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Cubs fire Renteria, hire Maddon.

BASEBALL

Maddon new Cubs manager

Right after Joe Maddon opted out of his contract with Tampa Bay, the Chicago Cubs were mentioned as a possible landing spot for one of baseball's best managers. Flush with prospects and ready to make a splash in free agency, the Cubs already had a manager in Rick Renteria. But they just couldn't resist the lure of Maddon's sudden availability. Looking for a turnaround after five consecutive losing seasons, the Cubs announced Friday that they had hired Maddon to replace Renteria after just one year on the job. The move pairs the respected Maddon with a promising roster and a franchise with far more resources than he ever enjoyed with the small-market Rays. Renteria was fired after leading Chicago to a 73-89 record in his only season as a major league manager. It was a seven-win improvement from 2013, but not close to reaching the playoffs or putting the Cubs in position to win their first World Series title since 1908. ''Maddon -- who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us -- had become a free agent,'' Cubs president Theo Epstein said in a statement. ''We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe.''

The Red Sox have declined to exercise their $4 million option on left-handed reliever Craig Breslow. Breslow was a key part of the Boston's bullpen in 2013, when the Red Sox won the World Series. But he struggled in the Series and again this year, when he had a 2-4 record and 5.96 ERA. General manager Ben Cherington indicated Thursday he was open to bringing back the 34-year-old Yale graduate. But by declining the option, which triggered a $100,000 buyout, the Red Sox allowed Breslow to become eligible for free agency. Also Friday, the Red Sox reinstated outfielder Shane Victorino from the 60-day disabled list. He had back surgery on Aug. 5.

COLLEGES

Michigan AD resigns

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon resigned Friday, setting the stage for new leadership at the top of one of the nation's most prominent athletic departments. Brandon's departure comes amid another disappointing football season and concerns over the school's handling of everything from its concussions protocol to student attendance at games. Football coach Brady Hoke's future has been in doubt for a while thanks to his team's lack of progress, but Brandon also became a target of disgruntled fans and students. Brandon's resignation becomes official today, and the university has agreed to pay him a total of $3 million through 2018.

Kentucky is No. 1 in The Associated Press men's basketball preseason Top 25 for the second straight season. The Wildcats lived up to expectations last season, overcoming a midseason slump to reach the national championship game, where they lost to Connecticut. With most of that team back and another stellar recruiting class in place, Kentucky received 52 first-place votes from the 65-member panel to become the fourth team to earn consecutive preseason No. 1s. Arizona was No. 2, receiving five first-place votes. No. 3 Wisconsin, with most of its team returning from last year's Final Four run, had eight first-place votes but were 35 points behind Arizona in overall points.

HOCKEY

Leafs' Lupul has broken hand

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without left wing Joffrey Lupul, who broke a bone in his right hand in a fall at practice on Thursday. The 31-year-old Lupul has 186 goals and 202 assists in 609 games.

The Buffalo Sabres sent No. 2 overall draft pick Sam Reinhart to the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League. Reinhart, 19, has played in nine games for the struggling Sabres, recording one assist and just three shots on goal. NHL rules stipulate that a drafted rookie can play in up to nine games on a trial basis. Once Reinhart played his 10th, he would've been committed to the NHL for the full season and started the clock on his rookie contract.

GOLF

Haas leads Schwab Cup

Jay Haas birdied four of the last six holes for an 8-under 62 and a four-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Scottsdale, Arizona. The 60-year-old Haas, the oldest player in field limited to the top 30 players on the money list, had his 38th straight round of par or better to break Loren Roberts' tour record. Haas won two weeks ago in North Carolina to become the 18th player to win a Champions Tour event at 60 or older. He has 17 victories on the 50-and-over tour after winning nine times on the PGA Tour. Haas had a 12-under 128 total on Desert Mountain's Cochise Course. First-round leader Tom Pernice Jr. was second after a 67.

Inbee Park shot a 10-under 62 at Miramar to take a three-stroke lead in the LPGA Taiwan Championship, her first event since regaining the No. 1 spot in the world Monday. The South Korean star played the first eight holes in 6 under, holing out from 82 yards for eagle on the par-4 eighth and making five birdies and a bogey. She birdied four of the first six holes on the back nine and closed with three pars.

Billy Hurley III made six birdies on his front nine en route to his second straight 5-under 67 and a two-shot lead after the second round of the CIMB Classic. A former U.S. Navy lieutenant who did active duty in the Persian Gulf from 2007-09, Hurley is chasing his first tour victory. Kevin Streelman was second after a 68 at Kuala Lumpur CC.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 1, 2014
Words:975
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