---- — Monday MLB drug deal deadline
NEW YORK (AP) — Looming playoffs could force an end to negotiations in baseball’s latest drug scandal as pressure builds to impose penalties so stars can still make the postseason.
Monday appears to be the deadline for Alex Rodriguez and 13 others to accept suspensions for their ties to the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic. While A-Rod is expected to get a lengthy ban, a penalty starting that day would allow Texas All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz to return for October.
Major League Baseball is prepared to issue two simultaneous announcements no later than Monday, a person familiar with the process told The Associated Press on Thursday. One would list players who accept suspensions; the other would name those disciplined without deals, but who could challenge penalties before an arbitrator.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.
Most players face 50-game suspensions for their links to the now-closed Florida clinic, which has been accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
But baseball is threatening to kick Rodriguez out for life unless the three-time AL MVP agrees to a long ban, perhaps around 200 games.
Flederbach leaving Arizona for IU
Former Western High School student Kait Flederbach has been granted release from the University of Arizona, clearing her to transfer for her senior season. The Westfield High School graduate is expected to transfer to Indiana and swim for the Hoosiers, according to swimswam.com.
In three seasons at Arizona Flederback scored All-American honors seven times. She placed 17th in the 50 free at the NCAA meet earlier this year, and was 20th in the 100 free. She also finished sixth in the 50 free the 2012 Olympic Trials, and was 11th at this year’s World Championship trials.
Indiana finished 11th as a team at the NCAA championships this past season.
Charles leads Sun past Fever 70-64
UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — Tina Charles had 22 points and 12 rebounds as the Connecticut Sun rallied from 16 points down and then held on to beat the Indiana Fever 70-64 on Thursday night.
Shavonte Zellous had 20 points and Jessica Breland added 17 points and seven rebounds for Indiana (8-10).
The Fever had only eight players in uniform, with All-Star Tamika Catchings (personal reasons) among those missing.
Trailing 52-36 with 1:35 left in the third quarter, the Sun used an 18-2 run to tie the score.
Bass’ hook shot with 50.6 seconds left gave Connecticut a 63-62 lead. The Sun made seven free throws in the final 38.1 seconds, including two each by Hightower and White after Breland made two to pull the Fever to 66-64 with about 20 seconds to go.
NCAA tweaks basketball tourney
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA announced changes Thursday to the way it will select teams for the men’s basketball tournament, adding flexibility in hopes of keeping teams properly seeded.
The selection committee voted last week to change the bracketing principles in hopes of keeping teams where they naturally belong, Chairman Ron Wellman told reporters. In previous years, the committee has had to move a team up or down one or two lines to accommodate rules such as when conference teams can meet in the tourney.
Previously, conference teams couldn’t meet until the regional final — unless a conference had nine teams in the field.
The move comes in the wake of realignment that has seen league numbers swell over the past few seasons and has made the old rules difficult to navigate.
The changes will not affect which teams get into the tourney.