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by Herbie Teope, AP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs kicked off the third phase of the offseason workout program Tuesday with the first set of voluntary organized team activities missing nine players.

The biggest name absent from the practice field didn’t come as a surprise.

All-Pro outside linebacker Justin Houston, who has yet to sign a non-exclusive franchise tender, was not present as he seeks a long-term contract. The 26-year-old Houston also did not report April 20 for the start of the offseason workout program, following the same path he took in 2014 while entering the final year of his contract.

That missed time a year ago didn’t hurt Houston, who went on to a third straight Pro Bowl selection after establishing a franchise-record and league-high 22 sacks.

Houston’s absence doesn’t concern fellow outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who said he talks to his teammate every two to three weeks.

“He’s working his tail off,” Hali said. “He’s like any player, he wants to be here, but we know our league is a business. We got to allow that process to work itself out. He wants to be here. He’s missing it.”

Other players not on the practice field were rookie cornerbacks Marcus Peters, the Chiefs’ first round pick out of Washington, and Steven Nelson, a third-round pick out of Oregon State; quarterback Tyler Bray (knee); strong safety Eric Berry (illness); free safety Husain Abdullah; strong safety Daniel Sorensen; defensive end Allen Bailey; and tight end Demetrius Harris.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid offered optimistic news on Berry, who is battling Hodgkin lymphoma and finished the 2014 season on the non-football injury list.

“He’s been through all the treatments and now the doctors are going to sit down with him and go over exactly what the results of that are” Reid said. “We don’t have that, Eric doesn’t have that quite yet, but everything up to this point has been very positive from the doctor and Eric. I think we’re heading in the right direction there.”

Meanwhile, the absences of Peters and Nelson from OTAs were expected, as both players fell under the NCAA quarter system based on their respective school’s academic calendar year. Peters and Nelson are scheduled to graduate on June 13 and expected to be at the three-day mandatory minicamp June 16-18.

Reid said Harris had foot surgery in early May on the same foot previously operated on in November 2014. Harris broke his right foot during pregame warm-ups against the Buffalo Bills in Week 10, and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve.

“The natural grafting that normally takes place when you put a screw in there didn’t take place,” Reid said. “They went in, they grafted it, they (put) a screw in the bones there and we’ll see how he does. They feel pretty confident about this.”

Reid said Sorensen was at the hospital to be with his wife, who was giving birth to their child, while Bailey and Abdullah were caught in the storm that hammered the South. Bray is still recovering from ACL surgery.

The team did welcome back two notable defensive starters who spent the 2014 season on injured reserve.

Linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito, both of whom ruptured Achilles tendons in the regular-season opener, were back on the practice field. Johnson, who worked out without restrictions, was happy with what he accomplished in his first meaningful practice, albeit in shorts and helmet, since September 2014.

“I did better than I thought I was going to do today as far as mentally,” Johnson said, “but physically I’ve been ready for the last couple of months.”

The Chiefs wrap up the first set of OTAs on Thursday, and then return for the second set June 2-4 before concluding the voluntary portion of workouts on June 9-12.

NOTES: Hali said he had his knee scoped during the offseason to deal with floating cartilage, which was causing the knee to swell. “Doctor cleaned it out and I feel good,” Hali said. . Running back Cyrus Gray and offensive lineman Jarrod Pughsley were on the practice field, but did not participate. Reid said Pughsley has a hamstring strain: “It happened last week. It doesn’t look like it’s too bad, so I’m sure he’ll be back out.” . Gray returns from an ACL injury suffered last season.


Newly signed Montreal Alouettes defensive end Michael Sam smiles at a press conference in Montreal on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)

Newly signed Montreal Alouettes defensive end Michael Sam smiles at a press conference in Montreal on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)

MONTREAL (AP) — Michael Sam says his priority is helping the Montreal Alouettes win, not making history as the first openly gay player in the Canadian Football League.

Sam signed a two-year deal with the Alouettes last week.

“I’m not trying to really do anything historic here by being with Montreal, I’m just trying to help the team win some games so we can bring the Grey Cup back home,” Sam said at packed news conference Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Sam came out publicly before last year’s NFL draft. He was selected in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams to become the first openly gay player chosen by an NFL team.

The Rams cut him in training camp. The Dallas Cowboys signed him to their practice squad but released him in October.

Sam starred at Missouri in college, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013.

Alouettes general manager Jim Popp, who called Sam a “trailblazing athlete,” said he believes the 6-foot-2, 260-pound player can excel as a pass rusher in the CFL.

Sam agreed.

“My size fits as a pass rusher,” Sam said. “I led my team in preseason in sacks and that was in the NFL, so I’m a pass rusher. Doesn’t matter where I’m at.”

Sam was considered by NFL teams to be a “tweener,” not quite the right body type to be a defensive end or an outside linebacker for that league.

But Popp believes Sam can follow a path similar to Cam Wake, who was converted from linebacker to end when he joined the B.C. Lions in 2007. Wake was the CFL Defensive Player of the Year in each of his two seasons before signing with the Miami Dolphins, where he has had a successful NFL career.

Sam said he became comfortable with his sexual orientation in his senior year in college and told his coach and teammates. He came out publicly on Feb. 9, 2014.

“There was a reason why I came out to my team, because I didn’t want to live a life behind the closet anymore,” he said. “Eventually it was going to come out anyway, so I have no regrets. I’m happy with myself. I’m living my life the way I want to live.”

After he came out, Sam’s NFL jersey was an instant best-seller. The Alouettes already put his No. 94 jersey on sale on its website.

While Sam wants to be seen as just another football player, he knows his decision to reveal his sexuality comes with a certain responsibility.

“I’ve set in motion a lot of stuff,” he said. “I have a responsibility to handle myself the right way and carry myself the right way so future athletes who may be straight, gay, bisexual, whatever, they can be inspired just by what I’m doing.”


by Jim Salter, AP

St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock speaks along side general manager Doug Armstrong, right, during a news conference Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in St. Louis. The Blues are sticking with Hitchcock for another season, announcing the veteran NHL hockey coach has signed a one-year contract with the team. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock speaks along side general manager Doug Armstrong, right, during a news conference Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in St. Louis. The Blues are sticking with Hitchcock for another season, announcing the veteran NHL hockey coach has signed a one-year contract with the team. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — After careful deliberation, the St. Louis Blues are sticking with veteran coach Ken Hitchcock for another season.

The Blues and Hitchcock on Tuesday announced a one-year contract. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“This is unfinished business for me,” Hitchcock said. “I don’t want to coach to coach, I want to coach to win. I couldn’t find a better spot.”

Both Hitchcock and general manager Doug Armey referred to the term “detoxing” since the Blues were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Instead of sweeping personnel changes, they promise increased commitment.

Armstrong said he wouldn’t break up the core group that’s been in place for several seasons, including captain David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo and Patrik Berglund, just to make a change.

“There is value if we get better players in return,” Armstrong said. “No trade is better than a poor trade. We’re going to explore improving our team, but it has to make sense.”

Heading the list of the offseason objectives is re-signing Vladimir Tarasenko, among the NHL goal-scoring leaders, to a long-term deal.

Hitchcock appeared glum at the news conference after the Blues were eliminated in six games by the Minnesota Wild. He was all smiles on Tuesday.

“The emotion when the series was over was `Get me away from here,'” Hitchhcock said. “There was a time when you’re not really sure, then it got over-ridden by passion to coach and teach.”

Hitchcock said the half-ice game that works so well in the regular season won’t work in the playoffs. He wants to see more “reckless” play.

“I really believe in the group, but I also believe if we don’t make the internal changes that are necessary, we’re going to get passed,” Hitchcock said. “The four fastest teams in the NHL are playing right now.

“If Doug doesn’t change anybody, we can do that.”

Hitchcock took over as Blues coach during the 2011-2012 season. He has led St. Louis to an NHL-best 175-79-27 regular-season record since then. The postseason has been a different story.

Under Hitchcock, the Blues have made it past the first round of the playoffs just once in four tries, and never past the second. This season, they had the third-best record in franchise history (51-24-7, 109 points) but lost in the first round to lower-seeded Minnesota in six games.

The Blues were among several teams who met with Mike Babcock, the former Detroit coach, before he signed with Toronto for a reported $50 million over eight years.

Armstrong hesitated briefly before responding to a question whether he’d known all along that Hitchcock was the man he wanted.

“We got pulled into the wake of another boat,” the GM said. “We were fine going down the river at our own pace. As uncomfortable as it was for fans to wait, it was the comfort level this organization needed.”

Hitchcock, 63, is the NHL’s fourth-winningest coach with a record of 708-429-185. He reached the 700-win milestone on March 12. He has the highest winning percentage of any Blues coach in the history of the franchise.

Hitchcock has coached in the NHL for 18 seasons with Dallas, Philadelphia, Columbus and St. Louis, making the postseason 13 times. He led Dallas to the 1999 Stanley Cup championship. He won the Jack Adams Award as the league’s best coach in 2012.

He is second all-time in wins among Blues coaches with 175, trailing only Joel Quenneville, who had 307.

Despite his success, both general manager Doug Armstrong and Hitchcock were non-committal entering the offseason, leading to Armstrong’s discussions with Babcock.

Armstrong said those talks, and Hitchcock signing a one-year contract, should have no effect on player performance.

“The reality is, this is Ken’s third one-year deal,” Armstrong said. “This is something we’re comfortable with. I would be shocked if a player wants to flush a year of his career away because a coach is on a one-year deal.”


NEW YORK (AP) — Jason Vargas is being activated from the 15-day disabled list and is going to start for the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night against the New York Yankees.

The left-hander hasn’t pitched since May 5 because of a flexor muscle strain. He will fill the rotation spot of Danny Duffy, who was placed on the DL Monday with biceps tendinitis.

Left-hander Brandon Finnegan was optioned to Triple-A Omaha to make room for Vargas. Finnegan was recalled Monday and he pitched three hitless innings in relief of Jeremy Guthrie during the Royals’ 14-1 loss to New York.

Vargas is 3-1 with a 5.26 ERA in five starts this season.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks placed rookie Enrique Burgos on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis on Tuesday, a day after the reliever faced two batters and gave up hits to both.

Left-hander Vidal Nuno was recalled from Triple-A Reno.

The 24-year-old Burgos had 25 strikeouts in 13 appearances over 13 2-3 innings, leading major league relievers with 16.46 strikeouts per nine innings. He is 0-2 with a 4.61 ERA.

Burgos met with team trainers and manager Chip Hale after throwing warmups Monday and stayed in the game, if briefly, to start the ninth inning of a 3-2, 10-inning loss.

Hale said the team might have pushed Burgos too hard.

“I probably should have backed off him a little bit, but he’s been pitching so great and getting us out of such tough situations in games that we just kept bringing him in,” Hale said. “Finally, the shoulder was just tired.”

The 27-year-old Nuno began his second stint with Arizona and could be used in long relief.

He struck out a career-high eight in 6 2-3 innings. The outing was the longest by a Diamondbacks reliever since Randy Johnson threw seven innings in 2001 in the completion of a suspended game.


ST. LOUIS (AP) — Cardinals pitching prospect Marco Gonzales won’t throw for about three weeks and will get a cortisone injection for a shoulder injury.

St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday an MRI showed the 23-year-old left-hander has an impingement. Gonzales is on the roster of Triple-A Memphis, and he skipped a start in late April.

Mozeliak says Gonzales will be re-evaluated in a week to 10 days. He also said Gonzales needs to work on strengthening exercises.

“I think it’s very good news because this is something that can be managed,” Mozeliak said. “There’s probably a few things that he needs to start doing in his daily routine to get him through this.”

Selected with the 19th overall pick in the 2013 amateur draft, Gonzales was among the spring-training contenders for the fifth starting.

Gonzales was 4-2 with a 4.19 ERA in five starts for St. Louis last year and pitched in relief in the postseason. He is 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA in six minor league starts this year.


Missouri High School Baseball Playoffs


Class 1
Dora 6
Lesterville 3

The Dora Falcons play at Bell City in the quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon.

Class 2
Norwood will play Marionville Wednesday at Marionville.

by Harlin Hutchison
(West Plains) – The Missouri State University-West Plains athletic programs will be the beneficiary of next months Grizzly Golf Classic at the West Plains Country Club.

Grizzly basketball coach Yancey Walker talks about the importance of the revenue generated by the tournament:

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To enter the tournament, contact Joe Kammerer at 417-255-7240

(West Plains) – After two huge weekends of “special events” at Legit Speedway in West Plains, this weekend will be the first purely points race night.

Park officials say there will be a full field of cars in Bone Stock, Hobby Stock, USRA B-Mod, IMCA Modified, Super Stock and Late Models.

Hobby Stock

Your Hobby Stock points leader going into week three is Corey Lambert of West Plains, Mo. The #79 car has posted a 1st and 2nd place finish in the first two races and leads the Hobby Stock points race with 195 points.


Pos Driver Car # City, State Points Behind
1 Corey Lambert 79 West Plains MO 195 Leader
2    Allen McChesney 80 Squires MO 175 -20
3    Chris Murray 4 West Plains MO 165 -30
4    Clifford Collins 00 West Plains MO 158 -37
5    James Brown 35 Mammoth Spring AR 144 -51


In the USRA B-Mod division, #44 Rustin Miller of Houston, MO is your leader with 100 points. The rest of the top five in the B-Mod division are as follows:


Pos Driver Car # City, State Points Behind
1 Rustin Miller    44 Houston MO 100 Leader
2    Toby Thompson    24T Mountain Grove Mo 95            -5
3    Dustin Shaw    11,11A Birch Tree Mo 91   -9
4    Lonnie Judd    10 Caulfield MO 87 -13
5    Carl Murphy    2M Caulfield Mo 84 -16

Super Stock

Coming off a great start this season, Tony Anglin of Walnut Ridge in the G1 car has a #1 and #2 finish to take the points lead in the Super Stock Division. Anglin is in 2nd place in the points standing at Batesville as well. Landon Clinton in the L18 is 11 points behind after his win last Saturday night.



Pos Driver Car # City, State Points Behind
1 Tony Anglin G1 Walnut Ridge AR     195 Leader
2 Landon Clinton 18 Willow Springs Mo   184 -11
3 Donnie Miller 26M West Plains MO 172 -23
4 Fred Scarbrough 55 Mammoth Spring AR   157 -38
5 John Kelly 31,35XXX Birch Tree Mo 146 -49

Late Model

On opening night at “Farmers Appreciation Night”, Billy Moyer Jr of Batesville got on a track that was really tied down and turned a 102+ MPH speed on his best lap to become our late model leader


Pos Driver Car #      City, State Points Behind
1 Billy Moyer JR    21JR Batesville Ar 100 Leader
2    Justin Asplin    77A Birch Tree Mo 95   -5
3    Jeff Roth    14R Bentonville AR 91   -9
4    Randy Roth    26R Bentonville AR 87 -13
5    Greg Hughes    7H West Plains MO 84 -16



With a #2 and #3 finish in the first two weeks, Daryl Hay of Doniphan in the D97 car is the points leader in the IMCA modified class. Hay, who finished #43 in the UMP points race at Kentucky Lake last year hopes to keep his IMCA point lead this weekend at Legit Speedway.



Pos Driver Car # City, State Points Behind
1 Daryl Hay    D97 Doniphan Mo 77 Leader
2    Shane Kelley    2SLY Jonesboro Ar 76     -1
3    Matthew Rodgers    M93 Doniphan Mo 72     -5
   Cam Rank    8,8A Fairdealing MO 72     -5
5    Brian Ritchie    3K New Ark AR 40   -37

“Legit” Apparel is also now available in the tower concession area, along with Kerusso Christian T-Shirts. All profit from the Kerusso sales goes to ministry to children and youth in the area.

Gates open Saturday at 5PM with Hot Laps at 6:30 and races at 7 PM. Tickets are $10 for adults,  $8 for veterans and senior adults, kids 6-12 are $5, and kids under 6 are free.

You can always keep up with news, points standings, results from previous races or see the calendar for upcoming events at the track web site at

by RB Fallstrom, AP

St. Louis Cardinals' Kolten Wong, right, is tagged out by Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed while attempting to steal second during the fifth inning of a baseball game Monday, May 25, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

St. Louis Cardinals’ Kolten Wong, right, is tagged out by Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed while attempting to steal second during the fifth inning of a baseball game Monday, May 25, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Mark Trumbo connected for a big homer for Arizona. Jhonny Peralta landed the knockout blow for St. Louis.

Trumbo hit a tying two-run drive in the eighth, but Peralta’s leadoff drive in the 10th inning handed the Diamondbacks a 3-2 loss on Monday.

“I’m kind of in one of those stretches where I’m not killing the ball, but trying to remain as tough as I can,” Trumbo said. “I have to, in order to get some of these guys behind me pitches.”

It was the first time that Trumbo had driven in a run since he homered twice and had four RBIs in a 14-6 victory over Washington on May 12. He hit his seventh homer on a 1-2 pitch from Kevin Siegrist with shadows beginning to affect play in early evening.

“I got a fastball I could handle,” Trumbo said. “But it wasn’t one of those situations where you feel like you’re really in the driver’s seat, I guess.”

The Diamondbacks totaled nine hits, stranded 11 and were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position. The bottom four in the order, including two pinch hitters, combined for a single and a walk.

“When they do perform like they did the last series, we score a lot of runs,” manager Chip Hale said. “So it’s important, and it’s a work in progress.”

The Diamondbacks scored four or more runs in each of the previous six games. But they have dropped six of their last seven against the NL Central-leading Cardinals while getting held to two or fewer runs five times.

Peralta’s drive to left on a 1-2 pitch from J.C. Ramirez (1-1) was his fourth career game-winning homer. The Cardinals improved to 4-1 in five extra-inning home games in May, including a sweep against the Pirates at the beginning of the month.

Arizona stranded five the last two innings. The Cardinals wasted two hits to open the ninth when Ramirez struck out Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday and Matt Adams.

Carlos Martinez matched his career high with eight strikeouts in seven innings for St. Louis, which got an RBI apiece from Matt Adams and Jason Heyward. Trevor Rosenthal (1-0) retired Chris Owings and Tuffy Gosewisch with the bases loaded to end the 10th.

Arizona starter Chase Anderson allowed two runs in six innings. Yasmany Tomas had three singles, giving him 18 hits in a nine-game hitting streak.

Martinez has four eight-strikeout games and has totaled 13 1/3 scoreless innings his last two outings. He gave up five hits and walked two.


Diamondbacks: Reliever David Hernandez (elbow) was set to make his fourth rehab appearance, and second straight with Double-A Mobile. … Reliever Oliver Perez stayed in after Holliday lined a single off his right ankle in the seventh, but left after walking Adams on four pitches. … Enrique Burgos got a visit from Hale and trainers after warmups in the ninth, complaining of undisclosed soreness, and then lasted just two hitters. Hale said Burgos will be re-evaluated and that the team would make a decision on the pitcher Tuesday.

Cardinals: Leadoff man Jon Jay (left wrist) begins a short rehab stint Tuesday with Class A Peoria. General manager John Mozeliak said Jay could be in the lineup as soon as Friday. … LHP Marco Gonzales might skip a start due to recurring shoulder issues.


Diamondbacks: Archie Bradley (2-1, 4.00 ERA) is 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA in his last two starts since sustaining a right sinus fracture after being struck in the face by a line drive by Carlos Gonzalez on April 28.

Cardinals: Jaime Garcia (0-1, 2.57 ERA) makes his second start of the season after allowing two runs in seven innings against the Mets.