NBA legend won't be returning next season

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NBA legend won't be returning next season

From Comcast SportsNet
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Larry Bird has resigned from the Indiana Pacers, effective from the end of August. Bird, perhaps the most respected and beloved basketball figure in a state obsessed with the sport, is the Pacers' president of basketball operations. He spent four years building the team into an Eastern Conference contender and was this season's NBA executive of the year, but is instead moving on after saying just a month ago that he was willing to stay. Bird said health issues were among the reasons for his departure. He said he may need shoulder surgery and cited longstanding issues with his back. "I just think it's time," he said at a news conference on Wednesday as the team announced an executive reorganization. Bird said he was prepared to leave last year with the organization headed in the right direction. He and owner Herb Simon had discussed his eventual departure for a few years. Bird also said that payroll issues with the small-market Pacers did not affect his decision. "(Simon) knows to get to the next level we're going to spend some money," Bird said. "Every time I went to Herb about a player or about money to spend, he questioned it. And he should. At the end of the day, he always said go ahead and do what you have to do to make this team better. That's the support you need. ... We're going to spend money." Bird said he plans to take a year off and get healthy before he evaluates his situation. He did not rule out a return to basketball. Owning a team used to be a goal, but he said he no longer has that interest. Simon said he had hoped to keep Bird, who will stay on for the draft when the Pacers are scheduled to pick No. 26 overall in the first round on Thursday. His contract expires on Aug. 30. "I feel sad (with) the announcement that Larry's going to be leaving us," said Simon, who continued to talk to Bird about staying as late as Monday. "Larry could have stayed here as long as he wants, but he has his own reasons. The Pacers organization appreciates everything he's done for us in his nine years. We wish him the very best and hope that we can still be associated with him in the coming years." The 55-year-old Bird was the Pacers coach from 1997-2000, taking the team to its only NBA Finals appearance that final year before he returned to the team's front office in 2003. He took full control as president of basketball decisions after the 2007-08 season, when Donnie Walsh left to become the New York Knicks' president. Walsh is returning as the Pacers' president. Kevin Pritchard, the director of player personnel, is being promoted to general manager, replacing David Morway, who resigned on Tuesday. Walsh said he won't travel the country to evaluate collegiate prospects, leaving that to Pritchard. Bird had said just a month ago that he wanted to stay and expressed interest in a three-year deal rather than the annual "handshake" agreements he had with Simon. Bird won three MVP awards and three NBA titles during his Hall of Fame career with Boston. As the Pacers' president, he took a franchise humbled by the brawl between Pacers players and Detroit fans in 2004, made a series of difficult trades to get rid of troublemakers, rebuilt through the draft and returned the Pacers to the Eastern Conference semifinals this season. It was Indiana's deepest postseason run in seven years.

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Orioles' eight run lead not enough to hold off Yankees

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USA Today Sports

Orioles' eight run lead not enough to hold off Yankees

NEW YORK -- Matt Holliday hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning and the New York Yankees completed a stunning rally from an eight-run deficit, outslugging the Baltimore Orioles 14-11 on Friday night.

In a game of home run derby, Starlin Castro tied it with a two-run drive that capped a three-run burst in the ninth off Brad Brach. Then in the 10th, Holliday hit the eighth home run of the evening -- five by the Yankees -- with one out off Jayson Aquino (1-1).

"I was all nervous with Adam Jones out there," Holliday said of the Orioles' Gold Glove center fielder. "Just enough to get it over the fence."

Down 9-1 in the sixth, the Yankees pulled off their biggest comeback since overcoming a 9-0 gap to beat Boston 15-9 in 2012.

On the first true spring-like day in New York, the ball was flying. Featured were all kinds of monster shots -- cleanup men Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Trumbo connected for grand slams, and Yankees fan favorite Aaron Judge homered twice, including a drive tracked at 119.4 mph off the bat, the hardest-hit ball since Statcast began counting in 2015.

Manny Machado launched a 470-foot homer, the longest in the majors this year, and Welington Castro also homered for Baltimore.

Aroldis Chapman (1-0) pitched the 10th as the Yankees won their third straight and tied Baltimore at 14-7 for the AL East lead.

Ellsbury hit his 100th career home run and first slam, tagging Vidal Nuno and drawing New York to 11-8 in the seventh.

Brach had started the season with 12 scoreless innings before the Yankees got him. A leadoff walk and a double by Holliday set up Ellsbury's grounder for his fifth RBI, and Castro followed with a shot far into the left-field seats.

Machado, who began the day batting just .205 with three home runs, also hit a two-run double and singled against CC Sabathia.

Trumbo was stuck in a worse rut, an 0-for-25 slide dropping him to .185. After grounding a soft single, he hit his fourth career slam, measured at 459 feet by Statcast and putting the Orioles up by eight runs in the sixth.

Trumbo led the majors with 47 home runs last year. This season, his only previous homer had been a game-ending shot on opening day.

Judge lined a shot into the Baltimore bullpen in the fifth. In the sixth, he hit his ninth homer, a two-run homer that made it 9-4.

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Nationals lose game and Adam Eaton on the same night

Nationals lose game and Adam Eaton on the same night

WASHINGTON -- Josh Edgin relieved Mets closer Jeurys Familia with the bases loaded in the ninth inning and got Bryce Harper to hit into a game-ending double play, finishing a 7-5 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night that stopped New York's six-game losing streak.

New York had lost 10 of 11 and put star slugger Yoenis Cespedes on the disabled list before the game with a strained hamstring. Travis d'Arnaud then homered twice and had five RBIs for the Mets, who were clinging to a two-run lead when they brought in Familia.

Matt Wieters singled leading off, and Adam Lind's single sent pinch runner Joe Ross to third. Adam Eaton followed with an infield single to shortstop and injured his left ankle as he stepped on first base. Eaton needed to be helped off the field and was replaced by pinch runner Chris Heisey.

Unfortunately for Eaton, he awkwardly tagged the front of the bag twisting his left ankle on the infield single. 

Needing help to get off the field, the injury does not bode well for the Nationals early into their season. 

Familia struck out Trea Turner, and Mets manager Terry Collins brought in Edgin, a left-hander, to face the left-handed-hitting Harper.

Harper hit a one-hopper to Edgin, who threw home for a forceout, and d'Arnaud threw to first for the double play, giving Edgin his second big league save and first since 2013.

D'Arnaud hit a two-run homer in the second and a three-run drive in the fourth off Max Scherzer (3-2), who lasted six innings.

Jacob deGrom (1-1) struck out 12 in his third consecutive double-digit strikeout game and the 13th of his career.

Ryan Zimmerman homered twice for the Nationals, who had won 10 of their previous 11. Zimmerman tied Andre Dawson for second on the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals franchise list with 225.

After giving up two home runs in the second, deGrom (1-1) encountered little trouble during the rest of his seven-inning stint. The right-hander retired 15 of the last 19 batters he faced, including nine via strikeout.