Wedge tells Mariners he won't return as manager
SEATTLE — Eric Wedge told the Seattle Mariners on Friday that he will not return as manager next season, saying it became obvious he did not have a future with the organization.
Wedge will manage the final three games of this season against Oakland before the Mariners begin a search for a new manager.
"It's got to the point where it's painfully obvious to me that I just wasn't going to be able to move forward with this organization," Wedge said before Friday's game. "We see things differently and we talked about it but it just got to the point where I couldn't continue to move forward. Ultimately, I didn't feel like I could continue to manage here with the circumstances the way they are."
Wedge was brought in to replace Don Wakamatsu — who was fired during the 2010 season — because of the track record he built in Cleveland, taking the Indians through a rebuilding process and nearly leading them to the World Series. But the rebuilding never seemed to end in Seattle where there was a constant influx of young prospects and some veterans failing to meet expectations.
Seattle, which has never reached the World Series, entered the final weekend 70-89, assured of its fourth straight losing season. General manager Jack Zduriencik said the club had every intention of bringing Wedge back for 2014.
"I was looking forward to having Eric back but through his series of thought processes he decided that this wasn't going to work," Zduriencik said.
Wedge indicated the team had approached him last offseason about a one-year extension but he didn't feel that was a "proper endorsement" when trying to rebuild a team. Wedge complained this week that he felt he was left "hanging out there" by the organization on his status for next year.
"I didn't feel like that sent the right message to the players first and foremost and then ultimately the fans, too," Wedge said. "Ultimately, that endorsement just wasn't there for me."
Cassel gets start at QB against Steelers in London
LONDON — Matt Cassel will get a chance to steer the Minnesota Vikings to their first win of the season — and maybe put himself in position for a more regular role.
Cassel will replace injured starter Christian Ponder at quarterback against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Wembley Stadium. The Vikings (0-3) ruled out Ponder on Friday with a fractured rib sustained in last weekend's 31-27 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Cassel hasn't played a down this season since signing a two-year deal with the Vikings in the offseason. The former New England Patriot threw six touchdowns and 12 interceptions in nine games for the 2-14 Chiefs last season.
Ponder, a third-year pro, has struggled this season, throwing two touchdowns and five interceptions for a 65.9 passer rating. He also has lost two fumbles.
LOS ANGELES — The NCAA has turned down Southern California's request for possible relief from the sanctions that have been imposed on the football program since 2010.
Athletic director Pat Hayden had said USC felt compelled to discuss the sanctions after the NCAA's recent decision to lessen the scholarship reductions that Penn State was hit with after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
But NCAA spokeswoman Meghan Durham released a statement Friday saying there is no comparison between the USC and Penn State cases.
She said USC's case was heard before the Committee on Infractions and appealed, and there would be no further appeals.
ATTLEBORO, Mass. - A cousin, an associate and the fiancee of Aaron Hernandez became the latest charged in the former New England Patriot's murder case, which has drawn in several Connecticut residents whom authorities suspect were involved in or had knowledge of Odin Lloyd's death.
The indictments the Bristol County, Mass., District Attorney's office announced Friday double the number of individuals who face murder-related charges in connection with the shooting, though the former Patriot is the only person charged with murder. His cousin and the two men who were in the car with him and the victim on June 17 are accused of aiding Hernandez in concealing evidence related to Lloyd's death.
Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez's fiancee who for several months has been of interest to investigators, was indicted on a perjury charge. Authorities say she lied in her testimony before the grand jury. Lloyd was the boyfriend of Jenkins' sister.
Compiled from wire reports