July 24 Sports Briefs

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Vikings offensive line coach Sparano died of heart disease

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A county medical examiner says Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died of heart disease. The Hennepin County medical examiner’s office said Monday afternoon that the 56-year-old Sparano died of arteriosclerotic heart disease, or hardening of the arteries. The manner of death is listed in the autopsy report as natural. Sparano died Sunday in Eden Prairie, a Minneapolis suburb. He had been the Vikings’ offensive line coach since 2016. Sparano began his NFL coaching career in 1999 and had stints as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He was the Dolphins’ head coach from 2008-11 and went 29-32. He went 11-5 and won the AFC East in his first season with Miami. Sparano also spent time with the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys and 49ers.

Poncedeleon dazzles in debut but Reds rally past Cardinals

CINCINNATI (AP) — St. Louis starter Daniel Poncedeleon made a sensational debut 14 months after suffering a severe head injury. He threw no-hit ball for seven innings on Monday night before Eugenio Suarez led the Cincinnati Reds’ two-out rally in the ninth for a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals. Suarez’s two-out, solo homer off Bud Norris (3-3) tied it 1-1. The closer then loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk, and pinch-hitter Dilson Herrera singled to end the Reds’ losing streak at four games. Jared Hughes (3-3) pitched the ninth inning for Cincinnati. The late rally overshadowed Poncedeleon’s incredible comeback. The 26-year-old right-hander was hit on the right temple by a line drive while pitching for Triple-A Memphis on May 9 last year, fracturing his skull and causing bleeding in the brain. He had emergency surgery followed by months of slow recovery. Poncedeleon was one of the top pitchers in the Pacific Coast League when St. Louis called him up Monday to help their injury-depleted rotation. He walked three and struck out three, threw 116 pitches and gave way to a pinch-hitter in the eighth with St. Louis up 1-0.

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