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Thursday's Sports In Brief

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The Associated Press | November 15, 2013 04:21 AM EST | AP


BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Despite being hobbled by all sorts of ailments, Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera slugger won his second straight American League Most Valuable Player award Thursday, once again beating Angels outfielder Mike Trout by a comfortable margin.

A season after winning baseball's first Triple Crown in 45 years, Cabrera came back to lead the majors in hitting at .348 and finish second with 44 home runs and 137 RBIs.

"I think this year was tougher because of the injuries," he said on a conference call from the Miami area.

The eight-time All-Star missed several games after the break because of a bad back, a sore left hip flexor, a strained lower abdomen, shin trouble and a groin tear. He recently had surgery to fix the tear and said he'll be ready for spring training.

Still, Cabrera got 23 of 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He became the first player to win consecutive AL MVPs since Frank Thomas for the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and 1994.

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen took the NL MVP by a surprisingly wide margin after leading a baseball revival in Pittsburgh.

McCutchen drew 28 of the 30 first-place votes to finish far ahead of Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Another baseball tradition is about to largely disappear: a manager, with a crazed look in his eyes, charging the field and getting into a face-to-face shouting match with an umpire.

Instead, most calls on the field next season will be subject to video review by umpires in New York,

Major League Baseball took the first vote in a two-step process Thursday, unanimously approving funding for expanded instant replay in 2014. They plan to approve the new rules when they meet Jan. 16 in Paradise Valley, Ariz., after agreements with the unions for umpires and players.

"We made a gigantic move today," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "This is quite historic."

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SWIMMING

Michael Phelps has rejoined the U.S. drug testing program, the strongest signal yet that he's planning a comeback for the Rio Olympics.

Phelps told The Associated Press that "nothing is set in stone" though clearly he has enjoyed getting back into shape — he's down about 15 pounds — and working out with his former team at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.

"If I decide to keep going and swim again, then I'll compete," Phelps told the AP in an exclusive telephone interview from Minneapolis, where he is attending an Arena Grand Prix meet this weekend.

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — An assistant state attorney says prosecutors in Tallahassee did not receive information about an 11-month-old sexual assault allegation involving Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston until Tuesday.

Tallahassee police investigated the Heisman Trophy contender in connection with a sexual assault that was reported nearly a year ago in an off-campus apartment. FSU records show the first report was made to campus police on Dec. 7 by a student at a dormitory. The investigation was handed over to Tallahassee police.

The case was not given to prosecutors until this week.

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PRO FOOTBALL

MIAMI (AP) — Jonathan Martin could sue the Miami Dolphins for big money under a variety of workplace laws that make employers liable for bullying, harassment and discrimination — even if the team's hierarchy didn't know about it, according to several legal experts.

Less likely would be criminal charges against offensive lineman Richie Incognito, who was suspended by the Dolphins after fellow lineman Martin left the team 2½ weeks ago. Martin's attorney, David Cornwell, says Martin was repeatedly harassed by Incognito and others in ways that "went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing."

The NFL's special investigator, Ted Wells, plans to meet Friday with Martin, who is with his family in Los Angeles and is receiving counseling. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross also plans to meet at a later date with Martin.

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Richie Incognito filed a grievance against the Miami Dolphins over his suspension.

The NFL Players Association released a statement late in the afternoon saying the veteran guard filed a non-injury grievance.

"The grievance challenges his suspension for conduct which was alleged to have occurred while he was with the club," the union's statement said. "The NFL Players Association will continue to protect the rights of all players."

Incognito was suspended by Miami on Nov. 3 for misconduct related to the treatment of teammate Jonathan Martin, who abruptly left the Dolphins late last month to receive help for emotional issues.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets and nine-time Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed agreed to terms on a contract, reuniting coach Rex Ryan with one of his favorite players.

The 35-year-old Reed was released Tuesday by Houston, cleared waivers Wednesday and joined the Jets a day later. He was with his new Jets teammates on the practice field wearing a green No. 22 jersey; his familiar No. 20 is currently worn by cornerback Kyle Wilson.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Packers tight end Jermichael Finley plans to have spinal fusion surgery and intends to play football again.

Finley's agent, Blake Baratz, said Thursday that Finley has been working with the Packers organization in determining what's best after suffering a neck injury last month in a game against the Browns.

Baratz said it was collectively determined that surgery may not be 100 percent necessary, but is a "proactive measure that should alleviate future risks with regards to a similar episode or re-injury."

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AUTO RACING

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti reluctantly retired after doctors told him it is too dangerous to continue racing following the injuries he suffered in a crash last month.

Franchitti fractured his spine, broke his right ankle and suffered a concussion in the Oct. 6 IndyCar race at Houston, where his car made contact with Takuma Sato's car on the last lap and sailed into a fence. Debris from the accident injured 13 fans in the grandstands and one IndyCar official.

The 40-year-old Franchitti underwent two surgeries on his ankle and recently returned home to Scotland to recover.

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GOLF

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Henrik Stenson strengthened his chances of winning the European money title, shooting a 4-under 68 that left the Swede two shots behind leader Alejandro Canizares of Spain after first round of the season-ending World Tour Championship.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Defending champion Adam Scott grabbed a share of the second-round lead at the Australian Masters, with birdies on his first three holes Friday and two of his final four giving him a 5-under 66 at Royal Melbourne.

Scott, who won the Masters this year and last week's Australian PGA, had a two-round total of 9-under 133, tied with fellow Australian Nathan Holman, who shot a 65.

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) — Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum took the first-round lead in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, birdieing seven of the first 13 holes at Guadalajara Country Club.