Anti-Doping group is going after Lance Armstrong

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Anti-Doping group is going after Lance Armstrong

From Comcast SportsNet
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Lance Armstrong is facing more doping allegations just a few months after he thought he had finally put them to rest. Although federal investigators in February closed a two-year investigation without bringing criminal charges, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has filed new doping charges that could strip the seven-time Tour de France winner of his victories in cycling's premier race. Armstrong insists he is innocent. "I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one," Armstrong said in a statement. "Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me." The move by USADA immediately bans him from competing in triathlons, which he turned to after he retired from cycling last year. Armstrong has been dogged by doping allegations since his first Tour victory in 1999, but had hoped his fight to be viewed as a clean champion was finally won after federal prosecutors closed their probe. Armstrong has said the investigation took a heavy emotional toll and he was relieved when it ended. But USADA officials insisted they would continue to pursue their investigation into Armstrong and his former teams and doctors, and notified him of the charges in a 15-page letter on Tuesday. Unlike federal prosecutors, USADA isn't burdened by proving a crime occurred, just that there was use of performance-enhancing drugs. In its letter, USADA said its investigation included evidence dating to 1996. It also included the new charge that Armstrong blood samples taken in 2009 and 2010 are "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use andor blood transfusions." Armstrong came out of his first retirement to race in the Tour de France those two years. Armstrong, who was in France training for a triathlon, dismissed the latest allegations as "baseless" and "motivated by spite." Even though he last won the Tour seven years ago, the 40-year-old Armstrong remains a popular -- if polarizing -- figure, partly because of his charity work for cancer patients. Since he first retired after the 2005 Tour de France, Armstrong has often said he was tired of fighting doping claims only to vigorously battle to clear his name. He spent millions assembling a legal team during the criminal investigation. In the months since the criminal probe ended, Armstrong has said he would not worry about a USADA investigation and that he's done "wasting" time answering doping questions. Anti-doping officials, however, kept pressing their case and finally laid out the charges in the letter. The USADA letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, accuses Armstrong of using and promoting the use of the blood booster EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, human growth hormone and anti-inflammatory steroids. The letter doesn't cite specific examples, but says the charges are based on evidence gathered in an investigation of Armstrong's teams, including interviews with witnesses who aren't named. USADA's letter said the agency was also bringing doping charges against Johan Bruyneel, manager of Armstrong's winning teams; team doctors Pedro Celaya and Luis Garcia del Moral; team trainer Pepe Marti, and consulting doctor Michele Ferrari. No one answered the phone at the home of Ferrari in Ferrara, northern Italy. Ferrari's lawyer, Dario Bolognesi, said he was unaware of the USADA action and had no immediate comment. Garcia del Moral's office told The AP in Spain that he would not comment on the charges. Celaya, who is currently on Radioshack's medical staff, was unreachable for comment. Marti also has connections to another high-profile doping case. He was Alberto Contador's team coach through 2010, when the Spaniard was found to have used performance enhancing substances to win the Tour de France for a third time. In February, Contador was stripped of his 2010 title after losing a drawn-out court battle with the International Cycling Union and World Anti-Doping Agency. The ruling came just three days after U.S. federal prosecutors dropped a doping investigation involving Armstrong. The American was a teammate of Contador during the Spaniard's 2009 Tour victory. Contador's spokesman said the Spanish rider no longer worked with Marti and that their previous relationship was limited to being teammates. "This is a coincidence of him (Contador) being on the teams for which he (Marti) worked," Jacinto Vidarte told The Associated Press. "It has nothing to do with what has happened. That period of when he was with the team is over." Cycling's governing body, the International Cycling Union, which collected the 2009 and 2010 samples cited in the USADA letter, said it was not involved in the anti-doping group's investigation. According to USADA's letter, more than 10 cyclists as well as team employees will testify they either saw Armstrong dope or heard him tell them he used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone from 1996 to 2005. Armstrong won the Tour de France every year from 1999-2005. During their investigation, federal prosecutors subpoenaed Armstrong supporters and ex-teammates to testify in Los Angeles. One of the most serious accusations came during a "60 Minutes" interview when former teammate Tyler Hamilton said he saw Armstrong use EPO during the 1999 Tour de France and in preparation for the 2000 and 2001 tours. Early in the criminal investigation, Armstrong attorney's accused USADA of offering cyclists a "sweetheart deal" if they would testify or provide evidence against Armstrong. In a letter to USADA last week, Armstrong attorney Robert Luskin noted that USADA Chief Executive Officer Travis Tygart participated in witness interviews with federal investigator Jeff Novitzky during the criminal probe. "It is a vendetta, which has nothing to do with learning the truth and everything to do with settling a score and garnering publicity at Lance's expense," Luskin wrote. In a statement, Tygart said, "USADA only initiates matters supported by the evidence. We do not choose whether or not we do our job based on outside pressures, intimidation or for any reason other than the evidence." Armstrong has until June 22 to file a written response to the charges. The case could ultimately go before an arbitration panel to consider evidence. The USADA letter said in that case a hearing should be expected by November.

NL East: Barry Bonds wouldn't take picture with Dodgers star Pederson

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NL East: Barry Bonds wouldn't take picture with Dodgers star Pederson

Apparently being an MLB All-Star and home run derby runner-up is not enough for Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds to take a picture with you.

That's according to Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson, a 2015 NL All-Star. He said he tried to take a picture with Bonds before a Marlins-Dodgers game last month and got rejected.

Ouch. Pederson described the interaction on Fox Sports Live and it sounds like he was pretty surprised by Bonds' reaction. Then again, who wouldn't be? It seems like a simple request.

Many athletes current and former take pictures with fans all the time and those are just fans. It would seem even more likely to get that picture if you are part of their fraternity as a pro ball player.

Here is Pederson describing the exchange on FS1:

[Via Sports Illustrated]

Orioles tie team record with 18 strikeouts in 4-3 loss

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Orioles tie team record with 18 strikeouts in 4-3 loss

Astros 4, Orioles 3 

Winner: Neshek (2-0)
Loser:    Wilson (2-3)   
Save: Gregerson 10 

WHAT WENT WRONG: The Orioles equaled their single game record for most strikeouts in a game, 18. They struck out 19 times in 13 innings on Tuesday night. 

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Orioles came from behind to tie the score at 3 in a two-run sixth. Unfortunately, they gave the lead away in the bottom of the sixth when Tyler Wilson allowed a home run to Luis Valbuena, his second in as many nights. 

OOPS: The Orioles committed three errors, two by Manny Machado and one by Wilson. It was the most errors since the Orioles made four on Sept. 30, 2015.

MACHADO ERRS: Machado made two errors for the fourth time in his career. 

MORE BAD STATS: The Orioles were just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base. 

LOSING: The Orioles are in the midst of their second three-game losing streak. 

SHAKE IT UP: Machado was put in the leadoff spot and Jonathan Schoop batted second for just the second time in his career. The move immediately paid off when they began the game with doubles. 

WIETERS HITS: Matt Wieters had two more hits. He’s had five consecutive multi-hit games—two three-hit games and three two-hit games. 

KIM DOUBLE: Hyun Soo Kim, who started for the first time in 11 days, had his first game with multiple extra-base hits. He had two doubles a single. It was his second three-hit game. 

THERE HE GOES: Joey Rickard, who didn’t start ran for Kim in the eighth inning and stole second. He has three of the Orioles’ eight stolen bases. 

UP NEXT: Kevin Gausman (0-1, 2.70) faces Lance McCullers (0-1, 5.91) on Thursday night in the final game of the three-game series.  

Melo Trimble to withdraw from draft, return to Maryland for junior season

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Melo Trimble to withdraw from draft, return to Maryland for junior season

Maryland guard Melo Trimble will withdraw from the 2016 NBA Draft and return to College Park for his junior season, a source has confirmed to CSN. 

Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com was the first to report the news.

Following his sophomore season at Maryland, Trimble entered his name into the draft without signing an agent, giving him the option to return to school if he so chose. He has now decided to exercise that option.

Trimble said at the NBA Combine in Chicago earlier this month that he intended to take until the withdrawal deadline, May 25, to make his decision known. He had until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday night to withdraw his name.

Confirmation came shortly after 10 p.m.

Trimble came to Maryland as a highly regarded McDonald’s All-American and the No. 39 overall player in the class of 2014 out of Bishop O’Connell (Va.).

Even in the face of sky-high expectations, Trimble immediately stepped in as the team’s starting point guard and piloted the Terrapins to the most successful two-year stretch in program history (55-16 overall record) since Maryland won the 2002 national championship, then went to the Sweet 16 in 2003.

As a freshman in 2014-15, Trimble averaged 16.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game on his way to being named to the All-Big Ten First Team by the media.

As a sophomore in 2015-16, Trimble helped the Terrapins to their first Sweet 16 appearance since that berth in 2003, though his personal per-game numbers regressed. A late-season slump contributed to overall season averages of 14.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game.

Tune to CSN and check back to CSNmidatlantic.com for more Melo Trimble coverage shortly.