MLB-HOT STOVE LEAGUE
Teams start to position for next season
UNDATED (AP) — Major league clubs were making roster moves just a day after the World Series.
The team the Red Sox beat, National League-champion St. Louis, has made its first move by declining their $9.5 million option for pitcher Jake Westbrook. The veteran fought through elbow and back problems this past season and was left off the Cards' post season roster.
—Cleveland has bid farewell to closer Chris Perez. In five seasons with the Indians he was a two-time All-Star but off field problems and his failure to get the job done late in the season cost him his job. At the same time, the Indians have announced that veteran Jason Giambi (jee-AHM'-bee) has been signed and will be part of the franchise next season.
— The Rockies have declined their half of a mutual option on Rafael Betancourt. The move makes the veteran pitcher a free agent. He was 2-5 with a 4.08 earned run average for the Rockies last season before tearing a ligament in his pitching elbow.
—It's no surprise that the Royals have exercised their $13.5 million option on right-hander James Shields. Acquired last offseason in a trade from Tampa Bay, Shields went 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA and an AL-leading 228 2/3 innings. He was especially strong after the All-Star break, going 9-3 with a 3.06 ERA to help the Royals get into playoff contention.
— The Los Angeles Dodgers have declined to exercise their 2014 options on infielder Mark Ellis and pitcher Chris Capuano (kap-yoo-AH'-noh), making both free agents.
Williams lands Nats' job
WASHINGTON (AP) — Matt Williams has been named the new manager of the Washington Nationals, replacing the retired Davey Johnson.
The five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner played for the Giants, Indians and Diamondbacks during his 17-year playing career and has been Arizona's third-base coach the past three seasons.
Smith turns himself in
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — All-Pro 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been activated to the 53-man roster from the non-football injury list, two days after he turned himself in to Santa Clara County, Calif., authorities as he faces weapons charges. Smith had been undergoing rehab at an in-patient facility for substance abuse since late September and missed five games. Smith was charged Oct. 9 with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon stemming from a party at his home in June 2012.
Kentucky leads the way
UNDATED (AP) — Kentucky has been tabbed as the pre-season No. 1 team in The Associated Press men's basketball poll. The Wildcats received 27 first place votes and 1,546 points, while No. 2 Michigan State got 22 first place nods and 1,543 points.
Defending national champion Louisville is third in the poll with Duke fourth and Kansas fifth.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has the most teams in the pole with five while the Big Ten has four.
Avs get Talbot
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Already off to a 10-1 start, the Colorado Avalanche have swapped forwards by getting Max Talbot (TAL'-baht) from the Philadelphia Flyers for rugged winger Steve Downie.
Talbot has one goal and two points in 11 games this season, two years after netting a career-high 19 goals in his first year with the Flyers. He has 77 goals and 154 points in 515 NHL games with Philly and Pittsburgh.
Talbot is expected to be in Dallas when the Avs face the Stars on Friday night.
Varlamov allowed to travel with team after arrest
DENVER (AP) — Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov will be allowed to travel with the team while prosecutors consider charging him with assaulting his girlfriend. Bond was set at $5,000 and his attorney said Varlamov will be able to post it.
Varlamov was arrested on charges of kidnapping and third-degree assault. The 25-year-old turned himself in last night after a team practice.
Scott receives 7-game ban
NEW YORK (AP) — Buffalo Sabres forward John Scott was suspended for seven games without pay by the NHL on Thursday for his illegal check to Boston forward Loui Eriksson's head. Scott received a match penalty for the hit in the Sabres' 5-2 home loss Oct. 23. He has served three games of the suspension while awaiting an in-person hearing.
McIlroy grabs lead
SHANGHAI (AP) — Rory McIlroy opened with a 7-under-65 to take the first round lead at the HSBC Champions in China. The two-time winner of a major championship leads Jamie Donaldson and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano by two shots while U.S. Open champ Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth (speeth) are three back.
Phil Mickelson opened with a 1-under-71.
Senior has lead during first day play
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Australia's Peter Senior shot an 8-under 63 to take a one-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Senior had nine birdies, an eagle and three bogeys at TPC Harding Park. David Frost shot 64, missing a short putt on the 18th hole.
Charles Schwab Cup points leader Kenny Perry opened with a 68 as he tries to close out the season title and a $1 million annuity. He's 612 points ahead of second-place Langer, who fired a 67.
If Langer wins the tournament, Perry needs only to finish fifth or better take the season title.