WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Justin Verlander pitched a two-inning simulated game in place of what had been scheduled as his spring training debut, a switch made because of groin tightness. The Houston Astros ace threw approximately 30 pitches off a back-field mound before the Astros' game against Washington. New Houston manager Dusty Baker liked what he saw of the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. Verlander was 21-6 with a 2.52 ERA last season. Baker thinks Verlander will start on Tuesday against St. Louis in Jupiter. Verlander won't commit until he sees how he recovers.
BOSTON (AP) — Nick Ritchie had a goal and an assist for his first points since Boston acquired him at the trade deadline, and the NHL-leading Bruins snapped a two-game losing streak by beating the Dallas Stars 4-3. Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots, and Charlie Coyle scored on a double-tipped swat out of the air for Boston. Ben Bishop made 24 saves and John Klingberg also scored for the Stars, who had won two straight and seven of their previous nine games.
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — Dallas Cowboys defensive end Robert Quinn testified Thursday that he doesn’t remember whether he received money from a former college football player charged with violating North Carolina’s sports agent law nearly a decade ago. The nine-year NFL veteran and impending free agent testified via video from Texas. Christopher Hawkins is on trial for providing improper benefits to Quinn and two other former Tar Heels football players in 2010. A prosecutor asked Quinn about a 2013 interview with an investigator in which he said he received money from Hawkins, but Quinn responded multiple times that didn't remember.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Jasmine Walker drained a career-high six 3-pointers and scored 24 points and Alabama made a dominant second quarter hold up for a 76-63 upset over No. 12 Texas A&M. Chennedy Carter scored 16 points for Texas A&M. The game was tied at 12 after one quarter. In the second quarter the Crimson Tide shot 10 of 15 and had runs of 8-0 and 7-0. The Aggies were 4 of 16. Carter moved past Lisa Branco into third on A&M's all-time scoring list with her 60th-consecutive double-figure scoring game. A&M dropped out of sole possession of third with one game remaining.
UNDATED (AP) — There are two intriguing games in the Big 12 on Saturday that feature teams that are likely locks for the NCAA Tournament against teams that have some work to do. The first happens in Lubbock, where Texas takes on No. 22 Texas Tech in a game that could help to solidify the Longhorns' at-large resume. The second happens in Morgantown, where Oklahoma plays No. 20 West Virginia. Elsewhere, top-ranked Kansas visits Kansas State in the first meeting between the schools since their game in Lawrence ended in a brawl that spilled into the stands.
CHICAGO (AP) — José Altuve and the Houston Astros visit Oakland on March 30 in one of the most intriguing dates on the major league calendar this year. The Nationals celebrate their first World Series championship before they host Pete Alonso and the New York Mets in their home opener on April 2. The Cubs take on the Cardinals in London in June, and the Yankees meet the White Sox in August in the first major league game in Iowa. The Astros will be closely watched this season after they were punished by Major League Baseball for their sign-stealing program in their run to the 2017 World Series title.
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Shawn Stith scored 21 points with a perfect night shooting and Cal State Bakersfield clobbered UT Rio Grande Valley 79-59. Stith made all six of his field goals and all nine foul shots. Taze Moore scored 18, Demonte Buckingham 15 and Czar Perry 12 for Cal State Bakersfield. Lesley Varner II led the Vaqueros with 18 points, Javon Levi scored 15 and Chris Freeman 11. The Roadrunners sprinted to a 21-5 lead featuring three dunks by Moore and another from Perry. Moore had four dunks in an eight-minute span of the first half and the Roadrunners led 44-22 at intermission.