Off the wire

GOLF

Woods struggles in Bahamas

Tiger Woods opened with four birdies in seven holes. The closing stretch was another struggle Friday in the Hero World Challenge, which included a putt that went off the green and into the bunker at Nassau, Bahamas. It added to a 2-under 70 that left Woods 10 shots behind Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth, but still getting around just fine at Albany and slowly getting back into the groove. But the back nine isn't helping. Woods shot 39 on the back in the opening round, and he shot 38 on Friday with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th. For Woods, there wasn't a great mystery why he wasn't finishing better. This is his first tournament since he withdrew before finishing his third round Sunday morning at the rain-delayed Masters, and he had ankle fusion surgery a few weeks later. In fact, Woods hasn't finished 72 holes since the 2022 Masters.

FOOTBALL

RB Jones out vs. Chiefs

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones will miss a second consecutive game Sunday night when the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs visit Lambeau Field. Packers Coach Matt LaFleur said after Friday's practice that Jones wouldn't be available. Jones hurt his left knee late in the second quarter of a 23-20 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 19. He sat out the Packers' 29-22 Thanksgiving Day triumph at Detroit and hadn't practiced this week. The 28-year-old Jones has rushed for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns on 66 carries in seven games for the Packers (5-6) this season. He also has 19 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown.

Flacco to start vs. Rams

Joe Flacco will start Sunday for the Cleveland Browns, who are turning to the veteran quarterback to keep them in the playoff chase. The 38-year-old Flacco is the fourth QB to start this season for the Browns (7-4). He was signed two weeks ago after Deshaun Watson underwent shoulder surgery, and Flacco is playing this week against the Los Angeles Rams because rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson remains in concussion protocol after getting hurt in last week's loss at Denver. If Flacco plays well this week, he'll likely remain Cleveland's starter for the rest of this season. It's a twist for the Browns as Flacco spent 11 seasons beating them while he played for AFC North rival Baltimore. Flacco went 17-3 against Cleveland with the Ravens, and he beat the Browns last season when he threw four touchdown passes and rallied the New York Jets to a 31-30 win.

NFL suspends Browns' WR

The NFL suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Michael Woods on Friday for the final six games this season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Woods, a sixth-round pick in 2021 from Oklahoma, has been sidelined all season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He got hurt while working out in Texas with quarterback Deshaun Watson during the offseason and underwent surgery in April. The league did not provide any other details about why Woods was suspended. The 23-year-old played in 10 games for the Browns last season, finishing with five catches for 45 yards. He also contributed on special teams.

Nevada fires head coach

Nevada Coach Ken Wilson, who won two games in each of his two seasons after returning to Reno, was fired Friday. The Wolf Pack went 4-20 under Wilson, and they averaged 18.8 points in his first season and 17.3 this year. Their defense gave up more than 30 points a game both seasons. Wilson was either on Nevada's coaching staff or part of its administration from 1989-2012. He then became the linebackers coach at Washington State from 2013-18 and co-defensive coordinator at Oregon from 2019-21 before returning to Reno.

HOCKEY

Devils' defenseman suspended

New Jersey Devils defenseman Brendan Smith was suspended for two games without pay by the NHL on Friday for slashing Philadelphia forward Travis Konecny. After Konecny cross-checked Smith in the Devils' 4-3 overtime victory Thursday night, Smith retaliated with a hard swing to Konecny's left side. Smith was called for slashing penalty. The suspension will cost him $11,458. The NHL fined Konecny $5,000 for cross-checking.

BASEBALL

Reds sign two pitchers

The Reds finalized a $26 million, two-year contract with pitcher Nick Martinez on Friday and a $16 million, two-year deal with reliever Emilio Pagan. Martinez, a 33-year-old right-hander, gets $14 million in 2024 and $12 million in 2025. Pagan, a 32-year-old right-hander has an $8 million salary next season, and the deal includes an $8 million player option for 2025. Martinez made $10 million this year, when he went 6-3 with a 3.43 ERA in nine starts and 54 relief appearances in his second season with the San Diego Padres. He was 4-4 with a 3.47 ERA with eight saves in 10 starts and 37 relief appearances for the Padres in 2022. Pagan went 5-2 with a 2.99 ERA and one save in 65 relief appearances and one start for the Twins, striking out 65 and walking 21. He is 22-18 with a 3.71 ERA and 32 saves in seven major league seasons with Seattle (2017), Oakland (2018), Tampa Bay (2019), San Diego (2020-21) and Minnesota (2022-23).

Pirates add C Sanchez

The Pittsburgh Pirates signed catcher Ali Sanchez to a 1-year deal on Friday, giving them another player to throw in the mix behind the plate with Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis. The 26-year-old Sanchez spent all of last season with Arizona's Triple-A affiliate in Reno, hitting 311 with 10 doubles, 11 home runs and 43 RBI in 67 games. He also threw out 22 base runners. Sanchez has appeared in seven major league games, five for the New York Mets in 2020 and two for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2021.

Yanks claim OF Gonzalez

Oscar Gonzalez, whose walk-off single beat the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2022 AL division series, was claimed by New York off waivers from the Cleveland Guardians on Friday. The 25-year-old outfielder is a right-handed hitter and batted .214 with 2 home runs and 12 RBI in 54 games this year. He made his major league debut on May 26, 2022, and hit .296 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI in 91 games. Gonzalez's 15th-inning home run off Tampa Bay's Corey Kluber completed a two-game Wild Card Series sweep in 2022. Against the Yankees in the division series, he hit a tiebreaking 10th-inning single off Clay Holmes and scored on Josh Naylor's double as Cleveland won 4-2 in Game 2.