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Report: Bears to Start Clausen Against Lions

Report: Bears to Start Clausen Against Lions

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(CHICAGO, Ill) -- The Bears will bench Jay Cutler in favor of Jimmy Clausen as Chicago prepares to face Detroit Sunday.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Chicago is making the switch after Cutler leads the NFL with 24 turnovers and has shown a clear regression in head coach Marc Trestmann's offense.

"Our whole football team isn't where it needs to be," Trestmann said, during Wednesday's press conference when talking about the offense.

"Quarterback's always going to be the guy to get looked at, no doubt about it. We all can do better."

Clausen, 27, a second round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2010. He was 1-9 in his rookie season before the Panthers drafted Cam Newton first overall the next season.

Cutler signed a seven-year, $126 million contract extension this offseason, that also saw the team allow back-up quarterback Josh McCown leave for Tampa Bay.

McCown signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Buccaneers after completing 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,829 yards, 13 touchdowns and one interception in eight games with the Bears last season.

Turmoil has taken over the Bears organization as player outbursts and anonymous criticisms have been the focus of the 2014 season. After a loss to the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 19, wide receiver Brandon Marshall could be heard from the team locker room calling out teammates for a lack of effort.  Offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer was discovered to have been an anonymous source in a story that criticized Cutler and his poor performance.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 12/17/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 12/17/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA: Phoenix Suns 111 (13-14) – Charlotte Hornets 106 (6-19)

Atlanta Hawks 127 (18-7) – Cleveland Cavaliers 98 (14-10)

Boston Celtics 109 (9-14) – Orlando Magic 92 (10-18)

Dallas Mavericks 117 (19-8) – Detroit Pistons 106 (5-21)

Utah Jazz 105 (7-19) – Miami Heat 87 (12-14)

Toronto Raptors 105 (20-6) – Brooklyn Nets 89 (10-14)

Top 25 Men’s College Basketball:  (12) Ohio State 97 (9-1) – North Carolina A&T 55 (1-11)

NHL:  Ottawa Senators 2 (13-12-6; 32pts) – New Jersey Devils 0 (11-16-6; 28pts)

Boston Bruins 3 (16-13-3; 35pts) – Minnesota Wild 2 (16-12-2; 34pts) OT

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Mariners Acquire OF Ruggiano From Cubs

Mariners Acquire OF Ruggiano From Cubs

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- The Seattle Mariners acquired outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday for minor league pitcher Matt Brazis.

In 81 games last season with the Cubs, Ruggiano batted .281 with six home runs and 28 RBIs. He also scored 29 runs and had an OBP of .337.

Ruggiano’s best season came in 2012 for the Miami Marlins, when he hit .313 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs. The six-year veteran also swiped 15 bases and had an OBP of .374.

Brazis was selected out of Boston College in the 28th round of the 2012 MLB draft. The right-handed reliever is 8-6 with a 2.89 ERA across three minor league seasons.

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49ers Cut Ray McDonald

49ers Cut Ray McDonald

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The San Francisco 49ers cut defensive lineman Ray McDonald on Wednesday after new allegations of sexual assault against him were announced.

In October prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him with domestic violence against his pregnant fiancee. 

Now police are investigating the new sexual assault charge.

McDonald had played all season long despite calls for him to be benched due to the investigation.

San Francisco was eliminated from playoff contention after their loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

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Bucks’ Jabari Parker Out for Season

Bucks’ Jabari Parker Out for Season

Kelly Kline/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) -- Milwaukee Bucks rookie forward Jabari Parker is expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, the team announced on Tuesday.

Parker, 19, underwent an MRI that showed a complete tear in his left knee.

The injury occurred in the third quarter of Monday's 96-94 win over Phoenix.

Parker was averaging 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in 25 games, and was a rookie of the year contender.

He spent one season with the Blue Devils before being drafted by Milwaukee with the second overall pick in June.

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Floyd Inks 1-Year Deal with Indians

Floyd Inks 1-Year Deal with Indians

Major League Baseball(CLEVELAND) -- The Cleveland Indians signed starting pitcher Gavin Floyd to a one-year contract Tuesday.The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports the deal is worth $4 million and could earn Floyd another $6 million in incentives.The 31-year-old Floyd made only five starts in 2013 before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He made nine starts for Atlanta the following season before suffering a fracture in the same elbow, causing him to miss the rest of the season."His elbow's actually fine," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "We went through an extensive physical...His ligament is strong and intact. The fracture he suffered last year is well healed. We expect him to be fully ready for Spring Training."Before 2013, Floyd was one of the more consistent pitchers in the major leagues. The right-hander pitched five straight seasons of at least 29 starts for the Chicago White Sox.During his 11 big league seasons, Floyd has pitched 1,205 2/3 innings, compiling a 72-72 record with a 4.40 ERA, 948 strike outs, and a 1.33 WHIP.

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ESPN: Marlins Have an Agreement with Morse

ESPN: Marlins Have an Agreement with Morse

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Miami Marlins have reached an agreement with free agent Michael Morse on a two-year, $8 million contract, according to ESPN.ESPN also reports Morse will be able to earn performance bonuses.The 32-year-old Morse played last season for the World Series champion San Francisco Giants. The right-handed hitter played in 131 regular season games as an outfielder, first baseman and designated hitter, hitting .279 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs.Morse has played 10 major league seasons with stints in Seattle, Washington, Baltimore, and San Francisco. He's a career .281 hitter with 99 home runs and 333 RBIs.Morse becomes the latest in a flurry of acquisitions made by the Marlins this offseason. Miami signed outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to a $325 million contract, and also traded for second baseman Dee Gordon and pitchers Mat Latos and Dan Haren.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 12/16/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 12/16/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA: Washington Wizards 109 (18-6) – Minnesota Timberwolves 95 (5-19)

Miami Heat 95 (12-13) – Brooklyn Nets 91 (10-13)

Memphis Grizzlies 105 (20-4) – Golden State Warriors 98 (21-3)

New Orleans Pelicans 119 (12-12) – Utah Jazz 111 (6-19)

Dallas Mavericks 107 (18-8) – New York Knicks 87 (5-22)

Top 25 Men’s College Basketball: (9) Texas 106 (9-1) – Lipscomb 61 (4-6)

(15) Oklahoma 85 (7-2) – Oral Roberts 53 (4-5)

(24) North Carolina 79 (7-3) – UNC Greensboro 56 (4-7)

NHL:  Tampa Bay Lightning 3 (20-10-3; 43pts) – Philadelphia Flyers 1 (11-14-5; 27pts)

Toronto Maple Leafs 6 (19-9-3; 41pts) – Anaheim Ducks 2 (21-7-5; 47pts)

Montreal Canadiens 4 (20-10-2; 42pts) – Carolina Hurricanes 1 (8-19-3; 19pts)

Columbus Blue Jackets 1 (13-15-2; 28pts) – Detroit Red Wings 0 (17-7-8; 42pts) SO

Florida Panthers 2 (13-8-8; 34pts) – Washington Capitals 1 (14-10-6; 34pts) SO

Winnipeg Jets 5 (16-10-6; 38pts) – Buffalo Sabres 1 (13-17-2; 28pts)

St. Louis Blues 5 (21-8-2; 44pts) – Los Angeles Kings 2 (15-11-6; 36pts)

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LHP Chris Capuano Returning to N.Y. Yankees

LHP Chris Capuano Returning to N.Y. Yankees

Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The New York Yankees re-signed left-handed pitcher Chris Capuano to a one-year contract, the club announced on Tuesday. The deal is worth $5 million, according to ESPN.

In 40 appearances last season with the Boston Red Sox and Yankees, the 36-year-old Capuano went 3-4 with a 4.35 ERA. He struck out 84 batters in 97 1/3 innings of work.

Capuano was originally selected out of Duke University by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth round of the 1999 MLB draft.  During his 10-year career with the D-Backs, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees, he is 76-87 with a 4.28 ERA. He was named to the National League All-Star team in 2006 as a member of the Brewers.

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Trail Blazers Center Robin Lopez Out Indefinitely with Broken Hand

Trail Blazers Center Robin Lopez Out Indefinitely with Broken Hand

Ronald Martinez/Getty Image(NEW YORK) -- One of the NBA's best teams will be without its starting center for the foreseeable future as Portland Trail Blazers big man Robin Lopez is out indefinitely after breaking his hand.

Lopez suffered the injury in the third quarter during the team's game against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night.

Lopez hasn't missed a game in nearly three years and established himself as a defensive presence on a Blazers team that has the fourth-best record in the Western Conference.

"It's a little frustrating," said Lopez. "I've been pretty fortunate with injuries in my career."

While there is no timetable for his return, head coach Terry Stotts admitted he will "be out a while."

"He's a big part of this offense and this team and our identity," forward LaMarcus Aldridge said of Lopez. "He does so many things that people don't notice. He's a hard worker, the guy that does all the things that nobody else really does in the first unit. So it's going to be tough."

In 25 games this season, Lopez averaged 9.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game.

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Cubs Sign Reliever Jason Motte to a One-Year Deal

Cubs Sign Reliever Jason Motte to a One-Year Deal

Eliot J. Schechter/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Chicago Cubs whirlwind offseason continued as they've brought aboard reliever Jason Motte.

ESPN reports Motte has agreed on a one-year deal with the club for $4.5 million.

The 32-year-old Motte had spent his entire six-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He served as the team's closer in 2011 when the team won the World Series, and also saved 42 games in 2012.

Unfortunately, Motte dealt with elbow issues prior to the 2013 season and wound up missing the entire season after needing to undergo Tommy John Surgery.

Motte struggled to regain his old form this past season with the Cardinals. In 29 appearances this season, he went 1-0 with a 4.68 ERA, which was his highest mark since his first full season in the majors back in 2009.

The Cubs have reshaped their franchise this offseason so far. Along with Motte, the team also signed starting pitcher Jon Lester and hired Joe Maddon as their new manager.

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Royals Agree on One-Year Deal with Outfielder Alex Rios

Royals Agree on One-Year Deal with Outfielder Alex Rios

Jason Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Kansas City Royals and outfielder Alex Rios are taking a gamble on each other as they've agreed on a one-year deal worth $11 million.

With the loss of Norichika Aoki and Billy Butler, the reigning American League champs needed a boost on offense, and they're hoping that Rios can help fill the void.

An 11-year veteran, the 33-year-old Rios is coming off a down season for his standards. While he did hit .280 in 131 games with the Texas Rangers, Rios was held to just four home runs and 17 stolen bases.

In 2013, Rios hit .278 with 18 home runs, 81 RBIs, and stole 42 bases while playing for the Rangers as well as the Chicago White Sox.

The team also recently agreed on a two-year deal with DH Kendrys Morales to help boost an offense that ranked 14th overall in Major League Baseball in runs scored.

In 2014, the Royals made the playoffs for the first time since 1985.

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Fast Start Powers Cleveland Past Hornets

Fast Start Powers Cleveland Past Hornets

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers jumped out to a 21-0 lead over New Orleans and pulled away in the third as the Cavaliers (14-9) defeated the Hornets (6-18) 97-88 on Monday night.

It was the third straight loss for New Orleans and the sixth straight home win for Cleveland.

"We had a lull in the second quarter and in the third quarter, which really allowed them to get back in the game, but we sustained the effort for close to 48 minutes," Cavaliers forward LeBron James said.

The 21-0 lead to open the game is the largest since a 22-0 lead for Portland against Boston in 2004.

"Being 21 down against an elite team on their floor is tough to overcome," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. "We played a good enough offensive game to win against a terrific team, but our first-quarter defense was obviously poor."

Despite trailing 21-0, the Hornets did fight back and closed the gap to within two points. However, after cutting the deficit to 59-57, New Orleans watched as the Cavs went on a 21-9 run to end the third.

James finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds while Kevin Love added 22 points and 28 rebounds for Cleveland. Meanwhile, Kemba Walker led the way for the Hornets, pouring in 24 points while Al Jefferson added 14.

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NFL Injury Update: Foles Ruled Out, Murray Has Surgery

NFL Injury Update: Foles Ruled Out, Murray Has Surgery

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the hotly-contested NFC East, both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles got injury updates on star players Monday. The immediate future of both DeMarco Murray and Nick Foles are up in the air as the two teams head into the final two weeks of the year.

Murray, who fractured his left hand in Sunday's win over Philadelphia, had surgery Monday to repair the break. The Cowboys have not yet ruled the running back out for this weekend's matchup with Indianapolis.

"The biggest question we have to ask ourselves is, is he functional to do his job?" said head coach Jason Garrett. "Can he hold the football? Can he carry it under duress? Can he block? Can he do the things necessary to play the position?"

The NFL's leading rusher, Murray has carried the ball 351 times for 1,687 yards. He is 87 yards shy of eclipsing Emmitt Smith's franchise record of 1,773 yards set in 1995.

The Eagles announced Monday that quarterback Nick Foles is not yet ready to return to the field.

Head coach Chip Kelly says the broken collarbone is healing, but not enough to handle football contact.

"The bone is not healed," Kelly added. "He'll start throwing a little bit more, but he's out for right now. He's not cleared and will not play this week. Until he gets fully healed, he's not going to be able to play with it. We think he'll be able to throw a little more this week, but we can't have anyone near him with contact."

Foles has missed the last six games in which Philadelphia has gone 3-3 with Mark Sanchez at the helm. In the previous eight games he started, Foles threw 13 touchdowns and racked up 1,752 yards. Philadelphia is set to visit Washington on Saturday.

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Islanders Rally for Shootout Win over New Jersey

Islanders Rally for Shootout Win over New Jersey

Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images(UNIONDALE, N.Y.) -- The New York Islanders rallied from a third period deficit for the second straight game, defeating the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout on Monday night. It was the ninth time in nine tries this year that the Islanders (21-10-0, 42pts) won in extra time.

"We have a lot of confidence, whether it's in OT or shootout," said Josh Bailey who scored the game-winner in the shootout. "We have a lot of guys who can put the puck in the net."

The Devils (11-15-6, 28pts) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, scoring first on the power play. Marek Zidlicky's slapshot after the penalty to Anders Lee opened the scoring, getting assists from Scott Gomez and Jaromir Jagr. The trio combined for the second goal of the night as well with Jagr and Zidlicky assisting on Gomez's goal.

Bailey started the comeback late in the second when he beat Keith Kinkaid, a Long Island native, with less than two minutes remaining in the period. Matt Martin then knotted things up midway through the third on a wide-angle shot to Kinkaid's left. 

A scoreless overtime sent the game into the shootout where the two teams came out tied after three attempts. In the fifth round of the shootout, Bailey beat Kinkaid between his legs and New Jersey's Jacob Josefson missed his shot over the net to give the Islanders the win.

Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves for the Islanders, who are now 6-0 this year in shootouts, while Kinkaid stopped 31 shots as the Devils fall to 1-5 in sudden death. 

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Saints Roll to Road Win at Chicago

Saints Roll to Road Win at Chicago

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Drew Brees threw for three touchdowns while the New Orleans defense picked off Jay Cutler three times as the Saints (6-8) rolled to a 31-15 win Monday night in Chicago. It was the third straight loss for the Bears (5-9) while New Orleans moved into first place in the NFC South.

"The tendency after success is to relax, and it's not time to relax," Brees said.

After a scoreless first quarter, Brees opened the second frame with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hill. Chicago's Patrick O'Donnell then pinned the Saints inside their own five with a 56-yard punt but New Orleans responded with a 10-play, 95-yard scoring drive. It ended when Brees hit Marques Colston from nine yards out to make it 14-0 with less than a minute in the half. Cutler was then picked off to end the half. 

The second half was much of the same as the Saints continued to control the game on both sides. Brees led New Orleans down the field for another score, finding Hill in the end zone again, to make it 21-0 before a Shayne Graham field goal made it 24-0 heading to the fourth. 

Cutler found Marqees Wilson for a 1-yard touchdown, and then converted on a 2-point conversion, to get Chicago within two scores early in the final frame. However, the Saints defense held strong and did not allow another score until the final two minutes, when Cutler hit Alshon Jeffrey for the final touchdown of the game.

Brees finished the day with 375 passing yards, eclipsing the 4,000 yard mark for the ninth straight season. Meanwhile, Cutler only threw for 194 yards and was sacked seven times.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 12/15/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 12/15/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA:  Cleveland Cavaliers 97 (14-9) – Charlotte Hornets 88 (6-18)

Indiana Pacers 110 (8-17) – Los Angeles Lakers 91 (8-17)

Boston Celtics 105 (8-14) – Philadelphia 76ers 87 (2-22)

Atlanta Hawks 93 (17-7) – Chicago Bulls 86 (15-9)

Toronto Raptors 95 (19-6) – Orlando Magic 82 (10-17)

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins 4 (20-6-4; 44pts) – Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (19-10-3; 41pts)

Buffalo Sabres 5 (13-16-2; 28pts) – Ottawa Senators 4 (12-12-6; 30pts) SO

New York Islanders 3 (21-10-0; 42pts) – New Jersey Devils 2 (11-15-6; 28pts) SO

Top 25 Men’s College Basketball: (2) Duke 75 (9-0) – Elon 62 (5-5)

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Astros Sign INF Jed Lowrie to 3-Year Contract

Astros Sign INF Jed Lowrie to 3-Year Contract

Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- The Houston Astros have agreed to a three-year contract with free agent infielder Jed Lowrie, the team announced on Monday. He will receive a guaranteed $23 million, according to ESPN.

In 136 games with the Oakland Athletics last season, the 30-year-Lowrie batted .249 with six home runs and 50 RBIs. He also scored 59 runs and had an OBP of .321.

Lowrie previously played for Houston in 2012, where he hit .244 with 16 homers and 42 RBIs in 97 games. He was dealt to Oakland on Feb. 4, 2014 along with right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodriguez with Houston receiving first baseman Chris Carter, right-handed pitcher Brad Peacock and catcher Max Stassi.

Lowrie’s new contract contains a club option for 2018.

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Heat Forward Chris Bosh Out with Injured Calf

Heat Forward Chris Bosh Out with Injured Calf

NIBA via Miami Heat(MIAMI) -- 

As the Miami Heat look to keep their heads above water in the Eastern Conference playoff race, they'll be without forward Chris Bosh for a few games, possibly more, after he suffered a calf strain.

Bosh missed the team's game against against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, which Miami wound up losing.

Even though he has yet to undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, Bosh still plans to meet with a team doctor Monday to have the injury reevaluated.

"We're just trying to see how my body responds," said Bosh. "It's one of those things that can get worse, if you don't take care of it. It can be a lot worse than it has to be. So we have to take this precaution right now."

The Heat, who have made the NBA Finals the past four seasons, are off to their worst start in seven years, at 11-13.

A lot of the team's struggles can be traced back to Lebron James' departure back to Cleveland, as well as injuries to starters Dwayne Wade and Luol Deng.

Bosh is off to his best start since joining the Heat prior to the 2010-2011 season. He's averaging 21.6 points and 8.2 rebounds in 23 games.

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Knicks Guard Iman Shumpert Out 3 Weeks with Shoulder Injury

Knicks Guard Iman Shumpert Out 3 Weeks with Shoulder Injury

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The bad news keeps coming for the New York Knicks as guard Iman Shumpert will miss the next few weeks with a dislocated left shoulder.

Shumpert suffered the injury during the second quarter of the team's win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night after colliding with Celtics' forward Jeff Green.

Now in his fourth year in the NBA, the 24-year-old Shumpert is one of the team's best defenders. In 24 games, he's averaging 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game.

According to the team, Shumpert will be reevaluated after three weeks to see if and when he'll be ready to return to the court.

"We don't want to jeopardize the remaining part of his season, so we'll have to see," Knicks head coach Derek Fisher said.

Filling in for Shumpert will likely be second-year guard Tim Hardaway Jr. He's averaging 9.9 points per game this season so far.

Guard J.R. Smith is still dealing with a small partial tear of the plantar fascia and is day-to-day.

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