Gio sharp, Anderson shaky in A's loss to Reds


Gio sharp, Anderson shaky in A's loss to Reds


PHOENIX (AP) Any young first baseman in the Cincinnati Reds' organization knows the path to the big leagues usually requires a detour.With reigning MVP Joey Votto a fixture at first base in Cincinnati, Yonder Alonso has been spending time this spring learning to play the outfield. The Reds are eager to find any way to get Alonso into the majors because of swings like the one he took on Tuesday.Alonso hit a two-run homer in the Reds' 7-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics. It was his first homer of the spring."He was sitting on the pitch middle-in, and he got his pitch and turned on it," said Reds bench coach Chris Speier, who managed the split-squad team. "That's a great thing to see."Alonso, 23, has been working out with Reds outfield coach Billy Hatcher to learn the new position. A former No. 1 pick, Alonso hasn't played the outfield in a game, but he is expected to do so later this spring.Alonso's two-run homer, off A's lefty Brett Anderson, followed Jonny Gomes' two-run shot earlier in the fourth inning, giving the Reds a 4-1 lead.The Reds did not have a batter reach base in the first three innings, striking out five times in the first two innings against A's lefty Gio Gonzalez."He was amazing," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "He threw 95 and was hitting his spots. He had a great curve ball. Very impressive. A very nice first game."Gonzalez threw first-pitch strikes to all six batters he faced. He said that was a point of emphasis for him this spring. Last year, even though he had a 15-victory season, he still issued 4.1 walks per nine innings, highest among A's starters."That's a good hitting lineup," Gonzalez said. "You don't want to fall behind. You want to get ahead and put them away quickly before they start a rally."Reds starter Mike Leake, vying for Cincinnati's No. 5 starter job, gave up one run in two innings in his first start of the spring.Oakland's two new free-agent relievers, Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour, each made their debuts. Fuentes pitched a scoreless inning and Balfour gave up three runs.A's designated hitter Chris Carter, one of the club's top hitting prospects, had two hits and an RBI.Trailing 7-1, Oakland scored five runs in the final three innings to get within a run. The final two runs scored after the Reds made two errors, a bad throw by third baseman Junior Arias and a dropped fly ball by center fielder Felix Perez.NOTES: A's OF David DeJesus (illness) is expected to return to the lineup on Wednesday. ... RHP Andrew Bailey, who is recovering from elbow surgery, threw a 40-pitch bullpen session with hitters standing in. Bailey is expected to make his spring debut next week. ... Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson will be in A's camp for a week, working with the players on baserunning, bunting and outfield play.

NBA: Cousins didn't foul Wade on late missed dunk; Kings center responds

NBA: Cousins didn't foul Wade on late missed dunk; Kings center responds

A day later, the NBA confirmed what most people in the United Center felt.

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins didn't foul Bulls guard Dwyane Wade on a dunk attempt with 12.8 seconds remaining in Saturday night's game, the league announced in its Last Two Minute report on Sunday.

The NBA deemed it an "incorrect call" and issued the following comment:

"Cousins (SAC) has his hand on Wade's (CHI) back while he is airborne, but he does not extend his arm and push him and the contact does not affect the shot attempt."

Shortly after the NBA put out their report, Cousins offered his take on their ruling:

"Yeah thanks the team feels so much better now that it's cleared up!" Cousins wrote on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

During the game on Saturday, Cousins couldn't believe he had been called for a foul. After the game, which the Kings lost 102-99, the team kept the doors to the locker room closed for a lengthy period of time. When the media was finally allowed in, Cousins had calmed down.

"They made the absolute right call. Incredible job by the referee crew tonight. I don't have a complaint in the world. They should get more recognition on how well they ref these games. They don't get the credit they deserve, so kudos to them. I applaud them," Cousins said after the game.

49ers' Smith, Raiders' Williams not among Walter Payton Man of the Year finalists

49ers' Smith, Raiders' Williams not among Walter Payton Man of the Year finalists

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Panthers tight end Greg Olsen are the three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Fitzgerald, one of the top receivers in the league, has made grants of more than one million dollars for the "First Down Fund."

The fund promotes reading and technology access for kids from kindergarten through 12th grade as well as supports efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer and support breast cancer survivors. 

Also, the fund makes grants to the American Cancer Society as well as breast cancer organizations based in Arizona and Minnesota, for activities such as education, support groups, and free mammograms. 

Fitzgerald was a finalist in 2012.

Olsen founded "Receptions for Research" after watching his mother deal with breast cancer in 2009.

The foundation’s program focuses on cancer research, support and education programming.

The program has distributed more than $520,000 to six hospitals and foundations.

The program’s most notable and largest fundraiser, Kicks for a Cure, has raised over $850,000 in its eight year history.

Olsen was previously nominated in 2015.

Manning is a two-time Super Bowl winner. He supports "Tackle Kids Cancer" at the Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center. Their research team gives patients access to more than 100 cutting-edge clinical trials to combat pediatric cancer.

Manning has volunteered for the "Tackle Kids Cancer" campaign since the start of the 2015 season and has visited the Children’s Cancer Institute.

Manning was previously nominated from 2007-2013 and was a finalist in 2015.

The winner will be announced the week of the Super Bowl in Houston.