers because his relationship with Northeast Ohio is "bigger than basketball."

"When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission," James said in the SI first-person story. "I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn't had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what's most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio."

He spent his first seven NBA seasons in Cleveland. In four years with the Heat, he went to the NBA Finals four times, winning two championships. And now heads back to Cleveland to see if he can finally deliver on his promise of winning a crown for that title-starved city.

For Cleveland, it's a new day.

For Miami, it's the end of a championship run.

"I am shocked & disappointed in today's news," Heat managing general partner Micky Arison wrote on Twitter. "However I will never forget what Lebron brought us for 4 years. Thanks for memories."

James said he will always call Miami his second home.

But the lure of his first one was simply too strong to ignore. James is from Akron, Ohio, not far from Cleveland.

"Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It's where I walked," James told SI. "It's where I ran. It's where I cried. It's where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I'm their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me.

"I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can."

He left Cleveland being called disloyal, a narcissist, a coward and a quitter - and that was all by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who wrote that infamous letter blasting James for choosing Miami.

And now James will play for Gilbert again.

"I am excited for the fans and people of Cleveland and Ohio. No fans and people deserve a winner more than them," Gilbert said on Twitter.

"I'm not having a press conference or a party," James told SI. "After this, it's time to get to work."

And with that, the "Big 3" era in Miami ends much sooner than the Heat expected.

James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade all exercised options in their contracts to become free agents this summer, but the thinking was that they would re-do their deals to give the team financial flexibility in an effort to make upgrades to the roster.

Instead, the game's biggest star is heading back to his roots. Bosh may now leave as well, with widespread reports that the Houston Rockets are preparing to give him a four-year contract offer worth about $88 million. And the Heat face a decidedly uncertain future, a stunning twist for a franchise that has won the last four Eastern Conference titles.

Wade and Bosh all opted out this summer, as did longtime Heat forward Udonis Haslem, and those were considered good signs in a plan to keep James.

Turns out, they were gambles that didn't pay off.

"I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB," James told SI. "We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to (Mario Chalmers). I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that's exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I've talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life.

"I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years," James added.

Bosh has made no decisions yet about what he'll do, a person familiar with his thinking told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the All-Star has not announced anything publicly.

James doesn't turn 30 until December, so it's safe to say that he just may be reaching his peak.

And the numbers he's put up in his first 11 NBA seasons already make him a lock to finish among the league's all-time greats.

He's already 27th all-time in scoring with 23,170 points, and could climb into the top 20 next season. Since he entered the league as the No. 1 overall pick by the Cavaliers in 2003, no one has logged more minutes, scored more points or had a better plus-minus ratio than James. His teams have outscored opponents by a staggering 3,743 points with him on the floor over that span; for comparison's sake, Dwight Howard is No. 2 on that list, with a plus-2,312 ratio.

Only Tony Parker and Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs have appeared in more regular-season wins over the last 11 years than James. And he just seems to keep getting better; this past season was his seventh straight year where he posted a career-best in field-goal percentage, shooting just under 57 percent.

"I'm ready to accept the challenge," James wrote. "I'm coming home."

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Tim Reynolds reported from Las Vegas and Tom Withers reported from Cleveland

Jackets sign Dubinsky to $35M deal for 6 years

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Brandon Dubinsky, the player seen as the face of the rising Columbus Blue Jackets, signed a six-year contract extension worth $35.1 million that will keep him with the club through the 2020-21 season.

Dubinsky was entering the last year of a contract with a $4.2-million cap hit. The new deal pays him $5.85 million per season.

He said it was a meeting of minds and not just on the contract terms.

"It's the commitment to winning," the 28-year-old center said at a news conference on Friday after the deal was announced. "(Management) has said they want to win here. I want to win. Our interests were aligned."

Dubinsky was acquired two years ago in the blockbuster deal with the New York Rangers for Rick Nash that also brought center Artem Anisimov, defenseman Tim Erixon and a first-round draft pick to the Blue Jackets. He has scored 18 goals with 52 assists and a +7 plus/minus rating in 105 games the past two seasons, including 16 goals and a career-high 34 assists a year ago while leading the franchise into the postseason for only the second time.

He was at his best in last season's six-game playoff series with division rival Pittsburgh, scoring a goal with five assists while frequently matched up against Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, who didn't score a goal in the series.

Dubinsky chalked up perhaps the biggest goal in franchise history in Game 4, scoring the tying goal with 22.5 seconds left in regulation when goalie Marc Andre-Fleury mishandled a puck behind the net. The Blue Jackets won in overtime - their first playoff victory ever at home - on Nick Foligno's goal.

"This is a well-earned contract for a player who is a leader on our team and plays at his best when it counts the most," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "He's a Blue Jacket. He plays like we want every Blue Jacket to play."

Dubinsky was tied for 10th in the NHL in short-handed points with two goals and two assists last season and ranked 13th in the league in hits with 234.

On a team that did not select a captain but rotated alternate captains, he was frequently the player most vocal after a lethargic loss and quickest to deflect the praise after a win. Most observers believe if the Blue Jackets finally do name a captain, it will be the fiery Dubinsky.

"It's going to be obvious who it is," Kekalainen said of the potential candidates.

Dubinsky, who said he relishes the simplicity of life in Columbus after his years in New York, said no one on the team is concerned about who has the C on his sweater.

"Everyone's always anxious to have a captain, but there's a lot of guys on this team who lead," he said.

Columbus has also discussed a contract extension with franchise goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, the 2013 Vezina Trophy winner as the top netminder in the NHL. He can become a restricted free agent after next season.

Kekalainen is still negotiating with prized top-line center Ryan Johansen, a 21-year-old restricted free agent who is due a huge pay increase after a 63-point season (33 goals, 30 assists). If any team offers him a contract, the Blue Jackets would have to match it to retain him beyond next season.

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Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP

Twins to sell self-serve beer at All-Star Game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) It's BYOB at the home of the Minnesota Twins for this week's All Star Game.

As in, Be Your Own Bartender.

Just in time for the Home Run Derby, Target Field in Minneapolis put in two self-serve beer machines in the stands behind first and third base, letting thirsty fans pick a brew, pour and pay by the ounce. The pour-your-own stations are unique among the 100-plus stadiums and arenas in the four major professional sports in the United States - though not the first of their kind, a concessions consultant said.

They're not about boosting sales, cutting labor costs or shortening lines, said Delaware North Companies general manager Pete Spike, who provides concessions at Target Field. And it's too early to say whether the machines are the future of beer concessions - or even whether Target Field will add more.

For now, they're just something new.

"It's a novelty. That's one thing that parks have lost over the years," Spike said. "You used to be able to get ice cream in a special package you couldn't get anywhere else. Now, you can get it everywhere. This is merely something fun."

After an ID check - "Just because it's self-serve doesn't mean it's unmonitored," Twins spokesman Chris Iles said - fans buy a card pre-loaded with $10, $20 or $40. Then they hop in line for their beer of choice: Budweiser and Bud Light for 38 cents an ounce (a little over $6 for a pint), or Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale and Shock Top's Lemon Shandy for 40 cents per ounce. The self-pouring is monitored, too, to stop anyone who may be overserving themselves.

Grab a cup, tap the beer card and pour.

The Twins sold about 100 beer cards with just one machine running during its debut for a July 6 home game against the Yankees, Spike said.

Add a second station, a week of media coverage on the machines and an estimated 80,000 baseball fans between Monday's Home Run Derby and the All Star Game on Tuesday, and Spike expects a rush of thirsty fans.

Twins fan and beer drinker Jim Landry said he thinks too many steps make the new machines a hindrance rather than a convenience.

"I don't see the point," he said. "I'd rather go to a beer guy to get a beer."

Food service consultant Chris Bigelow isn't sold on the idea either. He heard about the beer stations - the only ones he's aware of at current pro sports venues - and remembered a similar self-serve beer concept at the Detroit Red Wings' home arena in the early `80s.

Fans had trouble properly pouring a beer, making the process messy and slow, and the idea was quickly scrapped, Bigelow said.

"They were wasting a lot of beer," he said. "They found that it was terrible."

Target Field's new machines have LCD screens with pouring instructions behind each set of taps, but Spike said they ran into a few hiccups with messy pours on a test run last week, especially after the machines sat idle.

The stations will stay at Target Field for the rest of the season, and plans for expansion or changes will depend on fan feedback.

Bigelow applauded Twins concessionaires for being creative, but doubts the machines will become the norm at stadiums.

"All I will say is good luck with that," he said. "Do I think it's going to replace normal beer equipment? Probably not."

AP source: Suns reach 3-year deal with Tucker

PHOENIX (AP) The Phoenix Suns have reached an agreement with forward P.J. Tucker on a three-year contract worth $16.5 million with the third year only partially guaranteed.

A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed the contract details on Thursday, requesting anonymity because the deal had not been officially announced.

Tucker was the top defender and acknowledged leader in the Suns' surprising turnaround last season. He was a restricted free agent and several teams had shown an interest in him.

Tucker's agreement was first reported by azcentral sports, which includes the Arizona Republic.

The person also confirmed that restricted free agent Isaiah Thomas visited the Suns on Thursday with more meetings set for Friday.

The Suns envision Thomas as a third point guard behind the double-point guard starting duo of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.

Adding Thomas would create a crowd at point guard. The Suns also have Ish Smith, second-year pro Archie Goodwin and first-round draft pick Tyler Ennis at the position.

Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists last season with the Sacramento Kings, who are not expected to match any significant offer sheet he signs.

Phoenix, with a load of cap space and a talented young roster, made a long-shot run at LeBron James before turning its attention elsewhere.

The person emphasized that the talks with Thomas are unrelated to Bledsoe's situation.

Bledsoe is a restricted free agent but general manager Ryan McDonough has said the Suns would match any offer sheet he signs. The Suns are attempting to reach an agreement with Bledsoe before he inks any offer. Bledsoe's agent, Rich Paul, also represents James, and could be occupied by those negotiations.

Tucker was the heart of the energized Suns team that went 48-34 and just missed the playoffs in the tough Western Conference. Tucker, who played at Texas and helped recruit Kevin Durant to the Longhorns, was with Toronto as a rookie in 2006-07, then played in Israel, Ukraine, Greece, Italy and Germany before coming to the Suns in 2012.

The 6-foot-5 small forward started all but one game, averaging a career-high 9.4 points per game. He shot 39 percent from 3-point range, almost always from the corner.

Earlier, Phoenix lost forward Channing Frye, who agreed to a contract with the Orlando Magic.

As LeBron decides, Miami and Cleveland wait

When it comes to LeBron James, all that's certain is this: One fan base is about to feel scorned, and other is about to feel absolute joy.

Miami or Cleveland?

The same choice he faced four years ago is the one facing the four-time NBA MVP now. He became a champion in Miami. He still calls Ohio home. It's obviously not an easy decision, and the ramifications of what he's about to say - it's still unclear when any announcement will be coming, but it's more than likely sooner than later - will have a massive impact on the Heat and the Cavaliers.

For the Heat, keeping James is likely the only way they can stay a championship-contending team for a fifth straight season next year. If he stays, it would seem likely that Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would re-sign with Miami as well, keeping the "Big 3" that has played in each of the last four NBA Finals intact for at least another season.

For the Cavaliers, it's a chance to welcome home the player who fans - and the team's owner Dan Gilbert - directed so much scorn toward when he left in 2010 after seven brilliant seasons.

James left Las Vegas late Thursday, two people close to the situation told The Associated Press. One of those people said James and Wade were flying together to Miami, and that James would be continuing on from there for his long-planned trip to Brazil for the World Cup finals. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because none of the details were revealed publicly.

Earlier Thursday, James again appeared at his skills academy for the nation's top high school and college players, scrimmaging and then watching games in the afternoon with some friends, including Wade. Meanwhile, in Bath Township, Ohio, cars lined the streets near James' 30,000-square-foot mansion in anticipation of an announcement. People posed for photographs and TV news crews did remote reports from the driveway of his offseason home.

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As he makes his choice, here's some things he may be considering about returning to Cleveland:

BUSINESS HEADQUARTERS: Northeast Ohio is where James and his close friends grew up. He has business interests in the Cleveland area. He and his LRMR agency recently signed popular college quarterback Johnny Manziel to a marketing deal. Manziel now plays for the Browns.

YOUNG ROSTER: Although the Cavaliers haven't made the playoffs since he left, they can offer James a young roster filled with potential and promise. They're led by All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who recently agreed to sign a five-year contract extension, and the Cavs also have two other No. 1 overall draft picks in Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins.

COACHING STAFF: Cleveland's coaching situation could be a concern. The Cavs are on their third coach since James left and the team recently hired David Blatt, an international icon but someone who has not coached in the U.S. before. The Cavs did hire well-respected assistant Tyronn Lue, who has a strong relationship with James.

CAVS ASSETS: The Cavs have assets they could trade to bring another elite player to Cleveland and have had preliminary talks with Minnesota about a deal for forward Kevin Love.

OWNER: The biggest obstacle in James' possible return could be his relationship with Gilbert. In the hours after James left four years ago, Gilbert blistered James in a scathing letter to Cleveland fans. In an AP interview that same night, Gilbert said James quit during the playoffs.

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And while James has strong ties to Ohio, he has also forged them in Miami.

PROVEN WINNERS: Instead of potential, the Heat are proven champions. James has been to four straight NBA Finals with Miami, winning two championships. They have made good on the promise Heat President Pat Riley made to James four years ago: Come to Miami, be part of something special, and compete for titles every year.

COACHING STAFF: There hasn't been turnover in Miami's coaching staff and front office since James joined the Heat. He's played for just one coach, Erik Spoelstra, and Riley has championship pedigree.

OWNER: Unlike the situation with Gilbert, there's no rancor with Heat owner Micky Arison. The Heat have preached a family approach to everything, even allowing members of James' inner circle access to the locker room and other team areas - no minor thing within the framework of the Heat culture.

BIG 3: James came to Miami in large part to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, both of whom also are free agents. It's hard to envision Bosh staying if James leaves. It's easy to see both Wade and Bosh recommitting instantly, if James decides to stay in Miami.

MIAMI INVESTMENTS: His wife has a juice bar in the Brickell neighborhood of Miami and James is said to be investing in a chain of pizza restaurants coming soon to South Florida. He doesn't have Miami roots, but he's created ties to South Florida nonetheless.

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It's easy to see why James is torn.

Whether it was one of Gilbert's planes coming to South Florida, or movers packing up James' luxury cars from his Coconut Grove, Florida home, or reports that a cupcake shop in Ohio had heard from people that James had already decided to return to Cleveland, any nugget of information sets the rumor mill into overdrive.

But his camp says he has all the information needed to make a decision.

The ball is now in LeBron James' hands.

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Reynolds reported from Las Vegas and Withers reported from Cleveland.

Yankees' Tanaka has partially torn elbow ligament

CLEVELAND (AP) Masahiro Tanaka has a partially torn ligament in his right elbow, and the New York Yankees hope their rookie sensation will be able to pitch again this season.

General manager Brian Cashman said Thursday night that Tanaka could return in six weeks, but didn't rule out the possibility of Tommy John surgery if the right-hander doesn't respond to a rehab program.

Cashman said Tanaka saw three doctors, including Yankees head physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad, and all three agreed that a six-week rehab program was the best option at this time.

"If we knew today that the best course of action was Tommy John surgery, despite the name and the amount of the investment, we would be doing Tommy John surgery," Cashman said.

The injury is a huge blow to a battered Yankees rotation already missing CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda to injuries. Tanaka had been a stabilizing ace in his first season since arriving from Japan.

Tanaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and had an MRI in New York, one day after his worst major league outing. He flew from New York to Seattle, where Ahmad was attending a conference.

Tanaka, who is tied for the major league lead with 12 wins, allowed five runs and 10 hits - both career highs - over 6 2-3 innings Tuesday night in a 5-3 loss to the Indians.

The All-Star is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 18 starts, but has lost three of his past four outings.

"Certainly disappointed for our player, for our organization," Cashman said. "He's been an important piece. We have a tremendously gifted and tough player. We'll see how he responds."

The Yankees signed the 25-year-old Tanaka to a $155 million, seven-year contract in January after he had a standout career in Japan. New York also paid $20 million to his Japanese team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, for his rights.

Tanaka has held together the Yankees' depleted rotation. Sabathia is expected to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, and Nova had Tommy John surgery and won't pitch again until next year.

New York began the day three games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East.

Elbow ligament-replacement surgery, commonly called Tommy John surgery, would almost certainly sideline Tanaka for at least a year.

Clippers trial put on hold past Tuesday deadline

LOS ANGELES (AP) A trial that could determine the fate of the Los Angeles Clippers was delayed Thursday until after a deadline to conclude a $2 billion sale - and a scheduled NBA vote on the deal - but there is hope for more time.

Donald Sterling has vowed never to sell the team and he's trying to block his wife's single-handed deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Attorneys for Shelly Sterling have accused his side of stalling tactics.

Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas put off the next hearing until July 21 because two of Sterling's lawyers had plans for a vacation and a wedding anniversary. He set closing arguments for July 28.

That's well past the expiration of Ballmer's offer next Tuesday - the same day that the NBA is supposed to vote on it - and there is no deal without the judge's approval of the sale.

Ballmer's lawyer, Adam Streisand, said outside court that there's a provision to extend the deadline another month as long as progress is being made in court.

However, it leaves the team's future dangling.

If the sale isn't completed by Sept. 15, the league has said it could seize the team and put it up for auction.

Shelly Sterling testified Thursday that she took on the role of selling the Clippers because the NBA had banned her husband from the league for life for making racist remarks.

Sterling said she believed that her husband wanted to sell in order to keep the NBA from confiscating the team.

"Every day, he would ask me, `Who did you interview? What did they offer?' I would give him a report every day," she said.

Ballmer's offer - which would be a record for an NBA team - was the highest of four offers she obtained.

"I thought it was fabulous," she said.

Donald Sterling told her "he was very happy and proud of me," she said.

But what it came to signing off on the deal at the end of May, everything changed.

"He started screaming and cursing at me," she said. "He said he's not going to sell the team. He's going to sue the league."

Mrs. Sterling also said she feared players and sponsors would boycott if her husband held on to the team.

Donald Sterling contends that his wife had no right under a family trust that owns the Clippers to single-handedly make the deal. Mrs. Sterling contends she had the authority.

In earlier testimony, two doctors hired by Mrs. Sterling to examine him declared that the 80-year-old had Alzheimer's disease and was mentally incapable to act as administrator of the trust.

In his own testimony Tuesday, he alternately declared his love for his wife of 58 years with tears and then demeaned her as a woman intimidated by the "bad NBA" and incapable of handling such a large financial transaction. Before taking the witness stand, he kissed her.

But on Wednesday, he yelled "get away from me, you pig!" when she tried to approach him after her first day of testimony.

Chicago panel expands Wrigley Field makeover

CHICAGO (AP) Wrigley Field took a step in the direction of every major league baseball park in the country Thursday when a city commission unanimously approved a major expansion of planned renovations including several more electronic signs and erecting a Jumbotron in the iconic home of the Chicago Cubs.

After more than a dozen people spoke on behalf of long suffering Cubs fans - discussing the neighborhood, the rooftop venues across the street and even birds that fly over the famous ballpark - the city's landmarks commission agreed without any debate to a renovation project that is dramatically bigger than a $500 million plan approved last year.

Besides the Jumbotron above the ivy-covered outfield leftfield wall and another electronic sign above the right field wall that it already approved, the commission agreed to the Cubs request to add five more electronic signs, expand the bleachers, erect outfield light standards and build bullpens beneath the bleachers. Expansion of the bleachers could begin as soon as the baseball season is over, the team said.

If the city council gives final approval to the Wrigley makeover, the century-old ballpark packed into an urban neighborhood could have a more modern look, much to the dismay of the owners of buildings across the street, who fear the signs will block the view of fans who watch the games from rooftops.

The rooftop owners all but promised a lawsuit if the Cubs go ahead with the expanded renovation.

"If it looks like it violates our contract, we'll have to take action accordingly," said Ryan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the rooftop owners.

But the team apparently has run out of patience.

"We cannot wait any longer," said Crane Kenney, the Cubs president of business operations.

Cubs' owners have said the renovations are essential to bringing in more revenue for the team, which hasn't won a World Series since 1908, the longest losing drought in Major League Baseball.

The Cubs' ownership on Thursday did not sound like they were willing to entertain the solution put forth recently by the rooftop owners, who pay the team a chunk of their revenues under a 20-year agreement. The rooftop owners want the team to limit the number of signs to two and forget about the other five.

"We got approval for seven signs," Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, said after the nearly four-hour meeting. The Ricketts family, whose scion Joe Ricketts founded the online brokerage company Ameritrade, bought the Cubs in 2009 and has been sparring with the rooftop owners since.

The commission was required to vote on the project because Wrigley is a landmark. The issue now goes to the City Council for final approval. The councilman for the neighborhood including Wrigley voiced his opposition to the commission even voting on the project, saying neither he nor the community had been given a chance to express their concerns.

"What we're doing today is not fair," Alderman Tom Tunney told the commission. "You know it."

But while other members of the council often defer to the wishes of the local representative, they also are known to do what Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants. He has touted the renovation as creating jobs and bringing revenue to the city.

The commission vote may have moved the renovation closer to reality, but one thing is clear: Nobody is touching the ivy. That issue was settled weeks ago when the Cubs retreated from a proposal to tear out several feet of ivy to accommodate the bullpens.

When the ivy climbs one of the most famous brick walls in the United States it is, in itself, a protected landmark.

Indians rock Derek Jeter with going-away gifts

CLEVELAND (AP) The Cleveland Indians put a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame touch on their going-away gifts for Derek Jeter.

The New York Yankees shortstop, who hit his first major league home run in Cleveland, made his final regular-season appearance in the city Thursday night. Before the game, the Indians gave him a Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. The white guitar with blue Yankees pinstripes was inscribed with Jeter's No. 2 and the words, "The Captain."

Cleveland players Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi, former teammates of Jeter's with the Yankees, presented him with the guitar. Indians President Mark Shapiro and manager Terry Francona were also on hand for the on-field ceremony.

Wayne Peltz, the Indians' assistant visiting clubhouse manager, also presented Jeter with a Lego mosaic of the 14-time All-Star hitting his first career homer off Dennis Martinez on opening day of the 1996 season. Peltz has designed mosaics for several other major leaguers.

Brandon Phillips to have surgery Friday

CINCINNATI (AP) Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is expected to miss six weeks after he has surgery on Friday to repair torn ligaments in his left thumb.

Phillips injured his thumb diving for a ground ball in the eighth inning Wednesday night and an MRI on Thursday morning revealed torn ligaments. The four-time Gold Glove winner is hitting 272 with seven homers and 40 RBIs in 86 game.

"It is a big blow. Brandon is a big two-way player. He has hit in the middle of the order most of the year. Defensively, he has been spectacular. It is a blow, but we'll weather it," Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Phillips, 32, was moved down one spot to third in the batting order when Joey Votto missed 15 days earlier in May.

The Reds purchased the contract of infielder Kristopher Negron from Triple-A Louisville on Thursday, before they got the results of Phillips' MRI.

"We'll use Ramon Santiago there," Price said of second base. "Skip Schumaker will play there and all over the place."

The team placed Votto on the disabled list earlier in the week with soreness in his left thigh.

The Reds' 37 errors are the fewest in the major leagues. Phillips made just one error in 378 total chances, fifth in the National League.

Zack Cozart, the Reds' shortstop, will be affected most by Phillips' absence.

"It is going to be tough for our team," Cozart said. "Brandon and I work well together up the middle. Injuries happen. Joey's (Votto) hurt. We have to figure out a way to win."

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