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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic ó Former World Series MVP Manny Ramirez, who retired in April after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, hopes to play for a winter league team in his Caribbean homeland.
Winston Llenas, president of the Cibao Eagles, a winter league team in the northern Dominican Republic for whom Ramirez played in 1993-94, told The AP during a phone interview that Ramirez is expected to start training with his former team next week.
Llenas said the 39-year-old Ramirez told team officials he wants to ěplay before the Dominican fans and to perhaps motivate other Major League stars to also play in the country.î
CHICAGO ó Starlin Castro desperately wanted to get his 200th hit of the season in front of a supportive crowd at Wrigley Field.
The 21-year-old Castro is bidding to become just the fifth major league player since 1940 to collect at least 200 hits while being 21 years old or younger.
The list is impressive: Alex Rodriguez (1995), Garry Templeton (1977), Vada Pinson (1959) and Al Kaline (1955).
NBA
PROVO, Utah ó Perhaps it is fitting that todayís exhibition game between many of the top NBA rookies is being played on a college campus.
Players from former Brigham Young star Jimmer Fredette to UCLA standout Malcolm Lee say they’re still living the college life, what with no NBA paychecks because of an NBA lockout.
Of course some are luckier than others.
Former UConn star Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Bobcats showed up for Wednesday’s practice at BYU’s Marriott Center wearing his Under Armour gear.
Fredette drove there in his Hyundai Genesis, a loaner car from a local dealership, and was trying out a pair of shiny white Spaulding basketball shoes.
All were excited for Jimmer’s All-Star game as it represented a chance for some real competition in a summer where they’ve had to find their own.
WASHINGTON ó LeBron James of the Miami Heat has received the “Champion of Youth” award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The award was presented to James by actor Denzel Washington, the club’s national spokesman. The award recognizes the relationship that the two-time NBA MVP has had with clubs across the country for the past several years.
HOCKEY
STOCKHOLM ó Former NHL player Mike Danton went to prison for plotting to take a life. In his return to professional hockey, the skills he learned in jail may well have saved one.
Danton, who served a five-year jail term for conspiracy to commit murder, was playing in his first game with Swedish third-division club Ore on Sunday when his linemate Marcus Bengtsson hit his head on the ice after a hard hit and started convulsing.
Using the first-aid training he received in prison, Danton dropped to the ice as well, waited for Bengtssonís jaw to unclench and then shoved his hand into his teammateís mouth to stop him from choking on his own tongue. Bengtsson was diagnosed with a concussion.
SOCCER
ANKARA, Turkey ó Turkey is trying a new approach in curbing crowd violence at soccer games ó kick out all the men but let women and children attend for free.
Under new rules approved by Turkeyís soccer association, only women and children under 12 will be admitted to games involving teams sanctioned for unruly fan behavior.
Fenerbahce handed out about 27,000 free tickets to women and children for Tuesdayís game against Manisaspor in Istanbul. In July, Fenerbahce was ordered to play two home games without spectators after fans stormed the field during an exhibition against Ukraineís Shakhtar Donetsk.
TENNIS
CHARLESTON, S.C. ó Samantha Stosur, the reigning U.S. Open champion and the 2010 winner of the Family Circle Cup, will return to play on the green clay in Charleston next spring.
The Family Circle announced Wednesday that Stosur, ranked No. 7 in the world, is the first player to commit to next year’s tournament.

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