Thursday's Sports In Brief


NEW YORK (AP) Kobe Bryant is the leading vote-getter for his final NBA All-Star Game, and Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry made late moves to join him in the starting lineup.

Leonard will start in his first All-Star Game and Lowry will start on his home court in Toronto after both made up ground in the final days of voting.

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Nobody was catching Bryant, who had 1.9 million votes and was selected an All-Star for the 18th time.

MVP Stephen Curry of Golden State was next with 1.6 million and will be joined in the Western Conference lineup by Bryant, Leonard, and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Cleveland's LeBron James and Indiana's Paul George will start in the East frontcourt with New York's Carmelo Anthony, along with Miami's Dwyane Wade and host Toronto's Lowry in the backcourt.


CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Major League Baseball owners held a lengthy executive session to discuss bargaining strategy over contentious issues such as revenue sharing ahead of the start of negotiations for a new labor contract with players.

Revenue sharing was a divisive issue before and during the 1994-95 negotiations that led to a 7 1/2-month strike. Some teams that pay revenue sharing money have expressed anger at receiving clubs they think are not maximizing their local revenue.

Commissioner Rob Manfred's first anniversary as Bud Selig's successor is Monday, and bargaining with the players' association is expected to start during spring training. The current five-year deal expires Dec. 1.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says National League teams may be more receptive to the designated hitter than in the past, even though owners ended two days of meetings without any serious discussion about expanding use of the DH.

A decline in offense and injuries to pitchers while hitting have stirred speculation the NL might be ready to embrace the designated hitter, which has been used in the American League since 1973.

Last week, St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said there was more momentum lately for the DH in the NL. But owners weren't inclined to consider a change when they met this week.

BALTIMORE (AP) - Chris Davis slipped on the Orioles jersey with No. 19 on it, smiled broadly and said, ''Feels familiar.''

After spending much of the offseason wondering if he would continue his baseball career in Baltimore, Davis formally signed a $161 million, seven-year contract, a deal that includes $42 million in deferred money that he won't receive final payment on until he is 51.

The deal was announced in a news conference at Camden Yards, where the reigning major league home run king has been hitting long balls for the Orioles since the middle of the 2011 season.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Major League Baseball still is unsure when it will complete investigations of New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes under the sport's new domestic violence policy.

Under the agreement last August between MLB and the players' association, discipline is not dependent on a criminal conviction. But baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said that legal probes impact baseball's inquiry.

Players may be disciplined for ''just cause,'' the same standard used under the sport's collective bargaining agreement. Discipline can be appealed to baseball's independent arbitrator.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - Major League Baseball is making a slight expansion of instant replay this year, allowing video reviews to assist umpires in placing baserunners when balls go out of play.

Joe Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer, called the changes ''a couple of little tweaks.''

Under the new regulations, video review can be used on overthrows into the seats and on fan interference.


ST. LOUIS (AP) - A second lawsuit has been filed over the Rams' move to Los Angeles, this time by holders of personal seat licenses who say they should retain their right to seat licenses and season tickets, even in California.

The suit said the PSL agreement in St. Louis granted holders ''the right to purchase season tickets for the assigned seats for each and every football season through the year 2025,'' but did not stipulate that the games had to be played in St. Louis.


LA QUINTA, Calif. (AP) - Phil Mickelson returned from a long layoff with a big mid-round run. PGA West's TPC Stadium Course came back strong, too, in the CareerBuilder Challenge.

The 45-year-old Mickelson opened with a 4-under 68 at La Quinta Country Club in his first start since the Presidents Cup in October, playing a seven-hole stretch in 6 under.

Lefty three-putted for par on the par-5 13th and made two late bogeys to fall four strokes behind leaders Jason Dufner, Jerry Kelly, Jeff Overton and Anirban Lahiri.

The Stadium Course was dropped from the rotation after its 1987 debut and finally got another chance this year out of necessity when PGA West's Palmer and Nicklaus private layouts dropped out.

Adam Hadwin had the best round on the Stadium Course with a 66.

KAUPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Joe Durant shot a 7-under 65 to take a one-stroke lead in the PGA Tour Champions' season-opening Mitsubishi Electric Championship.

The 51-year-old Durant had nine birdies and two bogeys at Hualalai Golf Course. He teamed with Billy Andrade last year to win the Legends of Golf for his first title on the 50-and-over tour.

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez, Davis Love III and Tom Pernice Jr. were a stroke back.


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Polina Edmunds skated with the poise of a champion.

She isn't one - yet - but she looked far more comfortable than former winners Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The 17-year-old Edmunds holds a large lead after Wagner and Gold made major mistakes in their short programs.

Edmunds, a 2014 Olympian, skated cleanly to score 70.19 points as she seeks her first national title. Gold was second with 62.50 points, describing herself as ''flummoxed'' after she did just one rotation on a planned triple lutz.

Tyler Pierce, also 17, is third with 62.45 points. Wagner, a three-time U.S. champion, is fourth with 62.41 after falling on her triple-triple combination.