Bills waive defensive lineman Crichton for failing physical

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills have waived defensive lineman Scott Crichton for failing his physical.
The move was announced on Wednesday, two days since the Bills claimed Crichton after he had been placed on waivers by the Minnesota Vikings.
Crichton was Minnesota’s third-round pick in the 2014 draft, but played sparingly in 21 games during his first two seasons with the Vikings. He missed all of last season because of an injury.
Crichton was a three-year starter at Oregon State, where he had 23½ sacks and 10 forced fumbles.
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Spieth returns to a green jacket and a bad memory

By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The drive home from Augusta National was quiet, a rarity when Jordan Spieth is in the car.
He was wearing a blue shirt, not a green jacket.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Only three hours earlier on Sunday at the Masters, he was coming off four straight birdies and stood on the 10th tee with a five-shot lead. No one who had won a major was remotely close to Spieth.
Three holes later, his head was spinning. A shot in the bunker (No. 10). A shot in the trees (No. 11). Two in the water (No. 12). And just like that, Spieth was three shots behind and never caught up. He was in Butler Cabin, just like everyone expected, only he was there to help Danny Willett into a green jacket.
What could anyone say?
“Everybody waited,” Spieth said. “It was just quiet while we drove home. I wasn’t doing too well at the start because it was so recent. It was like: ‘Why couldn’t I have just done this or done that? Why did this have to happen?’ I was trying to figure out why. That was my whole thing that night. Why didn’t it work when I was in the same position the year before.”
A year later, he still doesn’t have the answers, and it already is weighing on him.
Two weeks before he was due to arrive at Augusta, Spieth said he couldn’t wait for this particular Masters to be over. There is no escaping the questions about what happened last year. He didn’t have answers during that drive home. He doesn’t have them now.
“Whether I can grab the jacket back or I miss the cut or I finish 30th, it will be nice having this Masters go by,” he said. “The Masters lives on for a year. It brings a non-golf audience into golf. And it will be nice once this year’s finished from my point of view, to be brutally honest with you.”
Spieth already has returned to the scene of his worst moment in golf.
He was at Augusta National last December with two members when he stepped on the 12th tee for the first time since the final round of the Masters. He hit 8-iron over the bunker to 15 feet. He made the putt. “I was walking around with my hands up like, ‘Demons gone,'” he said.
If only it were that simple.
He still has to face the media on Tuesday. He goes to the Tuesday night dinner for Masters champions that Willett, not Spieth, will be hosting.
“This hopefully will end Thursday when he gets to the 12th hole,” three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo said. “He’ll get up there, know what he did wrong. He knows how to deal with it. Hopefully, he stands up there and says, ‘Right, nice swing, put it in the right spot.’ And I think that will be big.”
Spieth is not the only player to suffer an inexplicable collapse in a major.
Adam Scott had a four-shot lead with four holes to play, made four bogeys and lost the 2012 British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. He won his first major nine months later at Augusta National. Jason Dufner had a five-shot lead on the 15th tee of the 2011 PGA Championship and lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley.
“Things can change quickly out here,” Dufner said. “One bad break, one bad situation and your head can get spinning. But he (Spieth) is in a totally different situation from me. He’s one of the best players in the world. He’ll be fine heading into the Masters.”
The Masters has served up its share of players who left with one arm in a green jacket. Greg Norman in 1996 lost a six-shot lead, still the largest ever blown in PGA Tour history. Ed Sneed made bogey on his last three holes in 1979 and lost in a playoff. Not to be overlooked is Rory McIlroy, who had a four-shot lead in 2011 and shot 43 on the back nine, starting with a tee shot on No. 10 behind the cabins that led to a triple bogey.
The difference?
Spieth still has a green jacket, a spot upstairs in the Champions Locker Room, a seat at the table Tuesday night for dinner. Even so, bad memories don’t fade easily, especially at the Masters.
“No matter what happens this year, those questions will still be there and linger a little bit,” McIlroy said. “I still get questioned about the back nine at Augusta in 2011. It’s just something you have to deal with. It’s something that happened. It’s not going to go away. It’s there and it always will be. Of course, I sympathize with him. The guy had a chance to win the green jacket. But he can console himself by opening up his wardrobe and seeing one hanging there.”
In the days after the Masters, Spieth would switch off the TV whenever he saw footage of him on the 12th hole. He went to Las Vegas with a group of friends from high school, and that was good.
When he returned to The Players Championship a month later, he knew what kind of questions to expect.
If he got into contention, would he be thinking about Sunday at the Masters? If he didn’t play well, how tough would it be to get over the Masters?
It never goes away.
His biggest test was in February, when Spieth took a six-shot lead into the final round at Pebble Beach. Not since the Masters had a tournament been his to lose. He never let anyone get closer than three shots. He never made anything worse than a par.
Is this year’s Masters the ultimate test?
It wouldn’t seem to be the case. Forgotten is the fact that Spieth has never finished worse than runner-up in three appearances, or that he shares the 72-hole scoring record at the Masters with Tiger Woods. But for now, the freshest memory is the back nine a year ago Sunday.
“I think it’s human nature to focus on the negative (more) than the positive, because I think of the positive as if it was supposed to happen,” Spieth said. “And the negative was just crazy.”

BASEBALL 2017: New digs in Atlanta, eggs on hot dogs in KC

By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — When Chris Archer throws the first pitch of the 2017 Major League Baseball season on Sunday, he’ll unleash all sorts of possibilities.
Can MVP Kris Bryant and the World Series champion Chicago Cubs repeat? Will home runs stay on the upswing? Heck, will Ryan Howard ever play again?
A look at what’s ahead, including new digs in Atlanta, fried eggs on hot dogs in Kansas City and a true throwback date in Florida:
OPENING DAY: The fun starts this weekend with a trio of tilts, beginning when Archer and Tampa Bay host the Yankees. Next, a neat matchup as Madison Bumgarner and the Giants take on Zack Greinke and Arizona. Followed by a Sunday night special as Jon Lester and those Cubs visit rival St. Louis.
Beyond that, a unique event on June 10 at Tropicana Field: A’s-Rays in the majors’ first scheduled single-admission doubleheader since 2011. The last day of the season? That would be Nov. 1, if the Fall Classic again goes to Game 7.
SWITCHING SIDES: Lefty ace Chris Sale got traded from the White Sox to the Red Sox, slugger Edwin Encarnacion joined the AL champion Indians and Carlos Beltran signed with Houston. Other top names who wound up in new jerseys included Dexter Fowler (Cards), popular and portly pitcher Bartolo Colon (Braves) and NL homer champ Chris Carter (Yankees).
SO LONG: Fenway Park won’t look the same without Big Papi — David Ortiz retired, done at 41 despite hitting .315 with 38 home runs and 127 RBIs for Boston.
Dodger games won’t sound the same without Vin Scully — for decades, from Ebbets Field to Chavez Ravine, fans would tune in from their seats for his dulcet tones. This will be the first Dodgers opener since 1950 without him in the broadcast booth. At 89, he doesn’t plan to listen, saying, “I’ll probably have things to do.”
Also gone is Turner Field after just 20 seasons in Atlanta. The Braves open 41,000-seat SunTrust Park in the suburbs on April 14, hoping the city’s notorious traffic snarls don’t cause too much trouble. The next new MLB stadium is set for Texas in 2020.
OUCH!: Tigers star J.D. Martinez, Rockies newcomer Ian Desmond and Mets lefty Steven Matz got injured during spring training and are out for a while.
Red Sox ace David Price, Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis, Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius and Baltimore starter Chris Tillman also are banged up. The disabled list is down to 10 days, instead of the previous 15-day stint.
Mets closer Jeurys Familia is out 15 games, suspended under MLB’s domestic violence policy.
THEY ALL COUNT: No one really liked that the All-Star Game determined who got home-field advantage in the World Series. And now, it doesn’t. Under baseball’s new labor deal, the pennant winner with the best regular-season records gets to host Game 1.
This year’s summer showcase is July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami.
MENU MADNESS: Hungry for more? Check out the rookie items at the concession stands.
The Sunrise Dog at Kauffman Stadium in KC features a hot dog topped with fried eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese and gravy. Or try the crab doughnut holes at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. And don’t forget dessert – apple pie nachos at Coors Field in Denver.
A tasty season on deck, no doubt.

Emmert: NCAA will decide next week whether to return to NC

By RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Sports Writer
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — NCAA leaders need a few days to digest the new law that will replace North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill” before deciding whether to bring March Madness and other championship sporting events back to the Tar Heel state.
As for other potential political hot spots, such as Texas where lawmakers are considering a similar bill and where the Final Four will be next year, the NCAA is in no rush to weigh in.
A few hours before NCAA President Mark Emmert gave his annual pre-Final Four news conference Thursday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill that rolled back HB2. The law had required transgender people to use public bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate. It also excluded gender identity and sexual orientation from statewide antidiscrimination protections.
The law prompted the NCAA, NBA, Atlantic Coast Conference and other businesses and popular music acts like Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam to pull out of North Carolina.
The new bill drops the rule on transgender bathroom use. But it says local governments cannot pass new nondiscrimination protections for workplaces, hotels and restaurants until December 2020. It has its critics. Gay and transgender rights activists complained that the measure still denies them protection from discrimination, and they are demanding nothing less than full repeal.
“I’m personally very pleased that they have a bill to debate and discuss,” Emmert said. “The politics of this in North Carolina are obviously very, very difficult. But they have passed a bill now and it will be a great opportunity for our board to sit and debate and discuss it.”
In response to HB2, the NCAA relocated seven of its sanctioned championship events out of North Carolina over the last year, including first-round games of this men’s basketball tournament being moved from Greensboro to Greenville, South Carolina.
Emmert said the NCAA’s board of directors — the association’s ultimate ruling body composed of mostly university presidents — will meet over the next several days with legal analysts. A decision about whether North Carolina sites will be considered as event hosts needs to be made by early next week, Emmert said.
“We made clear that absent any change in the law we weren’t going back to North Carolina,” Emmert said. “They’ve changed the law. Now the question is … whether or not this new bill has changed the landscape sufficiently that the board is comfortable in returning to North Carolina.”
Emmert said the NCAA delayed it site selection process for the 2018-22 cycle to allow North Carolina lawmakers as much time as possible to address HB2. The site selection committees began meeting this week and are scheduled to announce their decisions on April 18.
The Associated Press calculated that the state made $71.4 million from 28 neutral-site NCAA events in the five academic years ending last spring. A potentially more lucrative slate of events is in jeopardy in this latest round of decisions. The North Carolina Sports Association estimated the state risked more than $250 million in potential economic impact if 130 event bids submitted to the NCAA were declined because of HB2.
The Atlantic Coast Conference also said it would not hold championship events in North Carolina because of HB2 and ended up relocating its football championship from Charlotte to Orlando, Florida, last year. The conference has decisions to make on future sites soon as well and Commissioner John Swofford released a statement similar to Emmert’s remarks earlier Thursday.
“The recently passed legislation allows the opportunity to reopen the discussion with the ACC Council of Presidents regarding neutral site conference championships being held in the state of North Carolina,” Swofford said. “This discussion will take place in the near future, and following any decisions by the ACC Council of Presidents, announcements will be forthcoming.”
Next year’s Final Four is slated for San Antonio. A similar bathroom bill is being debated in Texas but has not gained much momentum.
“The speaker of the house in Texas has opined he doesn’t think this is a good bill. He’s obviously a very powerful voice in this debate. So we’ll wait and see where it goes,” Emmert said.
He added: “Moving the Final Four is a very difficult thing to do, obviously. It’s not like moving a regional or a first or second round.”
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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAp
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Auriemma, VanDerveer differ on decline in female coaches

DALLAS (AP) — UConn’s Geno Auriemma and Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer have differing theories for why the number of female coaches for Division I women’s teams has declined over nearly a decade.
Auriemma said Thursday on the eve of his 10th straight Final Four that women have more opportunities for things outside coaching than when he started more than 30 years ago. VanDerveer believes it has more to do with education.
According to the NCAA, 55 percent of Division I women’s teams were coached by women in 2015-16, the most recent season of available data. In 2007-08, 57 percent of teams were coached by women.
“There’s a reason why there’s not as many opportunities for women. Not as many women want to coach,” said Auriemma, who has won four straight national titles and 11 overall.
Auriemma said women might prefer jobs where they don’t have “to sit in a gym with 400 other coaches and watch 17-year-old spoiled brats play and I have to take five of them to come play for me?”
The nine-time Associated Press coach of the year said, “it’s not like people are consciously depriving women of opportunities.”
VanDerveer, who is seeking her third national title at Stanford, said “Part of the issue is there’s not more physical education majors anymore really.”
“Women aren’t getting trained in what they used to get trained in to be head coaches and teachers,” she said.
The 32nd-year Stanford coach also said male coaches are rehired faster, relating the story of a friend telling Johnny Dawkins would get a job quickly after getting fired as the men’s coach at Stanford last year. Dawkins got another job about a week later.
“Women aren’t recycled in the way that men are,” VanDerveer said. “There is a lot more competition for women coaches. There are women out there.”
VanDerveer also suggested that athletic directors should play a role in boosting the number of female coaches.

Cards GM says Molina deal “not done” but he’s “optimistic”

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said he’s “hopeful” to have a new contract for Yadier Molina before opening day but said a deal was “not done” as of Thursday night.
Molina homered in a game against St. Louis’ top minor league affiliate while reports surfaced that he’s nearing a new contract agreement. Fox Sports reported during the game that Molina and the Cardinals are finalizing a three-year deal worth between $55 million and $65 million.
“We’re optimistic. We’re hopeful,” Mozeliak said. “But it’s not complete yet.”
Molina has said he wants a contract finalized before the season opens Sunday night. He said “nothing’s done” after the game but expressed optimism.
“It’s my main goal to stay here,” Molina said.
Mozeliak talked throughout the offseason and spring training about the team’s desire to reach an agreement with Molina, whose five-year contract signed in 2012 is nearing an end.
The catcher is under contract for $14 million in 2017, with a $15 million mutual option and $2 million buyout for 2018. However, both sides have little interest in simply agreeing to that option, preferring to ensure one baseball’s best backstops ends his career with the Cardinals.
An extension would likely do that for the 34-year-old Molina, who has been a part of nine playoff appearances and two World Series titles since debuting in 2004. He’s also won eight Gold Glove Awards while playing an integral role in the development on the Cardinals’ pitching staff.
The Cardinals beat the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds 9-3. Molina, Aledmys Diaz and Jhonny Peralta each homered while St. Louis piled up seven runs in the first two innings.
The Cardinals made several moves Thursday, placing pitchers John Gant (right groin), Alex Reyes (right elbow surgery), Trevor Rosenthal (right lat strain) and Tyler Lyons (right knee) on the 10-day disabled list. The Cardinals recalled right-hander Sam Tuivailala from Memphis.
Mozeliak said starting pitcher Lance Lynn threw 80 pitches in Florida and felt good. The Cardinals next play at Double-A Springfield on Friday and open the regular season Sunday night at home against the Chicago Cubs.

Treinen gets Nats’ closer job; Pelfrey cut

By The Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Blake Treinen will begin the season as Washington’s closer, even though he has only one big league save.
After the Nationals lost Mark Melancon to the San Francisco Giants in free agency, Treinen won the job over Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
“Blake has that turbo sinker,” manager Dusty Baker said Thursday. “He may give up a hit or a walk, but he’s always one pitch away from getting two outs with one pitch.”
PELFREY CUT
Detroit released right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who is guaranteed $8 million in the second season of a $16 million, two-year deal.
Pelfrey went 4-10 with a 5.07 ERA last season with the Tigers. He was 2-3 with a 7.94 ERA in three spring training starts and five relief appearances.
The 33-year-old Pelfrey is 65-91 with a 4.57 ERA in a career that started in 2002 with the New York Mets and included a three-season stint in Minnesota. He won 38 games from 2008 through 2010 with the Mets and has not won more than seven games in a season since that stretch.
IN PINSTRIPES
Aaron Judge won the Yankees’ right field job, a decision that left Aaron Hicks as New York’s fourth outfielder, and Luis Severino has earned the fourth spot in the starting rotation.
“That was a very tough call,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It was a very good competition. In the end, we thought Judge won the competition.”
Judge, 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds, has a .344 spring training average. He hit .179 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 27 games following his August call-up to the Yankees last season. He also struck out 42 times in 84 at-bats.
“He had more consistent at-bats,” Girardi said. “There were less strikeouts. There was better contact, consistent contact. He got better and better as spring training went along.”
Severino, 23, went just 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA in 11 starts and 11 relief appearances last year. He gave up one run in five innings Thursday against Philadelphia.
ON THE DL
Milwaukee said it will place starter Matt Garza on the 10-day disabled list to the start the season because of a strained right groin.
The team also announced that Chase Anderson will open the season in the rotation. Anderson joins an all right-handed starting five of Junior Guerra, Zach Davies, Wily Peralta and Jimmy Nelson.
Garza went 1-1 with an 8.59 ERA in six spring training starts. Anderson was 0-1 with a 3.77 ERA in five games, including three starts.
Anderson will start for the Brewers in an exhibition game at Miller Park on Friday against the Chicago White Sox.
DOWNWARD BOUND
ByungHo Park was among Minnesota’s final roster cuts despite a strong spring training performance. The Twins decided to start with 13 pitchers.
With Kennys Vargas (left foot) injured and likely to be sent down or placed on the disabled list, backup outfielder Robbie Grossman is slated for now as the primary designated hitter.
Catcher John Ryan Murphy was optioned to Triple-A Rochester, and utility infielder Ehire Adrianza (right oblique strain) and left-handed reliever Ryan O’Rourke (left forearm strain) were placed on the 10-day disabled list. The Twins chose rookie left-hander Adalberto Mejia as the fifth starter over right-hander Tyler Duffey.
“Not that Duffey didn’t pitch well, but we were more intrigued by what he can do to help us in the bullpen,” manager Paul Molitor said. “I’d be surprised if you didn’t see Duffey start a game for us at some point.”
ZACK IS BACK
Zack Wheeler has earned a spot in the New York Mets’ rotation after missing two years while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Robert Gsellman will begin the season as the team’s No. 5 starter in place of the injured Steven Matz.
Manager Terry Collins also said center fielder Juan Lagares will go on the disabled list because of an oblique strain and outfielder Michael Conforto will be with the Mets on opening day.
Collins chose to use Wheeler in a role he is familiar with rather than send him to the bullpen. Gsellman is scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen in the first couple of games before starting for the Mets on April 9.
CATCHING UP
St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said he hopes to have a new contract for star catcher Yadier Molina before opening day but said a deal was “not done” as of Thursday night.
Molina homered in St. Louis’ 9-3 victory over its top minor league affiliate, the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, while reports surfaced that he’s nearing a new agreement. Fox Sports reported during the game that Molina and the Cardinals are finalizing a three-year deal worth between $55 million and $65 million.
“We’re optimistic. We’re hopeful,” Mozeliak said. “But it’s not complete yet.”
The 34-year-old Molina has said he wants a contract finalized before the season opens Sunday night. He said “nothing’s done” after the game but expressed optimism.
“It’s my main goal to stay here,” Molina said.
Molina’s five-year deal signed in 2012 is nearing an end. He is under contract for $14 million in 2017, with a $15 million mutual option and $2 million buyout for 2018.
ODD MAN OUT
San Francisco Giants general manager Bobby Evans informed 38-year-old infielder Jimmy Rollins he won’t make the team out of spring training and is waiting to hear back from him or his representatives about what options might be next. The 2007 NL MVP, who hoped to play at home in his native Bay Area for the first time after 17 major league seasons, was batting .119 (5 for 42) with eight strikeouts in 17 Cactus League games.
AROUND THE GRAPEFRUIT AND CACTUS LEAGUES:
YANKEES 14, PHILLIES 1
Gary Sanchez hit his fifth home run and Ronald Torreyes, who earned the shortstop job while Didi Gregorius recuperates from an injured throwing shoulder, went 2 for 2 with a homer and four RBIs.
Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff recorded just two outs and was charged with six runs and four hits.
TIGERS 7, ORIOLES 3
Omar Infante, Tyler Collins and James McCann homered off Orioles starter Dylan Bundy, who gave up five runs and six hits in six innings. Tigers starter Matt Boyd allowed two hits in four scoreless innings.
Chris Davis and Chris Dickerson connected for Baltimore.
RED SOX 8, NATIONALS 1
Nationals starter Joe Ross allowed four runs, eight hits and two walks in three innings, while Boston’s Kyle Kendrick gave up one run and six hits in four innings.
Boston star Dustin Pedroia went 2 for 2 with two RBIs, and touted prospect Andrew Benintendi added a pair of hits and drove in a run.
TWINS 6, RAYS 6, 9 INNINGS
Joe Mauer hit a two-run homer, and Minnesota’s Hector Santiago gave up one run and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi allowed two runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings. Steven Souza Jr. and recently acquired Peter Bourjos had two hits apiece.
METS 5, TRIPLE-A LAS VEGAS 4
Jay Bruce homered off Jacob deGrom, pitching for the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, while Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson both drove in runs for the Mets. DeGrom gave up one run and two hits over three innings.
New York closer Jeurys Familia, who will miss the first 15 games while serving a domestic violence suspension, threw a perfect inning for Las Vegas.
ROCKIES 10, PADRES 5
DJ LeMahieu had three hits and two RBIs for Colorado, which had 17 hits. Charlie Blackmon drove in three runs.
Hector Sanchez had two RBIs for San Diego, and Alberth Martinez homered. Clayton Richard allowed three runs and six hits in 1 2/3 innings.
The game was briefly delayed in the ninth inning by a swarm of bees in the infield.
ASTROS 8, CUBS 6
Addison Russell homered and drove in three runs, an encouraging sign for Chicago. The All-Star shortstop had been sidelined by back soreness.
Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer for the Astros, and Jose Altuve belted a solo shot for his first homer of the spring. Right-hander Lance McCullers, who will start Houston’s second game of the season Tuesday against Seattle, allowed five hits and five runs over four innings in his longest start this spring.
DIAMONDBACKS 6, INDIANS 3
Taijuan Walker ended his excellent spring training on a high note, pitching five scoreless innings to help Arizona beat Cleveland.
Walker struck out four and allowed four hits in the penultimate exhibition game for both teams.
The right-hander, acquired from Seattle in an offseason trade, finished the spring with a 3.29 ERA, 32 strikeouts and two walks over 27 1/3 innings. He is scheduled to face the San Francisco Giants next Wednesday in Arizona’s third game.
ANGELS 3, DODGERS 2
Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced that Ricky Nolasco will be the team’s opening day starter after his team edged the Dodgers in the Freeway Series opener.
The Angels lack a defined ace, but Nolasco has already made three opening day starts in his 11-year career.
Austin Barnes homered in the ninth for the Dodgers, and pitchers Kenta Maeda, Ross Stripling and Luis Avilan combined to hold the Angels hitless through six innings.
GIANTS 3, ATHLETICS 0
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Oakland youngster Sean Manaea pitched four perfect innings during a scoreless duel with Johnny Cueto in the preseason Bay Bridge Series opener.
The 25-year-old Manaea threw 31 of 43 pitches for strikes and was thrilled with his spring finale.
Cueto, an 18-game winner in his first season with the Giants a year ago, allowed six hits in five scoreless innings. New closer Mark Melancon finished with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced his platoon plans in left field to start the season: Chris Marrero against lefty starters, and Jarrett Parker facing right-handers.
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More AP Baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

EU draft guidelines soften line on future UK relationship

By RAF CASERT, Associated Press
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union softened its public stance on Britain’s exit from the bloc Friday, with Council President Donald Tusk signaling some flexibility on allowing talks on a new relationship before the divorce proceedings are complete.
Draft guidelines obtained by the Associated Press say that the EU and Britain must first “settle the disentanglement” of Britain from the bloc. But once there is a tentative consensus on reciprocal treatment of citizens in each other’s nations, budget commitments, legal clarity for companies working in Britain and a solution on the Irish border with the United Kingdom, the EU would be willing to look ahead.
“Once, and only once we have achieved sufficient progress on the withdrawal, can we discuss the framework for our future relationship,” Tusk said in Valletta, Malta. He said he hoped that could come as soon as the autumn.
It will take a summit of the 27 leaders, however, to signal that that moment has come.
The guidelines say it is a priority to settle questions about British and other European citizens living in each other’s countries, and call for “flexible and imaginative solutions” for the issue of the U.K.’s land border with EU member Ireland.
EU leaders warned after a meeting Friday that the two years of talks triggered this week to negotiate Britain’s exit will be difficult — but insisted they don’t want all-out economic or diplomatic conflict. Tusk is presenting the EU’s draft negotiating guidelines to leaders of the remaining 27 member states Friday.
Tusk said the EU will not punish Britain in the talks, saying that Brexit itself is “punitive enough.” The head of the rotating EU presidency, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, insisted the negotiations “will not be a war.”
Tusk ruled out the suggestion that there was an inherent threat in British Prime Minister Theresa May’s departure letter Wednesday, which some felt hinted that Britain would end security cooperation with continental Europe unless it gets a good Brexit deal.
“I know Theresa May well enough and I know her approach to this issue. This is why I rule out this kind of interpretation … that security cooperation is used as a bargaining chip. It must be a misunderstanding,” Tusk said.
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson also insisted Friday that Britain’s commitment to European defense and security is “unconditional” and “not some bargaining chip in any negotiations” over Brexit.
Johnson, speaking in Brussels upon arrival for a NATO meeting, said he has had good feedback from partners since Wednesday’s British formal announcement of its departure from the EU, despite worries on both sides of the Channel about Brexit.
“We really are moving forward now. There’s a lot of good will, willingness to achieve what the Prime Minister has said she wants to achieve,” he said.
The British government triggered the EU exit process Wednesday with May’s letter to the EU and began outlining Thursday how it intends to convert thousands of EU rules into British laws in a Great Repeal Bill.
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Lorne Cook in Brussels and Stephen Calleja in Valletta, Malta, contributed to this report.

Malaysia interviewed, cleared 3 N. Koreans before they left

By EILEEN NG, Associated Press
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s police chief said Friday that investigators interviewed three North Koreans they had sought in the killing of the half brother of North Korea’s leader and cleared them of wrongdoing before allowing them to leave the country.
National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters that the three were cleared after investigators interviewed them at the North Korean Embassy. “We have obtained whatever we want from them,” he said.
The three men left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on Thursday on a flight that also carried the body of Kim Jong Nam. The men were seen at the Beijing airport on Friday, apparently on their way to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.
Investigators say Kim was poisoned with nerve agent in a Kuala Lumpur airport terminal and quickly died Feb. 13. Two women — one Vietnamese and one Indonesian — are accused of smearing Kim’s face with poison and are in custody.
Four North Koreans who police say put the toxin on the women’s hands left Malaysia the day Kim died. The three other North Koreans police had sought, including a North Korean Embassy official and a North Korean airline worker, were believed to have been holed up in the embassy for weeks.
“They were seen in certain locations on CCTV. They have clarified and we are satisfied,” Khalid said. “We have allowed them to go.”
He said police are still seeking the four North Koreans who left Feb. 13, who are believed to be in North Korea.
Malaysia allowed the three men to leave and gave up Kim’s body as nine Malaysians in North Korea — diplomats and their families — were allowed to return home after being blocked from leaving for weeks.
The deal largely ended a diplomatic battle that had also left more than 300 North Koreans stranded in Malaysia, but left questions about the status of Malaysia’s investigation into the death of Kim, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“Investigation into the murder is still ongoing,” Khalid said. “It is not stopped here and we are still hoping the North Korea authorities will hand over to us the four North Korea suspects we have named earlier on.”
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This story has been corrected to show that police say Kim Jong Nam was killed with nerve agent, not nerve gas.

Disgraced Park downsized from Blue House to solitary cell

By KIM TONG-HYUNG, Associated Press
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — For a person whose life always seemed to revolve around South Korea’s huge presidential palace, the next several months will be lived on a much smaller scale.
Park Geun-hye entered the Seoul Detention Center in a black sedan before dawn Friday after a court approved her arrest on corruption allegations.
The ousted president registered her name and ID number, went through a simple health checkup, and gave up her personal belongings, including hairpins that held up her signature bun. She then changed into light-green prison clothes and was locked in a solitary cell, according to a detention center official who didn’t want to be named, citing office rules.
Park’s cell has a television, a toilet, a sink, a table and a mattress. She will be asked to rise at 6 a.m. and go to sleep at 8 p.m. She will have to eat at her cell and also wash her own plate, the official said. A typical solitary cell at the detention center is 6.56 square meters (7.8 square yards).
“She will go through the same routines as other inmates,” the detention center official said.
Park is expected to spend several months in the detention center while court proceedings are taking place.
She has lived in the presidential Blue House twice, first as the daughter of military strongman Park Chung-hee, who moved into the palace in 1963, two years after he staged a coup and took control of the country.
Park left the Blue House following the assassination of her father in 1979. But, following a meteoric political career, she returned after winning the presidency in December 2012, thanks to overwhelming support from older voters who remembered her father as a hero who rescued the nation from poverty, despite his brutal record of civilian oppression.
Park’s term was to have ended in February 2018, but the Constitutional Court removed her from office on March 10 over the corruption scandal.
Occupying the slopes of a downtown Seoul mountain, the Blue House is large compound where hundreds of people work in several buildings, including a blue-roofed, 8,476-square meter (10,137 square yard) hall where the main presidential office is. When she used the office, Park needed to walk about 15 meters (16 yards) just to get to her desk from the door.
She is the second former president to be held at the Seoul Detention Center, which keeps criminal suspects in custody before conviction. Roh Tae-woo, who was president from 1988 to 1993, was locked there after a 1995 arrest for bribery. He was convicted and sentenced to prison but was pardoned in 1997.
Its current detainees include other key figures in the corruption scandal that toppled Park, including her longtime friend, Choi Soon-sil, who is suspected of colluding with Park to extort money and favors from companies and secretly interfering with state affairs.
Billionaire Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong was detained there after being arrested for allegedly using tens of millions of dollars in corporate funds to bribe Park and Choi in exchange for business favors.
Park’s former culture minister, Cho Yoonsun, and her ex-chief of staff, Kim Ki-choon, are also being held at the detention center following their arrests over suspicions that they blacklisted thousands of artists deemed as unfriendly to Park to deny them state support.
The current Seoul Detention Center opened in Euiwang city in 1987. It replaced a facility originally built as a prison in Seoul in 1908. During Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula, the prison was notorious as a torture center for Korean independence activists. After colonial rule ended at the close of World War II, South Korea used the facility as a prison and later as a detention center.