A spot on the National League All-Star team is about the last thing Taiwan’s Kuo Hong-chih could have ever expected. \nThe Los Angeles Dodger left-hander has had his elbow operated on four times, flamed out as a starter and struggled with his control since signing with the Dodgers organization in 1999. \nEven this year, with his health and control issues finally straightened out and with stats the great Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera might envy, Kuo did not make the National League All-Star team when it was first announced, but with Atlanta Braves’ rookie phenomenon Jason Heyward unable to take his spot on the team because of injury and Braves reliever Billy Wagner declining an invitation to replace Heyward to rest a sore ankle, National League manager Charlie Manuel finally opted for the Taiwanese set-up man. \nHe becomes the first player from Taiwan ever to be named on an All-Star team. \n“I’m really happy to be selected,” Kuo told Central News Agency after hearing the news before the Dodgers’ game against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, describing it as a great birthday present ahead of his 29th birthday on July 23. \n“Although I’m the first Taiwanese to be selected to an All-Star team, I definitely won’t be the last,” he said. “I hope in the future we’ll have the chance to see other players from Taiwan make the squad.” \nKuo is having by far his best season in the Major Leagues since joining the Dodgers in September 2005, with a 3-1 record, 12 holds, two saves and a 0.99 ERA in 26 appearances. \nHe has struck out 36 batters in 27-and-a-third innings and has managed an obscenely low walks and hits per innings pitched of 0.77. \nKuo told CNA he was in top form and would not do anything outside his normal routine to prepare for the All-Star game, which will be played tonight in Anaheim at the home park of the Dodgers’ local rivals, the Los Angeles Angels. \n ■FUTURES GAME \n AP, ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA \n \nHank Conger hit a three-run homer as the US ended a three-year losing streak in the Major League Baseball Futures Game with a 9-1 win over the World squad on Sunday. \nEric Hosmer doubled among his four hits and drove in two runs for the US in a game showcasing top prospects from all the minor leagues — featuring 50 players representing 10 countries. \nThe World team committed four errors, twice allowing 18-year-old Los Angeles Angels prospect Mike Trout to reach base. Trout, the youngest player participating, also doubled in the eighth. \nConger’s clout off Henderson Alvarez provided the highlight in an exhibition event that gives most of these young men their first exposure of playing on the big stage in a Major League ballpark. \nConger was picked Most Valuable Player. \nUS third baseman Mike Moustakas nearly turned a pretty double-play when he lunged to his right and made a backhanded stop of a sharp grounder by Wilin Rosario. The World’s lone run was scored on the play. \nThe World team had won the past three Futures Games, becoming the first squad to do so in the event’s history. It marked the 12th year the Major Leagues have showed off their rising stars during All-Star week. \nAlso See: C.C. Sabathia in All-Star form in win
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two