Around the Nation (Feb. 13): Indians flexing muscle with Belle bobblehead

Associated Press Published:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BASEBALL

Indians flexing muscle with Belle bobblehead

CLEVELAND -- Albert Belle will flex his muscles for the Indians one more time.

The club is honoring Belle, once the most menacing hitter in baseball, with a bobblehead night promotion on June 1. The bobblehead of Belle is of him pointing at his biceps, just as the outfielder famously did in the 1995 playoffs against Boston. In that series, Red Sox manager Kevin Kennedy asked the umpires to check Belle's bat, believing it was corked.

After Belle was cleared, he flexed and pointed at his biceps while yelling at Kennedy from Cleveland's dugout.

Belle had been estranged from the Indians for many years. He visited the club at spring training last year and the Indians have continued their relationship with him. Belle hit 242 homers in eight seasons with Cleveland.

Bonds seeks dismissal of felony conviction

SAN FRANCISCO -- A lawyer for Barry Bonds has urged a federal appeals court to toss out the slugger's obstruction of justice conviction.

Dennis Riordan argued Wednesday before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that Bonds' was never specifically charged with the crime he was convicted of. A jury in April 2011 found Bonds guilty of obstruction for saying he was a "celebrity child" when asked about injecting steroids.

That particular exchange wasn't included in the indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Merry Chan argued that the indictment charged Bonds generally with obstruction and allowed jurors to convict him if they determined any of his testimony was designed to mislead.

The three-judge panel was not expected to rule Wednesday.

Pirates add to roster, sign veteran Inge

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed infielder Brandon Inge.

Inge, who played catcher, infield and outfield for the Detroit Tigers, agreed to a minor league contract on Wednesday and received in invitation to spring training.

Inge, 35, was released by Detroit after just nine games last season, and was signed by Oakland. He hit .226 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI in 74 games for the Athletics, as they advanced to the postseason.

Originally selected by Detroit in the second round of the 1998 draft, Inge made his debut with the Tigers in 2001, and was an American League All-Star in 2009. Inge has a .234 career average, with 151 home runs, 641 RBI and 1,147 hits.

The Pirates now have 61 players in major league camp.

BASKETBALL

NBA susp. Orlando's Turkoglu 20 games for positive steroid test

NEW YORK -- Hedo Turkoglu of the Orlando Magic has been suspended by the NBA for 20 games after he tested positive for steroids.

The NBA announced the penalty Wednesday. Turkoglu tested positive for methenolone, an anabolic steroid.

Turkoglu will begin serving the suspension Wednesday night in Orlando's game against the Atlanta Hawks.

The 33-year-old forward from Turkey is in the third year of his second stint with the Magic. He is averaging 2.9 points, 2.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds, all down from his career numbers over the previous 12 seasons.

Torn ACL ends season for Kentucky's Noel

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel is out for the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee.

Noel tore his ACL on Tuesday night when No. 25 Kentucky lost at Florida. An MRI on Wednesday revealed the injury.

The 6-foot-10 forward will have surgery in the two or three weeks. The projected recovery period is six to eight months.

Noel was hurt with 8 minutes left in the Wildcats' 69-52 loss to No. 7 Florida. He ran into the basket support after blocking a layup from behind. Noel landed awkwardly, dropped to the floor and started screaming while clutching his knee.

FOOTBALL

Vikings, Frazier agree on contract extension

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier have reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension.

Two people with knowledge of the deal tell The Associated Press the two sides came to the agreement this week, following a season in which Frazier led the Vikings to a surprising 10-6 record and a playoff berth. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced and terms were not immediately known.

Frazier took over for the fired Brad Childress with six games to go in the 2010 season. He is 16-22 in the regular season since then.

Frazier was entering the final year of his deal. He went 3-13 in his first full season, but rebounded to lead the rebuilding to team to the playoffs in his second year.

New rule to add ejection for intentional high hit

Players who target and hit defenseless players above the shoulders will be ejected from games under a proposal unanimously approved by the NCAA Football Rules Committee.

Targeting will continue to be a 15-yard penalty. Committee chairman and Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said Wednesday that officials, conference commissioners and coaches want the ejection tacked on to send a message that intentional helmet-to-helmet hits won't be tolerated.

If the Playing Rules Oversight Panel approves the plan next month, the rule will go into effect for the 2013 season.

The rules committee also simplified the blocking-below-the-waist rule. Low blocks delivered from in front of the defender in typical line play would be legal and low blocks from the side or back would not.

Memphis' Fuente gets one-year extension

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis football coach Justin Fuente has received a one-year contract extension through the 2017 season.

Fuente had signed a five-year contract when the former TCU co-offensive coordinator took the job in December 2011.

Athletic director Tom Bowen announced the extension Wednesday. In a statement released by the university, Bowen said Fuente "has met or exceeded every expectation we had for him."

In Fuente's first season as coach last year, Memphis went 4-8 and posted its best record since 2008.

The Tigers won their last three games and finished 4-4 in Conference USA competition, earning more league victories than in the previous three seasons combined.

Memphis will enter the Big East this fall.

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