Digest: Gronkowski unsigned but Bucs are hopeful | Sports

The “Summer of Gronk” will continue, uninterrupted by the Bucs’ mandatory minicamp.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski remains unsigned and won’t be part of the team’s full squad workouts June 7-9.

Officially, he’s undecided about this NFL future. Unofficially, the Bucs are optimistic he will re-sign with the team sometime before it reports to training camp in late July.

A couple of weeks ago, Tom Brady posted video of Gronkowski, 33, shagging fly balls while Brady took batting practice at the New York Yankees training facility off Himes Avenue in Tampa. He likely caught footballs from the quarterback, too.

The Bucs are giving Gronkowski all the space he needs this offseason to decide about whether to continue his career. He’s a free agent, but with Brady unretiring for “unfinished business,” it seems highly unlikely Gronkowski would play with another quarterback.

There also is the matter of negotiating a contract once/if Gronkowski decides to play.

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Gronkowski earned base salaries of $9.25 million and $8 million with the Bucs the past two seasons. He also reached $1 million in performance incentives last year. But based on his production and skyrocketing salaries at his position, he could certainly ask for more. (Tampa Bay Times)

Allmendinger takes Xfinity race: Road-course ace AJ Allmendinger survived the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ wet and wild Portland International Raceway debut with a victory Saturday in Portland, Oregon.

Allmendinger raced to win his Xfinity record eighth victory on a road course and 12th overall series. He crossed the finish line in the Kaulig Racing Chevrolet 2.879 seconds in front of Myatt Snider. The 75-lap race on the 12-turn, 1.97-mile permanent road course north of downtown started in heavy rain, resulting in slippery conditions.

It was the first NASCAR event in the region in 22 years, and a rare stand-alone event for the second-tier national series. There were nine caution flags and eight lead changes in the race that looked at times like a demotion derby with several spinouts, bumps and wrecks. (AP)

Hagan tops Funny Car qualifying: Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan took the No. 1 qualifying position Saturday for Tony Stewart Racing at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire.

Hagan’s Friday run of 3.878 seconds at 332.51 mph in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat stood up Saturday during the final two sessions for his second straight No. 1 qualifier and third of the season.

Steve Torrence was the fastest in Top Fuel, and Dallas Glenn topped the Pro Stock field.

Torrence’s track-record run of 3.664 at 329.50 from Friday stood by for the four-time defending season champ. Glenn picked up his first No. 1 qualifier of the year and second overall with a 6.543 at 209.33 in a Chevrolet Camaro on Friday. (AP)

Missouri State rallies, SEMO eliminated in NCAA baseball: Missouri State rallied with seven runs over the final two innings in an 8-7 win over Grand Canyon (41-21) in an elimination game at the NCAA regional in Stillwater, Okla. The Bears (31-28) will play at noon Sunday in another elimination game against seventh-ranked Oklahoma State (40-21), which lost 20-12 to Arkansas late Saturday. Oklahoma State beat Missouri State 10-5 in the opening round on Friday.

Down 7-1 against Grand Canyon, the Bears got a two-run homer from Drake Baldwin in the eighth. In the ninth, Missouri State’s Spencer Nivens hit a three-run shot and Mason Hull followed up with a two-run blast to give the Bears the lead. Jake McMahill (2-1) struck out eight and picked up the win with 4 2/3 innings of solid relief.

In Louisville, Ky., SEMO (37-22) saw its season come to a close in an 18-6 loss to Oregon in a losers’ bracket game. The Ducks (36-24) built an early 8-0 lead and never looked back. The Redhawks were out hit 26-9; they got two hits and an RBI from Tyler Wilber and home runs from Brett Graber and Wyatt Grant. (staff report)

ESPN announcer apologizes for Vols gaffe: An ESPN announcer has apologized Saturday for erroneously saying on air that Tennessee catcher Evan Russell had failed a test for performance enhancing drugs and would be suspended the rest of the season.

Troy Eklund apologized for his comments during the telecast of the afternoon game between Missouri State and Grand Canyon in Stillwater, Oklahoma. An ESPN spokeswoman said the network would have no further comment.

Tennessee announced Saturday that Russell would be available to play in the Volunteers’ night game against Campbell.

Russell missed the Volunteers’ 10-0 win over Alabama State in the NCAA regional in Knoxville on Friday. Coach Tony Vitello said after the game that Russell was sick.

During a game telecast on Friday night, Eklund said Russell had failed a drug test. He did not cite a source for his information. (AP)

Ace helps Perez lead Euro Tour: A hole in one helped Victor Perez take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the European Open in Winsen, Germany, on Saturday with a chance to win a second title in as many weeks.

The Frenchman, winner of the Dutch Open last weekend, shot a 1-under 71 thanks to a great start at Green Eagle, a birdie on the par-4 first hole and a hole in one on the par-3 second.

Perez was 5 under as he moved from two behind overnight leader and playing partner Jordan Smith to one in front of Joakim Lagergren of Sweden (71) and Julien Brun of France (71). (AP)

Desert Crown wins Epsom Derby: Desert Crown strolled to victory in the Epsom Derby and gave owner Michael Stoute his sixth win in the British Classic on Saturday in Epsom, England.

Desert Crown was posted wide in mid-field in the early stages as jockey Richard Kingscote strived to settle the 5-2 favorite in the ideal position. But his class soon saw him tracking the Aidan O’Brien-trained trio of Changingoftheguard, Star Of India and Stone Age, as well as the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained West Wind Blows.

The race was put to bed shortly into the home straight, with Kingscote electing not to wait any longer with the smooth traveling colt approaching the two-furlong pole, allowing his mount to stride to the front and lap up the adulation of the sell-out crowd.

He won by two and a half lengths from 150-1 outsider Hoo Ya Mal. (AP)

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