Thu, Jul 05, 2018 - Page 16 News List

SPORTS BRIEFS

Agencies

SOCCER

Japan captain retiring

Japan captain Makoto Hasebe has announced his retirement from the national team, on the heels of the squad’s heartbreaking ejection from the World Cup in a match against Belgium. “I have decided to end the chapter of my career with the national team with this tournament,” Hasebe wrote on Instagram. The 34-year-old defensive midfielder’s departure from the Blue Samurai could mean a changing of the guard for the team, with former AC Milan striker Keisuke Honda, 32, also saying that he plans to retire from the national squad. This year’s World Cup was Hasebe’s third, after South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014, and saw his team come heartstoppingly close to the quarter-finals before crashing out against Belgium.

BASEBALL

Angels activate Ohtani

The Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday activated two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani from the 10-day disabled list and used him as the designated hitter in their game against the Seattle Mariners. Ohtani and his injured right elbow are only cleared to hit for now, but Los Angeles said he would be re-evaluated as a pitcher in three weeks. Ohtani received stem cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection to help heal the grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament suffered more than three weeks ago. “We’re going to see how many looks we can give him as a [designated hitter] and hopefully he’ll give us a lift there,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. Ohtani went none for four in Los Angeles’ 4-1 loss to the Mariners.

TENNIS

Agassi open to coach again

Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi is open to a return to coaching despite the challenges he faced last year in the role while guiding Serbia’s Novak Djokovic. Agassi took on his first coaching role last May, when he joined Djokovic’s team as head coach, but the duo split in March as the 12-time Grand Slam winner struggled to recover after undergoing elbow surgery. His first steps into coaching were “challenging, interesting and educational,” said the American former world No. 1, who retired in 2006. “When I played, I never felt pressure, but a lot of stress,” he said. “As a coach, I never felt stress, but a lot of pressure. Would I help someone if I could? Of course I would.”

RUGBY UNION

NZ captain Read to return

All Blacks captain Kieran Read is to return to the Canterbury Crusaders lineup for their Super Rugby clash against the Otago Highlanders on Friday after recovering from back surgery. The 32-year-old back-rower underwent a medical procedure late last year to correct a bulging disc in his back that was causing chronic leg pain. Read, who last month trained with the All Blacks and made himself a “pain in the butt,” according to coach Steve Hansen, last week played a warm-up match for provincial side Counties-Manukau and is now ready to step up to Super Rugby level. The Crusaders top the Super Rugby table on 54 points and are looking strong favorites to defend their title, with Read’s return ahead of the playoffs a massive boost to their chances. Victory over the Highlanders would guarantee them top seeding and home advantage throughout the playoffs, which start in two weeks.

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