SPORTS BRIEFS - Taipei Times
Fri, Oct 13, 2017 - Page 16 News List




Duo seek lenient sentences

A sports agent and a baseball trainer are seeking lenient prison sentences after their convictions in Miami of smuggling Cuban players into the US. Court records filed this week showed that agent Bartolo Hernandez is asking for a three-year prison term and trainer Julio Estrada wants no more than five years. They were convicted by a jury in March after a six-week trial. Prosecutors are asking a judge to exceed the nine-year maximum for both calculated under federal sentencing guidelines. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2. Trial evidence showed the pair ran an international operation to smuggle Cuban players in return for a cut of their lucrative baseball contracts.


James ruled out with injury

LeBron James will not play again in the pre-season because of a sprained left ankle and his status for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season opener is in question. James aggravated his ankle while making his exhibition debut on Tuesday night against Chicago. He scored 17 points and had eight turnovers as the Cavaliers fell to 0-4. He did not practice on Wednesday and coach Tyronn Lue said the four-time Most Valuable Player would not practice yesterday or play in today’s pre-season finale at Orlando. The Cavs open the regular season on Tuesday next week against the Boston Celtics and former Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving. Lue was noncommittal when asked if James would be ready for the game, saying: “I’m not sure.” James is “pretty mad” about the injury, he added.


Panama declares holiday

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela declared a national holiday to celebrate at the Central American country’s first-ever qualification for the FIFA World Cup. “It’s a historic day for the country. Tomorrow [Thursday] will be a national holiday for public and private-sector workers,” Varela said on Twitter on Wednesday. Panama on Tuesday came from behind to beat Costa Rica 2-1 and book a ticket to Russia 2018. The victory left them third in regional qualification behind Mexico and Costa Rica, and sensationally helped knock the US out of contention. Thousands of Panamanians celebrated long into the night in the capital, Panama City, as a cacophony of car horns greeted the historic news. “Today the planets aligned, you must never lose faith,” Varela said on the Estadio Rommel Fernandez pitch in the capital following the match.


Garcia qualifies for Finals

Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia became the eighth and final player to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore after Britain’s Johanna Konta withdrew from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow due to a foot injury, the WTA said yesterday. Garcia won back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing, beating Simona Halep in the Beijing final to move past Konta in the Race to Singapore rankings at the start of this month, but withdrew from the Tianjin Open with an injury. Her withdrawal gave Konta an outside chance of qualifying for the Oct. 22 to Oct. 29 event, although she would have had to reach the Moscow finals to overtake Garcia. “Qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore means the world to me,” Garcia, who will be making her first-ever singles appearance at the event, told the WTA Web site.

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