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Kenseth Takes Pole for Sprint Cup Race at Texas


Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- Tony Stewart broke a record, but Matt Kenseth had the fastest final round Friday to win the pole for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Stewart finished his second round lap with a speed of 200.111 mph. That makes him the first driver to ever record a lap over 200 mph in a 1.5-mile track in the Sprint Cup series.

Kenseth, who is 4th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, was better in the end as he takes the pole with a final-round lap of 199.299.

The other seven drivers that still have a chance at the championship finished as follows: Jeff Gordon (2nd), Kevin Harvick (5th), Ryan Newman, (7th) Joey Logano (10th), Carl Edwards (11th), Denny Hamlin (20th) and Brad Keselowski (26th).

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Leafs Lose Lupul to Broken Hand


Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Toronto Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul is out indefinitely with a broken hand, according to a post on the team's Twitter account.

Lupul injured the hand during practice Thursday. It initially didn't bother him but the pain worsened Friday so he had  X-rays which ended up revealing the fracture.

The 31-year-old Lupul is in his fifth season with Maple Leafs. During that time he has played in 188 games scoring 69 goals while dishing out 81 assists.

 

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Klay Thompson Signs Contract Extension with Warriors


Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Klay Thompson signed a multi-year contract extension with the Golden State Warriors, the team announced Friday.

ESPN.com reports its a four-year maximum contract expected to net Thompson somewhere around $70 million.

"We're excited to have one of the top young players in the NBA under contract for the next several years," Warriors General Manager Bob Myers said in a press release. "Our ownership group continues to demonstrate the commitment necessary to build a championship caliber team and we anticipate that Klay Thompson will play a major role in our future success and accomplishments, both on the floor and in the Bay Area community."

The Warriors reached the deal just in time. If they hadn't agreed to a contract by midnight Friday Thompson would have become a restricted free agent next summer.

The 24-year-old Thompson has just begun his fourth NBA season. For his career he averages 17.8 points, 2.6 three-pointers, 3.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and one steal per game.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 10/31/14


Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  NBA: Memphis Grizzlies 97 (2-0) - Indiana Pacers 89 (1-1)

Cleveland Cavaliers 114 (1-1) - Chicago Bulls 108 (1-1)

Milwaukee Bucks 93 (1-1) - Philadelphia 76ers 81 (0-2)

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs 4 (4-4-1 9pts) - Columbus Blue Jackets 1 (4-5-0 8pts)

Detroit Red Wings 5 (6-2-2 (14pts) - Los Angeles Kings 2 (6-3-2 14pts)

 

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Chicago Cubs Fire Manager Rick Renteria


Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(CHICAGO, Ill) -- After one season of work, the Cubs have fired manager Rick Renteria.

Friday, Team President Theo Epstein released a statement praising  Renteria's efforts in 2014.

Epstein's statement added that the opportunity to add Joe Maddon as manager of the team was too good to pass up.

"Last Thursday, we learned that Joe Maddon - who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us - had become a free agent,'' Epstein explained. " We confirmed the news with Major League Baseball, and it became public knowledge the next day.

"We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe."

Maddon opted out of his contract with the Tampa Bay Rays last week.  The contract with Maddon has not yet been finalized.  The Cubs offered Renteria a chance to stay with the organization but he declined.

 

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Michigan Athletic Director Resigns Amid Controversy


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(ANN ARBOR, Mi.) -- Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon stepped down from his position Friday, after an unrelenting wave of controversy.

Among the issues at hand are rising student ticket prices, the poor performance of the football team and the handling of quarterback Shane Morris after he suffered what was later diagnosed with a concussion.  Morris was allowed to re-enter a game against Minnesota after visually showing signs of injury.

"Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, the athletic department and the university community if he moved on to other challenges and allowed the important work of the department and the university to continue without daily distractions," said Mark Schlissel, the university's president.

Schlissel named former Michigan football player Jim Hackett as interim athletic director. Hackett is a member of the board of advisors for two athletic programs at Michigan.

Students and fans had begun to protest around campus demanding the removal of Brandon from office. After the incident with Morris and the response from Brandon in the days after the intensity of the protests only increased.

Brandon had been the school's athletic director since 2010.  He was previously the CEO of Domino's Pizza.

 

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Nationals Make a Pair of Roster Moves, Span Excercises Option


Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Washington Nationals are already preparing for the 2015 regular season as they've made a couple of decisions on their roster that could help shape the team going forward.

Center Fielder Denard Span decided to exercise his option for the 2015 season that will keep him  in Washington next season while getting paid $9 million.

Span just wrapped up his second season with the Nationals and batted .302 with 31 steals. He also was tied for the league record for 184 hits, which was also a Nationals' record.

The team did decide, however, to decline the options on first baseman Adam LaRoche as well as closer/reliever Rafael Soriano.

LaRoche has been one of the team's most consistent hitters the past few seasons, and led the team with 26 home runs and 92 RBIs. The Nationals decided to decline a mutual option in 2015 that would pay him $15 million. The team will instead pay him $2 million.

Soriano's contract included a $14 million club option for 2015, but he will become a free agent instead. He saved 32 games in 2014, but he blew five of 15 save chances after the All-Star break while Drew Storen emerged as a capable replacement towards the end of the season.

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Russell Westbrook Suffers Fractured Hand, Out Indefinitely


Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The injuries are piling up fast for the Oklahoma City Thunder as All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook suffered a small fracture of the second metacarpal in his right hand Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Westbrook suffered the injury with 6:35 left in the second quarter and underwent X-rays at the Staples Center.

It is unknown just how long Westbrook will be out of action, but the typical recovery time for the injury is about 6-8 weeks.

Already without league MVP Kevin Durant and free agent acquisition Anthony Morrow, the Thunder, who were expected to be among the NBA's best teams this season, find themselves without a couple of their best players for at least the next month of the season.

"It's unfortunate the way it is right now, but we have to figure out how to get better from all of our experiences," coach Scott Brooks said. "Good teams and good players bounce back from adversity, and our guys understand that."

Westbrook is in his seventh season in the NBA, all with the Thunder. He's averaged 20.1 points, 6.9 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game since entering the league.

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Despite Short Turnaround, Saints Handle Panthers, 28-10


Chris Graythen/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Despite playing on short rest on the road against a division opponent, the New Orleans Saints easily handled the Carolina Panthers, 28-10 on Thursday Night Football.

Quarterback Drew Brees and running back Mark Ingram led the way for New Orleans on Thursday. Brees completed 24 of 34 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Ingram wound up carrying the ball 30 for 100 yards while also scoring two touchdowns.

The Saints still managed a win after playing on Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers and then traveling to Charlotte for an early turnaround.

"The offensive line and tight end did a great job of hitting them, hitting them and hitting them," Ingram said. "I think they started to wear down and we were able to get some leaky yards and some big gains."

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton struggled all night as he completed 10 of 28 passes for 151 yards an an interception.

With the win, the Saints improved to 4-4 on the season and are now in first place in the NFC South.

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Kevin Youkilis is Retiring


Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Former Boston Red Sox infielder Kevin Youkilis is calling it a career.

Youkilis' agent announced Thursday that the man known as "The Greek God of Walks" is retiring.

The 35-year-old Youkilis played for three teams during his ten major league seasons, but is most known for his time as a member of the Red Sox. He played over nine years in Boston, winning two World Series (2004, 2007).

Youkilis was traded to the White Sox in the middle of 2012 before signing with the Yankees in 2013. He played last season in Japan.

Youkilis, a three-time All-Star who played third base, first base and some outfield, finishes his MLB career as a .281 hitter with 150 home runs, 618 RBIs, and a .382 on-base percentage.

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