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by Robert Jablon and Andrew Dalton, AP

CARSON, Calif. (AP) — The ball now belongs to the Raiders, the Chargers, the Rams – and the NFL.

A second City Council has approved a second proposed pro football stadium in the Los Angeles area, putting local issues to rest in the NFL’s return to the region and leaving the next move in the hands of the teams that would seek to relocate and the league that must give its final approval.

The latest significant step was Tuesday night’s 3-0 vote from the Carson City Council, which cleared the path for a $1.7 billion stadium that could become the shared home to the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.

It was intended to lure the NFL back to the Los Angeles area after two-decades without a team in the nation’s second-largest media market.

Under current rules, the next opportunity for a team to file to relocate, either to the Carson stadium or the nearby proposed stadium in Inglewood, would be in January 2016. Any decision to move would have to clear a tangle of league hurdles, including winning the support of at least 24 of the 32 teams.

Carson Mayor Albert Robles likened the absence of the NFL in greater Los Angeles to the state’s deep drought.

“There are two things that are needed here in Southern California,” Robles said after the vote. “One of them is rain … the other is football. And today, hopefully, we took care of that, because football is coming to Carson.”

The vote came with a loud cheer from a crowd dotted with Raiders jerseys and Chargers banners, and faced virtually no opposition from the room.

Mike Haynes, who played for the then-LA Raiders in their 1984 Super Bowl title year and also grew up in the area, spoke strongly in favor of the stadium.

“It might not be too long `til sometime another local kid will have an opportunity to play in a Super Bowl right down the street from here,” Haynes said.

Council members could have opted to put the issue before Carson voters, but instead chose to approve it outright themselves as state law allows.

In the Inglewood project, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a group planning to build an 80,000-seat stadium. Its City Council already gave it the same green light given by Carson Tuesday night.

The sudden rush to Los Angeles is tempered by a 20-year history of disappointment for fans. A string of stadium proposals have come and gone since the Rams and the Raiders fled Southern California after the 1994 season. Last month, the Anschutz Entertainment Group spiked plans for a field in downtown Los Angeles, although Mayor Eric Garcetti has suggested that it could be revived.

The Kroenke blueprint envisions a $1.86 billion stadium rising on the site of a former horse track, as part of a nearly 300-acre development of homes, parks and office space.

The 168-acre Carson site, edged by a freeway, is a former landfill.

The Chargers’ talks with San Diego City Hall to replace the nearly 50-year-old Qualcomm Stadium have grown increasingly strained. The Raiders’ even older Oakland Coliseum has had sewage and electrical problems and is now the only stadium in the U.S. used as the home for both an NFL and Major League Baseball team, the Oakland Athletics.

by Dave Skretta, AP

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Edinson Volquez delivers to a Minnesota Twins batter during the first inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Edinson Volquez delivers to a Minnesota Twins batter during the first inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Monday, April 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Edinson Volquez is quickly proving his breakthrough season of a year ago was no fluke.

The Royals right-hander held down the Twins for seven innings Monday night, and Kansas City’s opportunistic offense took advantage of a series of Minnesota miscues in a 7-1 victory.

“It feels good because the way I’m pitching, I’m carrying over everything,” said Volquez, who went 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA for Pittsburgh. “Just trying to do what I did last year.”

Royals manager Ned Yost said that pitching coach Dave Eiland has been working on mechanics with Volquez (2-1) that have allowed him to pitch even better than he did with the Pirates. He only allowed five hits and a walk while striking out five against Minnesota.

“We’ve been talking about him since he first got here,” Yost said. “We felt last year was a big year for him. He really turned the corner with his mechanics on some things.”

Alcides Escobar returned from a sprained knee to score a run Monday night, and Kendrys Morales and Paulo Orlando drove in a pair each as the Royals finally figured out Kyle Gibson.

Their nemesis gave up four runs in five-plus innings after beating the Royals the first four times he faced them. Gibson (1-2) was dominant last week in a 3-1 victory at Target Field.

“Gibby didn’t have his best command, four walks and a couple of wild pitches,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He was struggling with his feel for off-speed pitches. His last start he had a good slider and changeup. Tonight he had to battle with his fastball.

“He didn’t give up a lot of hits, but had a lot of base runners with the base on balls.”

Gibson also didn’t have the kind of defense that Kansas City has behind him.

After first baseman Eric Hosmer threw the ball away trying to start a double play in the second inning – helping to contribute to Minnesota’s only run – he was on the receiving end of a double-play relay to end the threat. Alex Gordon also made a diving catch in left field, and Mike Moustakas made a couple of difficult plays at third base look routine.

The Royals left the bases loaded against Gibson in the second, but they evened the score in the third. Escobar doubled to lead off the inning, went to third on Moustakas’s groundout, then trotted home easily when Gibson’s pitch in the dirt got away from catcher Kurt Suzuki.

The score remained deadlocked until the sixth, when the Twins’ Oswaldo Arcia dropped a slicing liner from Moustakas in left field. Hosmer worked a full-count walk, and Morales hit a double down the left-field line to give Kansas City its first lead of the game.

Hosmer scored moments later on a wild pitch by reliever Blaine Boyer, and Perez added a sacrifice fly to make it 4-1 through six innings.

Morales added an insurance run in the eighth when the Twins lost track of a pop fly in shallow right field, and Orlando’s two-run triple moments later put things out of reach.

Kelvin Herrera breezed through the eighth inning in relief of Volquez, and former Phillies closer Ryan Madson handled the ninth inning to wrap up the win.

“We’ve had a few of those games where they’ve had shape for a while and then things kind of broke down for us,” Molitor said. “We missed the play in left and we can’t contain them at the end to give ourselves a chance.”


Orlando has been a solid fill-in for OF Alex Rios, who continues to recover from a broken finger. His triple against Minnesota was his fifth in 26 at-bats.


Twins: RHP Ricky Nolasco (right elbow inflammation) is scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday for Class A Cedar Rapids. He threw off a mound Sunday with no problems.

Royals: 2B Omar Infante was feeling better after straining his left groin Sunday. Manager Ned Yost said the positive news put a hold on any plans to place him on the DL.


Twins: LHP Tommy Milone (2-0) went 5 1-3 innings to beat the Royals last Thursday.

Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (1-1) allowed 10 hits and five runs in three innings against the Twins last Thursday. It was his shortest start since 2011.

by Dave Campbell, AP

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The St. Louis Blues have been busy trying to agitate the Minnesota Wild into costly mistakes.

With a sarcastic smile here and a timely goal there, the Wild have kept their cool and taken the series lead.

Devan Dubnyk made 17 saves, Jason Pominville and Zach Parise scored in the second period and the Wild cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Blues in Game 3 on Monday.

“We’re here to play hockey. We’re not here to fight and do all that,” center Charlie Coyle said. “That stuff after the whistle doesn’t win you games, so we’re just focused on playing our game and playing it smart.”

Mikael Granlund had two assists, Nino Niederreiter added an empty-netter and the Wild had the edge in every way, without being drawn into a single trip to the penalty box.

Steve Ott was ejected in the closing seconds, his second game misconduct call of the series, and has 22 penalty minutes in three games.

“This is similar to what they did in Game 1, checked us really hard,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “And they got us to crack.”

St. Louis goalie Jake Allen stopped 21 shots, the over-capacity crowd taunting him with chants of his last name throughout the game, but the Blues lost on the road in the playoffs for the ninth straight time.

“We let him down,” Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said, adding: “He made some big stops for us, but when you put a big goose egg up on the board it’s hard to win.”

Game 4 is in Minnesota on Wednesday. Then the series shifts south to St. Louis on Friday for Game 5.

“We were expecting our crowd to be a lot like they were, and our guys feed off that,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said, adding: “That’s got to be our game. That’s got to be the way that we’re playing. We’re built around speed.”

After getting a hat trick in the Game 2 victory at home for the Blues on Saturday, Vladimir Tarasenko was held without a shot on goal, just as he was in Game 1.

Meanwhile, the Wild’s big-money scorers came through in the middle of the game after some big rebounds allowed early by Allen weren’t converted.

Granlund put a slick move on Tarasenko and sped past the prolific right wing on the rush. His shot was blocked by Carl Gunnarsson, but the ricochet went to Parise, who threaded a perfect pass to Pominville for the simple tap-in at 14:08.

On their next shift, Parise was tied up with Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in the slot when he managed to snap the puck past Allen for the two-goal lead with 3:47 remaining in the second period.

Granlund nearly matched his line mates when Parise and Pominville set him up with a wide-open net. The young center was too fast to score, just a little too deep, and his shot hit the near post and bounced back.

“Their team speed, when you let them have time and space to make plays and zip the puck around, it’s dangerous,” Blues captain David Backes said.

The Blues had to be happy at the first intermission, having kept the game scoreless for the first 20 minutes despite being outshot 9-4, outhit 16-10 and penalized once for a Wild power play. The Blues blocked eight shots in the first period, but Allen was plenty busy.

The intensity between these similarly constructed Central Division opponents has been palpable, sure to heighten the rivalry once it resumes again next season.

The Wild have deftly avoided the penalty goading the Blues have tried, another sign of the confidence and discipline this team has displayed since their mid-January turnaround.

Jason Zucker, one of several Wild players Ott has tried to provoke in this series, irritated Shattenkirk with a mild whack at Allen as he skated by in the first period. Shattenkirk gave Zucker a light shove, and Zucker stuck his tongue out with a big, sarcastic smile.

Ott attempted a check on Jonas Brodin in front of the Wild bench in the second period, and Matt Dumba mischievously tugged on Ott’s stick, riling up the veteran center as he returned to the play.

“We prepped for this, we expect it and I think our guys have done a good job of handling it so far,” Yeo said.

NOTES: This was the third playoff shutout in Wild history. … Backes led the Blues with three shots on goal. … Sean Bergenheim and Justin Fontaine replaced Jordan Schroeder and Matt Cooke on the Wild’s ever-changing fourth line. … The Blues most recently won in the playoffs on the road on April 19, 2012, at San Jose. They’re 2-17 in their past 19 road playoff games.

by RB Fallstrom, AP

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The start of offseason workouts gives St. Louis Rams players their first real opportunity to collectively get over the Sam Bradford trade. And to get to know Nick Foles.

The Rams, in search of their first winning season since 2003, also are breaking in a new offensive coordinator. The defense returns virtually intact.

Players gathered Monday for strength and conditioning with no field work. Tight end Jared Cook said it was like “the first day of school.”

“You come in with a fresh new outfit, fresh new shoes. Spider-Man lunch box, you’re showing off your new stuff,” Cook joked. “Naw, it’s just guys getting acclimated again.”

It’s anticipated the playbook won’t change dramatically under Frank Cignetti, who had been the quarterbacks coach before Brian Schottenheimer left for the coordinator job at Georgia.

Cignetti’s familiarity with the roster figures to be a plus. Cook said 80 percent of the playbook is in but wouldn’t give up any secrets.

“If we would have gotten a totally new offensive coordinator, there ain’t no telling what changes he would have brought that would have confused everybody,” Cook said. “The coaches have been working diligently to get this stuff in, so now is our time to learn. No, you can’t have a preview.”

Generally speaking, he wouldn’t characterize the scheme as simplified, either.

“You’re here to do your job, so do your job,” Cook said. “No matter what you have to do to learn it, you learn it.”

Many players were taken aback by the Bradford trade to Philadelphia in February. Coach Jeff Fisher had said several times that Bradford was his quarterback, but an agreement on a restructured deal could not be reached.

“Sam’s a good friend of mine, so whenever you lose friends on the team, there’s that aspect of it where you’re still human,” middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. “You miss your friends. I was friends with Jake Long, friends with Chris Wells.

“Heck, one of my closest friends being here was Josh Hull and he ain’t here anymore, either.”

Now, they’re getting acquainted with Foles.

“Just kind of a fan of the way he plays the game, how he’s picked up the offense,” Cook said. “I just admire the way he slings the ball around.”

Added Laurinaitis: “I would like to have a QB for all 16 games, no matter who it is.”

There’s little turnover on defense. Tackle Nick Fairley gives the line five former first-round picks and Akeem Ayers adds depth at linebacker. Ayers had four sacks and an interception in nine games with New England, and Fairley, who slumped last year, combined for 11 1-2 sacks in 2012 and ’13.

“It’s very rare, and it’s exciting,” Laurinaitis said. “When you have five first-round D-linemen, it makes your short yardage a lot better, your goal line a lot better.”

Players aren’t wasting time fretting over the possibility of a franchise move back to Los Angeles after this season, either.

“Look, everybody can sit here and talk about it but the truth is it’s out of everybody’s hands except for one guy or a couple of guys on the other party,” Cook said. “All this stadium talk on both ends, it all sounds good, but really what can you do about it?”

When he was a boy, Laurinatis was taught not to worry about something that’s out of your control.

“There’s a lot of things in life I can worry about that I can control,” Laurinaitis said. “I can’t control whether we go, whether we stay. All I know is for this season we’ll be playing in St. Louis and there will be big expectations.”

by John Zenor, AP

FILE - In this Dec. 2013, file photo, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive holds his granddaughter Abigail before the first half of the Southeastern Conference NCAA football championship game between Auburn and Missouri in Atlanta. The outgoing SEC Commissioner is tackling the final three months of his tenure after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, along with back surgery. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

FILE – In this Dec. 2013, file photo, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive holds his granddaughter Abigail before the first half of the Southeastern Conference NCAA football championship game between Auburn and Missouri in Atlanta. The outgoing SEC Commissioner is tackling the final three months of his tenure after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, along with back surgery. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Mike Slive made it clear he’s still the boss of the Southeastern Conference, even with his successor seated next to him.

The outgoing SEC commissioner said it will be “business as usual” the final three months of his tenure after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, along with back surgery. Slive stressed he won’t hand over the reins of the powerhouse league to his longtime No. 2 man, Greg Sankey, until Aug. 1.

“The presidents and chancellors made it very clear that I am the commissioner,” Slive said Monday, speaking at a Southeast Regional APSE meeting. “As a matter of fact, now that I am getting further and further away from chemo, I’m getting more and more feisty. I don’t hold back on my opinions. Over 13 years, Greg and I have consulted on all major decisions. There’s really nothing different going on now than has gone on for the last 13 years.”

The 74-year-old Slive is retiring on July 31 but will still have a voice in SEC business, saying he will remain in Birmingham and be a consultant to the conference.

Slive has remained mostly out of the limelight since announcing in October that he had cancer and setting a retirement date. He still looked a little frail during the 56-minute question and answer session but was in good spirits.

“I feel as good as I’ve felt in a very long time,” he said, joking about saving money on haircuts and razor blades in recent months after undergoing chemo.

Sankey frequently gave Slive first dibs on fielding questions about present and future issues facing the league and the NCAA. He’s also not sharing details of his plans for running the league that he laid out during his job interview – not while Slive is still in charge.

“I spent a lot of time on those issues, and I’ve been intentionally careful because my approach has been that Mike is still the commissioner and will be, and I’m certainly not inclined to overshadow his next couple of months as we head into Destin,” said Sankey, referring to spring meetings in Florida.

Both Slive and Sankey addressed a number of issues facing the SEC and college athletics.

FRESHMAN ELIGIBILITY: Slive read from his highlighted copy of a speech at SEC football media days in 2011 after being asked about Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney’s February comments raising the possibility of freshman ineligibility in football and men’s basketball. Slive advocated for steeper standards for freshman eligibility in that talk. “We called for a national discussion and we are delighted that the Big Ten wants to continue that discussion because we think that’s important,” he said. Sankey said the issue needs to go beyond the one-and-done rule requiring basketball players to play at least a year in college before entering the NBA draft.

COST OF ATTENDANCE TRANSPARENCY: Slive and Sankey are still pushing for transparency in cost of attendance payouts that will vary from school to school. The Big Five conferences voted in January to pass NCAA legislation that increases the value of an athletic scholarship by several thousand dollars to cover the federally determined actual bill of attending college. “We proposed at the NCAA convention that there be transparency and for reasons that still escape me, I don’t understand why that didn’t pass,” Slive said. “We will address that as an issue in Destin, (Florida) at least within the conference.”

FOOTBALL CAMPS: Both SEC honchos took digs at Penn State after James Franklin served as a guest coach at various camps in the Southeast last summer. Notre Dame also sent some coaches to the South, drawing complaints from some of their SEC counterparts. “We’re going to have a camp at Penn State,” Slive quipped. Sankey said SEC coaches have indicated that they’d like NCAA legislation requiring camps to be held on campus. “I’m not sure that the others want our coaches going to places like State College, Pennsylvania,” he said, adding that the camps aren’t about teaching. “What we’re now talking about is recruiting tools. Let’s just be clear about what we’re really talking about here.”

by Dave Skretta, AP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs reported for the start of their offseason program on Monday.

Well, most of them did.

The most notable absence was All-Pro linebacker Justin Houston, who was given the franchise tag after a record-setting sack season. Houston still has not signed his tender as the Chiefs and his representatives try to reach an agreement on a long-term deal.

“I’m hopeful they’ll get it worked out,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “I think both sides want to be here for whatever’s sake. I know the jockeying. I’ve been around long enough to understand how it works out, particularly when you’re doing negotiations with good players.”

The Chiefs and Houston began talking about a long-term deal last offseason, but were unable to make much headway. Houston ended up playing under the final year of his rookie deal, and finished with 22 sacks to break the franchise single-season record held by Derrick Thomas.

His performance only drove his asking price up, and the Chiefs could need to get creative to meet it. In the meantime, they’ve slapped the franchise tag on Houston – he has yet to sign the tender – that would mean a one-year deal worth more than $13 million.

“They’ll come to a number that works out for both sides and he’ll be here for a long time,” Reid said. “I know on the other side, Justin is going to work his tail off, because that’s the way he’s wired, to make sure he’s ready to go when the time comes.”

Fellow linebacker Derrick Johnson also sounded optimistic Houston will arrive eventually.

“Probably shouldn’t talk about guys who aren’t here,” Johnson said, “but when the season hits, we’ll have all our bullets. Put it like that.”

In other news, Johnson said he was nearly 100 percent after missing nearly all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon. Johnson has been taking part in full workouts for a while, but said that he won’t know for sure where he’s at until teams can begin on-field work.

“It’s not in the back of my mind,” he said of the injury. “Mentally, it’s been awhile since my injury, and that has to go away for you to succeed and get back to where you left off.”

Defensive tackle Mike DeVito, who also tore his Achilles tendon in last season’s opener, also reported for the start of the voluntary workouts and pronounced himself ready to go.

“I think I would have considered retirement if I had to go through that myself,” said DeVito, who worked side by side with Johnson on his rehab. “But working with a guy like DJ, day-in and day-out, getting in there and going through this, we really felt that bond.”

The first phase of the offseason program allows players to lift weights and do conditioning at the team facility, and coaches to work with players in the classroom. It also allows quarterbacks to throw passes to wide receivers as they begin to build some chemistry.

Alex Smith, who missed last season’s finale with a lacerated spleen, was able to get onto the field for the first time with Jeremy Maclin, who signed a five-year, $55 million deal with Kansas City in the offseason. They ran a couple of routes in the indoor facility – nothing too fancy – but both of them could already tell that chemistry would be no problem.

“It’s our job to get it done, to get it done as efficient as possible and as fast as possible,” Maclin said. “We’re going to continue to work over the course of the offseason, but the way Alex carries himself, the way I carry myself, we’ll be just fine.”

Smith said he’s been medically cleared to take part in workouts, and that the only thing the spleen injury prevented him from doing last season was taking a hit.

“Literally a few weeks after our season, that was the timeline they had given me that I would be fine,” Smith said. “It didn’t restrict me. Normal life. I could work out, run, do everything I needed to do. Just kind of went about my business, and this point, it’s felt great for a while.”

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, back, argues with umpires Greg Gibson, right, and Jim Joyce, left, during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, April 19, 2015. Yost was ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, back, argues with umpires Greg Gibson, right, and Jim Joyce, left, during the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, April 19, 2015. Yost was ejected from the game. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Royals overcame five ejections to beat the Oakland Athletics 4-2 Sunday behind Kendrys Morales’ tiebreaking two-run double in a three-run eighth inning.

Royals manager Ned Yost and pitching coach Dave Eiland were ejected in the first inning after Lorenzo Cain was hit by a Scott Kazmir pitch and both teams were issued a warning by plate umpire Greg Gibson. After the warning was issued Sunday, Yost came out to argue and was immediately ejected by Gibson.

In the eighth inning, Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera was ejected after throwing behind Brett Lawrie. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu, who was acting as manager after Yost’s ejection, also ejected during the argument along with injured Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar.

by Dave Skretta, AP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — As the Chiefs prepare to begin their offseason program Monday, most of the attention right now is on the upcoming NFL draft, even among some of the players.

That includes Jamaal Charles.

General manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid have no intention of asking their Pro Bowl running back whom he’d take with their first-round pick, No. 18 overall.

But in an interview with The Associated Press, Charles made it clear he would like upgrades at offensive line.

“I definitely want them to address that,” he said. “I’m not a GM, so I can’t do that job. But it was challenging last year playing with guys – some got hurt, some got suspended. So it was hard playing. I never knew how crucial it was to my career that I needed linemen.”

Dorsey has already made a few moves in free agency to shore up the front. He signed former Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Paul Fanaika to provide some depth, then traded a fifth-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for former Pro Bowl offensive guard Ben Grubbs.

There are still plenty of questions, though.

Former first overall pick Eric Fisher struggled mightily in switching from right tackle to left tackle last season. Ryan Harris was merely serviceable on the right side. And their most dependable starter, center Rodney Hudson, signed a big deal with the Oakland Raiders in free agency, which means untested Eric Kush is penciled in as the starter there.

That’s a big reason why several mock drafts have the Chiefs going with an offensive lineman in the first round later this month. Kansas City has 10 selections overall.

“I saw DeMarco Murray had a great line in Dallas,” Charles said. “Running backs, we’re more important than wide receivers on the team. We might be looking for the best wide receiver, but you need a good running back. At the end of the day, a good running back touches the ball more.”

Charles actually touched the ball less last season than the previous year under Reid, but he still carried 206 times for 1,033 yards and caught 40 passes for another 291 yards.

If the offensive line was better, would a 2,000-yard season be possible?

“I definitely want that. I want to reach my goals,” Charles said. “I want to be in that club. But the only way to get there, is everyone in the same boat. We’ve got to do it with people that want to help me do it. We’ve got to do it with people who want to win.”

Offensive line isn’t the only area where the Chiefs have been busy upgrading.

Dorsey made a splash early in the offseason by signing former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, then cutting Dwayne Bowe in a cost-saving move. While the Chiefs are still desperate for help at wide receiver, the move was praised by just about everyone.

Including the guy who loved watching Bowe block for him.

“I think it’s definitely going to help us,” Charles said. “Dude can stretch the field, run routes. Looks like he’s hungry. He’s going to try to play to that level. When you get paid, you’ve got to play to the amount of money you get paid. If not, they’re going to release you.

“I love my money,” Charles added. “That’s why I try and stay consistent.”

The Chiefs begin the first phase of their offseason program on Monday, which means it will be the first time that linebacker Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito are expected back on the field.

Both players tore an Achilles tendon in last season’s opener.

“I’ve been working out with DJ for a while now,” said Charles, who like Johnson went to college at Texas. “I feel like he’s going to come back better.”

One player who almost certainly won’t be at the practice facility is Eric Berry, the Chiefs’ Pro Bowl safety. He was diagnosed with lymphoma last season is undergoing treatment in Atlanta.

“I talked to him one time, called him out of the blue just to see how he was,” Charles said. “He’s up and energized.”

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny says outfielder Randal Grichuk, put on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, will have to change his workout routine to avoid further problems.

Grichuk, who was batting .200 with a homer and two RBIs in 10 at-bats, was injured lifting weights and was placed on the DL retroactive to Friday. Infielder Dean Anna, a left-handed hitter, was recalled from Triple-A Memphis in time for Sunday night’s game against the Reds.

Matheny said Grichuk altered the plan after hurting the back in spring training and now will have to do things “probably radically different.”

The 28-year-old Anna was batting .393 with two doubles and two RBIs in seven games as the leadoff man in the minors. He appeared in 12 games with the Yankees last season and could be used at second base, shortstop and third base.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cincinnati Reds leadoff man Billy Hamilton was not in the lineup but was available to play a day after injuring his groin beating out an infield hit.

Manager Bryan Price said Sunday that Hamilton was a “useful piece” and “pretty close to a full go” after running outdoors and hitting indoors. Price was a bit hesitant to use Hamilton after daylong rains in St. Louis and gave Skip Schumaker his first start in left field and leadoff.

Catcher Devin Mesoraco was not in the lineup for the sixth straight game with a hip injury. Price said Mesoraco could do everything but catch but hoped he’d be ready for that duty in a few days.

In the meantime, Price said he was not concerned Mesoraco could aggravate the injury hitting or running.