Any remaining question about whether the Braves are rebuild mode was answered Wednesday when they agreed to trade traded slugger Evan Gattis to the Houston Astros for a package of prospects, a person familiar with the situation said.
Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is the favorite to land the Atlanta Falcons head-coaching job, according to league sources, now that former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has landed in New York as the Jets' new head coach.
NEW YORK — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, a trio of star pitchers who dominated in an era of offense, were elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday along with Craig Biggio, the first time since 1955 writers selected four players in one year.
The 2014 Rome Braves field staff has been announced and Randy Ingle returns as the team’s manager. Ingle, in his 24th season as a manager, was in Danville last season after skippering the Rome club for five seasons from 2006 – 2010 and again in 2012 and 2013.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was undergoing tests and will spend the night in the hospital after being involved in a two-vehicle crash not far from the team's stadium in Charlotte, the team said Tuesday.
Several internet sites are reporting former University of Florida football coach and Darlington alum Will Muschamp may have been offered the defensive coordinator position at both Auburn and Texas A&M.
DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. -- The man who paid Georgia running back Todd Gurley $400 for signing about 80 items in the passenger's seat of a 2002 Lexus earlier this year says he never intended to hurt Gurley or the Georgia football program.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The student code of conduct hearing involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is scheduled to begin Tuesday, approximately two years after a female student said he sexually assaulted her in December 2012.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Amari Cooper tied his own school record with 224 yards receiving and caught three touchdown passes in No. 2 Alabama's 55-44 comeback victory over No. 15 Auburn on Saturday night in the highest-scoring Iron Bowl.
ATHENS — Harrison Butker kicked a career-long 53-yard field goal on the final play of regulation Saturday, and D.J. White picked off a pass in overtime to preserve No. 16 Georgia Tech's 30-24 victory over No. 8 Georgia in a game filled with bizarre plays.
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Marcus Murphy scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 12-yard run with 4:38 remaining and Markus Golden recovered a fumble to seal No. 17 Missouri's 21-14 victory Friday against Arkansas and send the Tigers to the SEC championship game for the second straight season.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky and No. 17 Georgia are both looking to bounce back from difficult losses and keep their postseason hopes on track.
The visiting Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference, No. 20 CFP) aim for their fifth straight win over the Wildcats (5-4, 2-4) Saturday as they try to stay within reach of first-place Missouri in the Eastern Division.
Kentucky wants to end a three-game losing streak that has stalled the rebuilding Wildcats' quest for becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.
That mutual urgency could set the stage for another tense meeting between the schools.
Georgia owns this series 53-12-2, but beating the Wildcats in Lexington has been tough with seven points or fewer deciding three of the past four games at Commonwealth Stadium.
Georgia coach Mark Richt is certainly wary of Kentucky.
"We just know we've got our hands full," he said. "It's the seventh time I've gone to this stadium and I can't think of one game that we had there that didn't have a lot of drama, didn't have a lot of questions who's going to win it until the very end."
The Bulldogs certainly need something in their favor after last week's stunning 38-20 loss to the Gators essentially took them out of the national championship playoff picture. Georgia's upside is being just a half-game behind Missouri (4-1) in the East and holding a tiebreaker over the Tigers with last month's shutout win in Columbia.
Kentucky and its 21 departing seniors meanwhile would love to dash Georgia's dream and enter the bowl picture by winning their home finale. The Wildcats' last win over the Bulldogs was 2009 in Athens, Georgia, (34-27) and they haven't beaten them at Commonwealth since 2006 (24-20).
After losses to LSU, top-ranked Mississippi State and Missouri, they definitely need one.
Said Kentucky defensive end and Georgia native Bud Dupree, "it would mean a lot to me and the fellow seniors to go out and win and give the program the boost that we've been working so hard for. It would just put us in the (position) to get a bowl."
Here are other things to look for when Kentucky hosts Georgia on Saturday:
STOPPING NICK CHUBB: Georgia freshman tailback Nick Chubb has been rolling in the absence of suspended Todd Gurley, who returns next week. He has rushed 89 times for 501 yards and four touchdowns in starting the past three games and has 725 yards and 6 TDs. His fast, hard-charging style poses a big challenge for Kentucky's run defense that ranks next to last in the SEC at 188.6 yards allowed per contest.
FASTER START: Sluggish beginnings explain Kentucky's recent skid that has forced the Wildcats to play catch-up. They can't do that against the SEC's top scoring offense (40.5 points per game), which means they're going to have to be awake and alert with the noon start and produce.
HUTSON MASON: Kentucky's priority is slowing Georgia's formidable ground game, but the secondary must also be ready for the Bulldogs' senior QB. Mason has completed nearly 68 percent of his passes for 1,341 yards and 11 TDs with just three interceptions.
TAKEAWAY EXPERTS: Both teams protect the ball, which will be necessary in a game matching opportunistic defenses. Georgia enters as the nation's second-ranked team in turnover margin at plus-13 and averaging 1.63 per game. Kentucky is among a bunch of schools at plus-8 and tied for 17th at .89 per contest.
OVER SO SOON? Saturday's game marks an unusually early home finale for Kentucky, which travels to Tennessee next week and has a bye before closing the season at Louisville on Thanksgiving weekend. Renovation of Commonwealth Stadium will ramp up immediately afterward with the $120 million project expected to be completed by next season, when the Wildcats have eight home games scheduled.
AP Sports Writer Paul Newberry in Athens contributed to this story.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Coach Mike Smith can't seem to pull the Atlanta Falcons from their two-year rut on the road.
The Falcons haven't done much right since losing last year's opener at New Orleans, dropping 10 of 11 road games as they prepare to visit Tampa Bay this weekend.
Smith hopes to reverse the trend by finishing games better. A fourth-quarter meltdown as the home team two weeks ago in London gave the Falcons a seven-game losing streak away from the Georgia Dome.
"These guys have worked extremely hard," Smith said Wednesday. "During the week, they are doing what we ask them to do, but it's not transferring to 60 minutes in a football game."
The last-second loss to the Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium has been hard for the team to shake.
Atlanta, which has been outscored 75-28 in the fourth quarter of its seven-game skid, blew a 21-0 halftime lead to Detroit.
The debacle set off another round of speculation that Smith could get fired — even before the season ends — but quarterback Matt Ryan insists that Smith has not lost the players' attention.
"You can't worry about all the things being said outside this building," Ryan said. "When things are not going your way and you're not winning games, there is going to be criticism. We understand that."
Before Smith was hired in January 2008, Atlanta was known mostly for losing. The franchise had never achieved consecutive winning records since its debut in 1966, but Smith pulled off the feat four times, leading the Falcons to a pair of NFC South titles and four playoff appearances.
On the road, Smith's first five teams went 22-18, not including postseason losses at Arizona and the New York Giants, but it's been a struggle ever since.
"We haven't finished games on the road like we need to," Smith said. "I'd say that's probably the thing that stands out over the span you're talking about."
These kinds of problems are nothing new for running back Steven Jackson, who, as the NFL's leading active rusher, has never played on a team that finished the season above .500.
After getting drafted by St. Louis in the first round of 2004, Jackson played for Mike Martz, Scott Linehan, Steve Spagnuolo, Jeff Fisher and interim coaches Joe Vitt and Jim Haslett. Jackson's teams have gone combined 50-117-1, but he's hoping the Falcons play well enough for Smith keep his job.
"Unfortunately, I'm a veteran at the bad situations, so I've just got to encourage my teammates and the coaching staff that the 53 men in this locker room are going to get us out of this hole," Jackson said. "We've just got to continue to focus on that."
Atlanta's offense has been undermined by injuries on the line — four starters have been lost for the season — and Ryan can't get in consistent rhythm with his receivers. Jackson and his three backups — Jacquizz Rodgers, Antone Smith and Devonta Freeman — have been inconsistent.
The defense is one of the NFL's worst, ranking last in total yards, last in sacks, fifth-worst in scoring and eighth-worst against the run.
A trip to Tampa Bay (1-7) could be just what the Falcons (2-6) need as they try to draw confidence from Week 3, when they beat the Buccaneers 56-14.
But Ryan believes the team needs to stay focused on the present, not looking back and looking ahead.
"You can't do it all in one week," Ryan said. "We've got to focus on this week, but I like the guys that we have, coaching staff and players included."
American tennis pro Melanie Oudin says she will have a procedure Thursday for a heart condition, then surgery later this month for an eye problem.
"I don't think my luck could get any worse. I just can't wait for 2014 to be over," the 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinalist said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday. "A heart thing this week, and then an eye thing after that. I have lots going on."
The 23-year-old Oudin said that for more than a year, she has been experiencing occasional "episodes" of an accelerated heartbeat, usually during — or right after — matches.
"I was convinced it was some sort of anxiety," she said. "It's been really frustrating. I played through matches having it, because I never really knew what it was. I would try to relax and take some deep breaths and let my body relax, and then I felt better. It kind of sounds like an anxiety attack."
Oudin said she went for a medical check last year on her heart, but "everything came back completely normal, and I had every test in the book."
Later in 2013, Oudin was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis (rab-doe-my-OL-uh-sis), a muscle-damaging condition which may be caused by intense exertion.
She said she was told by doctors there is no connection between that condition and her accelerated heartbeat, which she said was diagnosed last month as a form of arrhythmia known as atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia.
Oudin has been ranked as high as 31st and is currently 165th and looking for a new coach after ending her work with the U.S. Tennis Association.
In September 2009, at age 17, she followed up a run to Wimbledon's fourth round with an attention-grabbing series of surprising victories, including against Maria Sharapova, to get to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.
Oudin, who is from Marietta, Georgia, will have Thursday's procedure in Atlanta and, while saying "it's not open-heart surgery," she added, "Because it's my first surgery ever, and something to do with my heart, it's a little scary."
"We are hoping that after I have this, hopefully I'll never, ever have to deal with it again," Oudin said. "I'll never have to deal with it during matches; of course it's been in my head. I feel terrible when it happens and I'm trying to play."
Next will be the operation for what she called "a growth in my eye from the sun, being out in the sun so much."
Oudin expects to be able to return to the court within a few weeks.
"I'm not going to start training," she said, "until I feel 100 percent."
MIAMI (AP) — A lawyer for the University of Miami's former pitching coach says Alex Rodriguez admitted to federal investigators he used steroids.
Attorney Frank Quintero Jr., who represents Lazaro Collazo in his defense of charges of conspiracy to distribute performance-enhancing drugs, told The Associated Press that the New York Yankees third baseman confessed to steroids use, according to Drug Enforcement Administration documents provided by the government to lawyers in the case.
The Miami Herald first reported Rodriguez's confession Wednesday.
Rodriguez has denied using steroids supplied by the Coral Gables clinic Biogenesis of America and its owner, Anthony Bosch. But the Herald reported Rodriguez admitted the steroids use in a January interview with DEA agents and prosecutors.
Ron Berkowitz, a spokesman for Rodriguez, didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — The attorney for a metro Atlanta official accused of secretly negotiating a deal to build a new Atlanta Braves stadium is asking the county's ethics board not to have a full hearing on a complaint filed against him.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports David Cole, attorney for Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee, filed a motion Tuesday saying the appearance of impropriety in the stadium negotiations isn't enough for disciplinary action.
Lee has been accused of improperly hiring a private attorney to negotiate with the Braves and using a private email account to avoid open records laws. The commission voted to have a hearing because Lee didn't avoid the appearance of impropriety.
Cole says county code asks officials to avoid the appearance of impropriety, but doesn't say that they must.
The United States Basketball Association has signed a deal with the LakePoint Sporting Community to bring its national championships to courts in Cobb and Bartow counties in 2015 and then to the LakePoint development in 2016.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have hired Kevin Seitzer from the Toronto Blue Jays to replace Greg Walker as hitting coach.
Walker was assisted by Scott Fletcher this season as the Braves finished 79-83.
The 52-year-old Seitzer was the hitting coach for Arizona during part of the 2007 season, for Kansas City from 2009-12 and for the Blue Jays this past season. The former All-Star third baseman hit .295 in 12 major league seasons with the Royals, Milwaukee, Oakland and Cleveland.
Walker resigned after the Braves finished 14th among National League teams, ahead of only San Diego, in runs scored. Fletcher and third base coach Doug Dascenzo also are not returning.
The Braves announced Thursday that John Hart has agreed to a three-year deal as president of baseball operations.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves have named John Hart as president of baseball operations.
Hart was hired as interim general manager on Sept. 22 and will also continue to serve in that role. It's unclear if Hart's new title means the team no longer will seek a full-time replacement for Frank Wren, the former general manager. Wren was fired last month following a disappointing finish this season.
Team president John Schuerholz announced Thursday the 66-year-old Hart has agreed to a three-year contract that will continue through the team's first season at its new stadium in Cobb County.
Hart, the former general manager for the Rangers and Indians, joined the Braves last year as a senior adviser.
Since completing its initial review of the eligibility matter involving UGA student-athlete Todd Gurley on October 9, the University has been supporting Todd and cooperating with his legal counsel as they review the matter.
NEW YORK (AP) — Testing for human growth hormone in NFL players has begun.
The testing originally was agreed to in the 2011 labor agreement but was delayed because the union was not comfortable with the procedures or science involved. Both sides agreed last month on the new policy, which took effect Monday and brings HGH testing to the NFL for the first time.
A total of 950 tests will be performed in the regular season, postseason and preseason. In the offseason, approximately 385 tests will be done.
The league and union also agreed to a minimum two-game suspension for a first driving-under-the-influence conviction. Longtime suspensions would be imposed for cases with extenuating circumstances such as personal injury or property damage, or in cases of repeat offenders.