National sports briefs


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MLB to move trading deadline?

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Commissioner Rob Manfred thinks baseball may need to consider moving the trade deadline back to give teams in the hunt for a wild card more time.

A second wild card in each league was added in 2012, keeping more teams in playoff contention long past the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. And those clubs may not have enough time to evaluate whether their rosters are good enough to get one.

“I think that the July 31st deadline is something that we may want to revisit in the context of the revised playoff format,” Manfred said Wednesday. “Obviously when you have two additional opportunities to be in the playoffs, you have more teams in the hunt and they may want to wait a little longer before they make decisions.”

“On the other hand, you’ve got to remember, we want teams that the core of which have been together for the year playing in the postseason,” he said. “So you have to just balance those two issues, I think.”

Tomlin gets 2-year extension

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the team through 2018.

Financial terms of the deal announced Thursday were not disclosed. Tomlin is 82-46 with Pittsburgh since replacing Bill Cowher following the 2006 season. The Steelers have won one Super Bowl and appeared in another under Tomlin and are coming off an 11-5 mark and an AFC North title in 2014.

Steelers President Art Rooney II called Tomlin “one of the top coaches” in the NFL. Tomlin calls his time with the Steelers a “wonderful experience.”

The Steelers report for training camp at Saint Vincent College on Saturday and open the preseason in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 9.

A’s deal Kazmir to Astros

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Scott Kazmir is heading to his hometown Houston Astros and into the thick of a pennant race, and the Oakland Athletics are starting their summer sell-off.

The A’s began their expected changes leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, sending the left-hander to the Astros for a pair of minor leaguers Thursday in what could be the first of many significant deals across the majors in the next week.

Oakland received sought-after catcher Jacob Nottingham and right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden in the swap with its AL West rival — and the Astros got a top-tier starter as they chase a playoff berth in the season’s second half. Houston hasn’t been to the playoffs since being swept in the 2005 World Series by the Chicago White Sox when the Astros were still in the National League.

Even with all the trade talk surrounding him, the news caught the 31-year-old Kazmir by surprise. He was scheduled to start Thursday against Toronto and woke up preparing to play at least one more game in green and gold.

Instead, Kazmir got a phone call from A’s general manager Billy Beane and manager Bob Melvin informing he had been traded.

Cavs trade 2nd-round pick

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cavaliers have traded second-round pick Rakeem Christmas to the Indiana Pacers for a second-round selection in 2019.

The Cavs selected Christmas, who averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebound as a senior at Syracuse, with the No. 36 overall pick last month. He appeared in four summer league games for the Cavs in Las Vegas, averaging 8.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 20.9 minutes.

Pacers President Larry Bird said the team liked the 6-foot-9 Christmas when he worked out for them before the draft.

Christmas was thought to have a shot at making Cleveland’s roster for next season, but Cavs general manager David Griffin decided instead to acquire a future asset for him.

Pirates deal for Armis Ramirez

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Aramis Ramirez is headed back to the Pittsburgh Pirates after they acquired the veteran third baseman from the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Pirates got Ramirez on Thursday for minor league pitcher Yhonathan Barrios.

The trade came 12 years to the day after the Pirates sent Ramirez to the Chicago Cubs.

The 37-year-old Ramirez, a three-time All-Star, is hitting .247 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs in what he says is his final season.

The contending Pirates, who will also receive cash considerations in the trade, were in need of infield help with regular third baseman Josh Harrison and shortstop Jordy Mercer both out at least another month with injuries. Pittsburgh began Thursday trailing St. Louis by six games in the NL Central.

Ramirez began his major league career with Pittsburgh, hitting .263 with 76 home runs in six seasons with the Pirates.

The Pacers had acquired the second-round pick in their trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for center Roy Hibbert.

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