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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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Kings Fire Head Coach Mike Malone

Kings Fire Head Coach Mike Malone

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a move that has some people around the NBA scratching their heads, the Sacramento Kings have fired head coach Mike Malone.

The Kings started the season on a roll, going 5-1 behind the play of center DeMarcus Cousins. Still, Cousins has missed the last nine games and the team wound up losing eight of their last ten games.

Despite Cousins absence, the Sacramento ownership group and front office "expected more" from the team at this point as they have gone 11-13 to start the season.

Malone was hired by the team following the 2013 season. He was the sixth head coach hired by the Kings since the 2005-2006 season, the last season they made the postseason. Overall he went 39-67 during his time tenure as head coach.

Assistant coach Tyrone Corbin will take over the team on an interim basis. He went 112-146 in three-plus seasons as the head coach for the Utah Jazz.

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Patriots Explode in 2nd Half, Clinch AFC East

Patriots Explode in 2nd Half, Clinch AFC East

Jim Rogash/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) -- The New England Patriots outscored the Miami Dolphins 27-0 in the second half to stampede to their sixth consecutive AFC East title by winning 41-13 Sunday.The Patriots (11-3) scored on all four of their third-quarter offensive series, the first coming after quarterback Tom Brady scrambled for a clutch 17-yard first-down run on third and 11 to set up a LeGarrette Blount 3-yard touchdown run."I think it was a play that we needed to make so it was good to make it at that time," Brady said of his first-down run. "I was going to slide but I was pretty [upset] that time so I figured I wouldn't slide."The Dolphins (7-7) hung tough in the first half after the Patriots ran the ball three times without gaining a first down. Jarvis Landry returned a punt 32 yards to put Miami on the Patriots' 32-yard line with 11 seconds to play. The following play, Ryan Tannehill went deep to Mike Wallace, who made an acrobatic catch in the left corner of the end zone. The play was initially called incomplete, but the call was reversed after review.Despite their strong first half, the Dolphins couldn't get anything going in the second half as the Patriots avenged their early-season loss that was suffered in Miami."Going down there and losing Week 1; we've been waiting all season to get back and play this game,' Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. "So I thought we did a great job in the second half of playing good football and executing."

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Warriors Tested by Pelicans, Win 16th Straight

Warriors Tested by Pelicans, Win 16th Straight

NBA via Golden State Warriors(NEW ORLEANS) -- The Golden State Warriors were tested on Sunday night against the Pelicans, but found a way to pull out a 128-122 victory in overtime.

Curry scored eight of his 34 points in overtime and led the team to their 16th straight victory.

"It was just a tough game to win. (The Pelicans) were playing well and hitting shots," Curry said. "Obviously we had enough in the tank at the end to finish it up."

Klay Thompson chipped in with 29 points of his own and will prepare for the Grizzlies next.

"This winning streak feels great and we don't want it to end any time soon," Thompson said.

Pelicans forward Tyreke Evans scored 34 points with eight rebounds in the loss.  Anthony Davis did not play in the game.

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Odell Beckham Jr. Obliterates Redskins

Odell Beckham Jr. Obliterates Redskins

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Giants found a gem with their first round pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

Odell Beckham Jr. racked up 143 yards on 12 catches, including three touchdowns, Sunday on way to a Giants 24-13 victory. Beckham had a fourth that was negated because of a holding penalty.

After missing the first four games of the season, Beckham has quickly racked up 71 catches for 972 yards and nine touchdowns.  

"I don't want to get his head too big right now, but he has a lot of skill," Eli Manning said. "You hope he keeps working and grinding and doing the little things to correct. There is still room for improvement."

Colt McCoy got the start for the Redskins but quickly exited after re-injuring his neck on the opening series. 

Robert Griffin III entered and found a groove early. He found Christian Thompson for a nine yard touchdown early in the second quarter. Griffin nearly found the end zone again when he called his own number but after an official replay was ruled to have fumbled the ball before crossing the pylon. The Redskins seemed to go into a funk after that play.

Griffin finished 18 of 27 for 236 yards.

"It's not been a fun year," Griffin said. "We've had a lot of turmoil, a lot of things going on. At the end of the day, you suit up and when your number's called, be ready to play."

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Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan on All-Time Scoring List

Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan on All-Time Scoring List

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(MINNESOTA) -- In his 1,269th career game, Kobe Bryant took over the No. 3 spot on the all-time scoring list on Sunday.

Bryant passed Michael Jordan with a pair of free throws in the second quarter of their game against the Timberwolves.

Bryant moved into third place on the all-time list and trails Karl Malone (36,928 points), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points).

Following the free throws, the game was stopped so Bryant could exchange hugs and handshakes with his teammates and Minnesota's side of the court.

Bryant entered the game with 32,284 points and needed eight to tie Jordan.

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Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan on All-Time Scoring List

Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan on All-Time Scoring List

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(MINNESOTA) -- In his 1,269th career game, Kobe Bryant took over the No. 3 spot on the all-time scoring list during their 100-94 win against Minnesota on Sunday.

Bryant passed Michael Jordan with a pair of free throws in the second quarter of their game against the Timberwolves.

"The most important thing to me I think is playing for that," Bryant said.

"Playing for respect of the greats and feeling like I'm a part of that culture."

Bryant moved into third place on the all-time list and trails Karl Malone (36,928 points), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points).

Following the free throws, the game was stopped so Bryant could exchange hugs and handshakes with his teammates and Minnesota's side of the court.

Bryant entered the game with 32,284 points and needed eight to tie Jordan.  He finished with 26.

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Johnny Manziel’s Dud Debut

Johnny Manziel’s Dud Debut

Elsa/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- With all the hype surrounding Sunday's debut of Johnny Manziel, not much can be said after a 30-0 beat down at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Cleveland Browns first round quarterback was downright dreadful; completing 10-18 passes for 80 yards and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times.

Manziel seemed lost and confused. While under pressure, "Johnny Football" panicked, his mechanics became sloppy and he began to stare down receivers.  The same magic that captured highlights in college were lowlights on the NFL stage.

The Bengals (9-4-1) ran the ball all over the Browns, as rookie Jeremy Hill pounded the rock for 148 yards on 25 carries including two touchdowns. 

This latest loss will likely cripple the Browns playoff chances as they have now dropped four of their last five and their record falls to 7-7.

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Sidney Crosby Has The Mumps

Sidney Crosby Has The Mumps

Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- The NHL has had a rash of mumps outbreaks in the past couple weeks.

The latest victim is its' most high profile player; Sidney Crosby.

According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, Crosby becomes the latest NHL player to contract the virus.

The list includes: Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin of the Anahiem Ducks, Tanner Glass of the New York Rangers, Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson of the New Jersey Devils, as well as Ryan Suter, Keith Ballard, Marco Scandella, Jonas Brodin and Christian Folin of the Minnesota Wild.  The St. Louis Blues also were reported to have a couple players diagnosed.

Mumps cases have been rare for several decades as most children receive a vaccination. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Mumps is a viral infection that primarily affects the parotid glands — one of three pairs of saliva-producing (salivary) glands, situated below and in front of your ears... it can cause swelling in one or both parotid glands."

The NHL is taking proactive measures to control the outbreak and educate teams about how to handle the disease. 

According to an NHL spokesman, the league has been working with team doctors and physicians to avoid spreading the virus in team locker rooms, as well as distributing "links to the CDC website" and disseminating "literature regarding mumps."

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Navy Makes It 13 Straight Over Army, 17-10

Navy Makes It 13 Straight Over Army, 17-10

American Football Field Yard Lines IStockPhoto/ Thinkstock(BALTMORE) -- Keenan Reynolds led his team to a 17-10 victory over Army for the Midshipmen's 13th straight victory over the Black Knights on Saturday.

Reynolds tossed a touchdown pass to Jamir Tillman in the first quarter to go along with a one-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to give them the lead for good.

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo picked up his seventh win in the rivalry and became the winningest coach in the program's history [56 wins], breaking a tie with George Welsh.

Army scored on an early punt block that was returned by Xavier Moss and had a chance when a field goal made it 17-10 with 1:51 remaining, but Navy recovered the on-side kick.

The Black Knights finished the season 4-8 under first year head coach Jeff Monken, who is a former Navy assistant.

Navy will now play on Dec. 23 in the Poinsettia Bowl against San Diego State.

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Red Sox Sign Justin Masterson

Red Sox Sign Justin Masterson

Rob Carr/Getty Images(BOSTON) --  A familiar face will soon be re-joining the Boston Red Sox.

While it isn't Jon Lester, who many hoped would return Fenway but instead signed with the Chicago Cubs, Thursday the Red Sox brought back Justin Masterson.

Masterson, 29, who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2006 and played with the team through 2009, signed with the team for one-year $9.5 million.

In 2009, the Red Sox traded Masterson to the Cleveland Indians as part of a package to acquire catcher, Victor Martinez.

Masterson began to struggle last year, posting a 5.88 ERA in 2014. The Indians traded Masterson to the St. Louis Cardinals, but the Red Birds were unable to solve the mechanical issues that have begun to haunt the sinker baller.

The Red Sox will hope that a low-risk signing of a familiar face will provide a boost to a rotation that posted a 4.01 ERA in the 2013 season.

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Former NFL Player Sharper Indicted for Rape

Former NFL Player Sharper Indicted for Rape

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- Former New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings safety Darren Sharper was indicted Friday on multiple counts of rape in New Orleans.

Sharper, 39, is accused of two counts of aggravated rape for assaulting and impairing two women in September 2013 according to District attorney spokesman Christopher Bowman.

If convicted in Louisiana for aggravated rape, he could face life without parole. 

Since Feb. 27, Sharper has been jailed in a California prison awaiting a hearing for charges that he drugged and raped two women in Los Angeles.  

In all, Sharper faces charges and allegations in Arizona, Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New Orleans for raping, drugging and/or sexually assaulting at least seven women. 

Sharper had been an analyst at the NFL Network since 2010 after he retired, but was soon fired after the allegations surfaced.

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