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Sports gambler Benjamin Tucker Patz, 24, of Napa, Calif., faces five years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty in Tampa federal court to transmitting threats in interstate or foreign commerce, for numerous violent threats he made to several professional athletes, including a pair of unnamed New England Patriots players. After he lost a $100,000 Super Bowl bet on the Los Angeles Rams in 2019, Patz threatened the Patriots players, claiming he would rape and murder their families, officials said. Those threats came to light after Patz was initially arrested and charged last year for targeting four players from the Tampa Bay Rays and one from the Chicago White Sox after the Rays lost a home game in July 2019 to the White Sox. Patz threatened to enter the athletes’ homes and behead them or their family members, the FBI said. The complaint against Patz also listed threats against players for the Atlanta Braves, the San Diego Padres, the Oakland Athletics, the Cleveland Indians, the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals. One of Patz’s accounts also threatened a player for the Swedish women’s soccer team after they beat Germany in the Women’s World Cup quarterfinal in June 2019, investigators said.

MLB

Reds’ Votto tests positive

Joey Votto will be sidelined for a stretch.
Joey Votto will be sidelined for a stretch.Aaron Doster/Associated Press

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto is out for an indefinite period after testing positive for COVID-19 at spring training, the team said. Reds manager David Bell said there were “no indications of any other issues with our team.” Players are tested at least every other day. The 36-year-old Votto has played in four spring training games, going 4 for 9 at the plate. Last season he hit .226 in 54 games, with 11 home runs and 22 RBIs . . . New York Yankees lefthander Zack Britton is scheduled for surgery Monday to remove a bone chip from his pitching elbow and seems likely to be out until at least May. Britton will not be able to throw for several weeks while the incision heals after the operation by Yankees head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad at New York-Presbyterian Hospital . . . Righthanded pitcher Forrest Whitley, 23, the Houston Astros top prospect, will undergo Tommy John surgery. Whitley, the 17th overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft, was diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on Sunday after experiencing discomfort during a batting practice session last week. He received a second opinion before opting for the surgery this week . . . New York Mets manager Luis Rojas said righthanded pitcher Carlos Carrasco is uncertain to be ready for the start of the season after elbow soreness forced him to stop throwing. Carrasco started spring training workouts in Port St. Lucie, Fla., behind other players after receiving additional medical evaluation. Carrasco is in remission from leukemia and had the novel coronavirus vaccine . . . The Texas Rangers could have a full house for their home opener next month after opening their new 40,518-seat stadium without fans in the stands last season. The Rangers could be the first team in Major League Baseball or any major US-based sports league to have a full-capacity crowd since the coronavirus pandemic started rapidly shutting down sports a year ago this week . . . Blake Cullen, an executive for the Chicago Cubs and the National League who went on to own minor league hockey, baseball and soccer teams, has died. He was 85.

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Soccer

Revolution open at Fire

The Revolution announced the dates for their first two games of the 2021 season. The season opener will be at the Chicago Fire on April 17 at 8:30 p.m. The Revolution will return to Gillette for their home opener on April 24 to face D.C. United at 8 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on NBC Sports Boston. The remaining 32 games will be announced at a later date. The team plans to have a 12-percent capacity crowd for the home opener, the first time since last year’s season opener on March 7, 2020, that fans will be permitted to attend a match at Gillette.

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Colleges

Kansas fires AD Long

Kansas fired athletic director Jeff Long less than two days after mutually parting with Les Miles amid sexual allegations dating to the football coach’s time at LSU, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the school had yet to announce the firing. Kurt Watson will serve as the interim athletic director as the school begins searching for both a new AD and new football coach. Long’s dismissal came one day after he had vowed to lead the search for Miles’s successor, a move that drew a significant amount of backlash from the Kansas alumni base. It was Long who had hired Miles, his friend of more than 30 years, despite question marks in the coach’s background that ultimately led to his firing Monday night.

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Miscellany

Predators’ Fabbro banned two games

Nashville defenseman Dante Fabbro is facing a two-game ban.
Nashville defenseman Dante Fabbro is facing a two-game ban.Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

The NHL suspended Nashville Predators rookie defenseman Dante Fabbro two games for elbowing Carolina Hurricanes forward Brock McGinn during the second period of Carolina’s 3-2 win in overtime on Tuesday night. Fabbro will forfeit $15,948.28 salary, with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund . . . The Arizona Coyotes could be without top goalie Darcy Kuemper for a significant amount of time due to a lower-body injury he suffered during game Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche . . . After a series of preliminary races dominated by Italy, the America’s Cup began in earnest off Auckland, New Zealand, with the challenger, Italy, and the Cup holder, New Zealand, were tied at one race each after the first two legs.

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