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Wednesday's Sports In Brief

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The Associated Press | October 10, 2013 03:55 AM EST | AP


PRO FOOTBALL

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Prosecutors in the murder case against former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez want the judge to recuse herself because, they said Wednesday, she and the lead prosecutor have a public history of antagonism and she has shown bias.

Bristol County Assistant District Attorney William McCauley wants Judge Susan Garsh to remove herself from the case, he said during a hearing in Fall River Superior Court.

McCauley did not detail his reasons in court, but a new filing cited a "well-known and publicly documented history of antagonism" between him and Garsh, stemming from a 2010 murder trial he argued before her.

Though McCauley won a conviction in that case, he was quoted in the media as criticizing Garsh, saying she had unfairly limited or excluded evidence and exhibited hostility.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons' fears were confirmed when a second medical opinion found star wide receiver Julio Jones' foot injury will cause him to miss the remainder of the season.

Coach Mike Smith said Jones will have surgery Monday, but the Falcons still did not release details of the injury.

Jones, the NFL's leading receiver, injured his right foot in Monday night's 30-28 loss to the New York Jets.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a party at his home in June 2012.

The Santa Clara County district attorney's office said in announcing the charges that Smith is expected to surrender on his own later this month. The 24-year-old Smith is on an indefinite leave of absence from the NFC champion Niners while undergoing treatment for substance abuse at an in-patient facility following a DUI arrest Sept. 20.

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder says respect goes both ways when it comes to the debate over the team's nickname.

The man who ultimately gets to decide whether the name stays or goes offered his thoughts on the matter Tuesday in a letter to season-ticket holders, the first time he has addressed at length the change-the-name campaign that has picked up momentum this year.

The tone of the letter suggests that no change is under consideration.

HOUSTON (AP) — Matt Schaub has managed to keep his starting job, and the beleaguered Houston quarterback vowed to turn things around this week.

"I need to be better," he said, "and I'll be the first to admit that."

Houston coach Gary Kubiak said that Schaub would start on Sunday against St. Louis, but added that staying with him wasn't an easy choice.

"It was a tough decision — real tough," Kubiak said. "But I feel like it's the best thing for our football team this weekend."

Schaub has had a terrible three weeks. He has thrown six interceptions — three of them returned for touchdowns — and the Texans have dropped three straight.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Another week, another round of Gronk questions.

And another few days before it becomes clearer whether the New England Patriots star tight end might make his 2013 debut Sunday.

Rob Gronkowski has missed all five games while recovering from offseason surgeries on his left forearm and back. But he's getting closer to playing and that could happen against the unbeaten New Orleans Saints on Sunday, which should help the Patriots struggling offense.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Packers coach Mike McCarthy says Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews will miss at least a couple weeks with a thumb injury.

McCarthy said that Matthews may have to play with a cast when he returns. He says it could be "multiple weeks" overall.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Darris McCord, a member of the Detroit Lions' "Fearsome Foursome" that terrorized NFL offenses, died. He was 80.

The Lions said in a release that McCord died at home in Bloomfield Hills. The team didn't give a cause of death, but the Detroit Free Press reported that McCord was diagnosed in March with pancreatic cancer.

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BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Joe Girardi's return as manager of the New York Yankees was all about family.

Girardi signed a four-year contract that could be worth up to $20 million Wednesday to stay with New York through 2017.

With the Yankees missing out on the playoffs this season for the second time in 19 years, the 48-year-old Girardi got an early start on determining his future. He went over several possible scenarios with his wife, Kim, and three children that included taking a year off, pursuing a broadcasting job or managing somewhere else. But they quickly came to the conclusion that six years in New York was not enough.

"It wasn't ever a lot of thought that I might not possibly come back. I just had to make sure that everyone was still on board," Girardi said on a conference call.

The contract includes $16 million guaranteed and up to $4 million in bonuses, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because financial details were not announced.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — It's Justin Verlander and Sonny Gray, the encore.

These decisive Game 5s sure are becoming familiar for Verlander. Not so much for the Oakland rookie.

Just like last October in Oakland, the Tigers have been pushed to a winner-take-all fifth game in their AL division series against the Athletics. And Detroit will have Verlander on the mound again Thursday night after he pitched a four-hit shutout in the 2012 clincher at the Oakland Coliseum.

The A's will counter with Gray against Verlander a second time after these two put on a pitching show Saturday night at the Coliseum.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Andy Pafko, a four-time All-Star who played on the last Chicago Cubs team to reach the World Series and was the famously forlorn outfielder who watched Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" sail over the left-field wall during the 1951 National League playoff, died. He was 92.

Pafko, who had Alzheimer's disease, died Tuesday at a nursing home in Stevensville, Mich., said his nephew, Michael Nedoba.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Tennessee and Virginia Tech will play a game at Bristol Motor Speedway in September 2016, a person with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement is still in the works.

The speedway holds 150,000. The NCAA-recognized attendance record for college football is 115,109, set last month at Michigan Stadium for the Michigan-Notre Dame game.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Injured South Carolina All-American Jadeveon Clowney was back at practice, although it was still unsure if he would play this weekend at Arkansas.

Clowney has a strained muscle near his ribcage that he hurt last week. He pulled himself out of the Gamecocks' 35-28 victory over Kentucky last Saturday night, saying shortly before kickoff that he was in too much pain.

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PRO BASKETBALL

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Although Kobe Bryant is making steady progress in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon, he's still a few weeks away from playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant is back with the Lakers after a short trip to Germany to get treatment on his right knee, another trouble area for the 35-year-old guard. He sat on Los Angeles' bench for an exhibition game Tuesday night, and he'll travel with the team to China later this week.

But the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history isn't committing to any return date until he gets in shape and figures out how his legs will hold up when he's back in uniform.

LOS ANGELES (AP) —Lamar Odom pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence in connection with his arrest in August.

Odom didn't appear in court for the arraignment and his attorney entered the plea on his behalf. A pretrial hearing was set for Nov. 8.

Odom remains free on $15,000 bail. The husband of reality TV star Khloe Kardashian could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.

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AUTO RACING

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Travis Kvapil is free on bond following his arrest on charges of assault and false imprisonment.

A statement from the Mooresville Police Department said officers responded to a 911 call from the Kvapil residence on Tuesday. After an investigation, police said they arrested the 37-year-old Kvapil in connection with a domestic dispute between him and his wife. No further details were provided.

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PRO HOCKEY

NEW YORK (AP) — San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart was suspended for three games, without pay, by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of New York Rangers forward Rick Nash.

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TENNIS

SHANGHAI (AP) — Novak Djokovic overcame a scare when he landed awkwardly on his right foot and recovered to beat Spain's Marcel Granollers 6-2, 6-0 in the Shanghai Masters.

OSAKA, Japan (AP) — Samantha Stosur beat Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-2 at the Japan Open and became the highest remaining seed after Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki withdrew hurt.