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Professional

  • Cuban baseball opening runs into trouble
      HAVANA – Cuba’s unprecedented effort to stop a devastating baseball talent drain doesn’t seem to be working, with a string of stars leaving for the major leagues in the year since the government allowed a small
  • Brewers win to draw closer to Pirates
    Elian Herrera sprinted home on Logan Schafer’s sacrifice fly in the ninth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 on Saturday night to tighten the race for the second National League wild-card spot.
  • Another injury for Yankees
    Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the New York Yankees lineup a day after straining his right hamstring, and the team’s most consistent player may be done.
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NFL

Ball carriers can’t use head now

– NFL owners passed a player safety rule Wednesday barring ball carriers from using the crown of their helmets to make forcible contact with a defender in the open field.

Several coaches and team executives expressed concern about officiating the new rule, but commissioner Roger Goodell championed it and it passed Wednesday as the owners meetings concluded.

It passed 31-1 and was the second step in protecting defensive players. On Tuesday, the league took the peel-back block out of the game.

The tuck rule, one of the most criticized rules in pro football, was also eliminated. Now, if a quarterback loses control of the ball before he has fully protected it after opting not to throw, it is a fumble.

Other news from the owners meetings:

•The Pro Bowl will return to Honolulu in January and again will be played the week before the Super Bowl.

•The NFL is looking to make the Rooney Rule more effective after eight available coaching jobs and seven spots for general managers did not go to a minority candidate.

Around the league

Indianapolis has signed free agent DT Aubrayo Franklin and G Joe Reitz. … QB Eli Manning will consider reworking his contract if it will help keep WR Victor Cruz with the Giants. … Washington coach Mike Shanahan says QB Robert Griffin III is “ahead of schedule” after knee surgery.

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