Sports Briefs 4-4-13

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COLUMBUS -- The Blue Jackets have rarely been in a playoff race since they entered the league in 2000.

So, in this season of surprise for Columbus, they surely wanted to take advantage of their position in the Western Conference.

And so they did just that.

Three-time NHL All-Star Marian Gaborik was the marquee player among four deals Wednesday as the improved Blue Jackets treated the trade deadline day as an opportunity to gear up for the postseason.

Gaborik and minor league defensemen Steven Delisle and Blake Partlett were acquired from the New York Rangers for center Derick Brassard, right wing Derek Dorsett, defenseman John Moore and a sixth-round pick in the 2014 draft.

Entering play Wednesday night, Columbus was 11th overall in the West, but just one point out of the eighth and final playoff berth. The Blue Jackets have made the postseason just once in their history.

"You can see," Gaborik said, "this team is going in the right direction."

In a minor-league deal, the Jackets acquired goaltender Patrick Killeen from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for future considerations.

• Baseball

Kazmir out: Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir will miss his first scheduled start of the season because of a sore abdominal muscle on his right side.

Kazmir felt fine after a 30-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, but manager Terry Francona decided to play it safe rather than start Kazmir at Tampa Bay on Saturday. Kazmir will return to Cleveland for tests and rejoin the team before Friday's game against the Rays.

Tradition ends: An Opening Day tradition in Detroit is expected to be silenced this year due to cuts as part of the automatic reduction in the federal budget.

The Detroit News reports the flyover of military aircraft from Selfridge Air National Guard Base has been scrapped for Friday's Tigers game against the New York Yankees at Comerica Park. The cuts are part of those to flyovers and demonstration flights nationwide.

• Football

Bengals acquire Skelton: The Bengals have acquired quarterback John Skelton off waivers from Arizona to compete for the job backing up Andy Dalton.

Skelton was a fifth-round pick from Fordham in 2010 who started 17 games in three seasons, including six last year. He has completed 53 percent of his passes for 3,707 yards with 15 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. The Bengals also signed linebacker Vincent Rey to a new deal on Wednesday. Rey was third in special teams tackles last season and had one sack.

Investigation continues: A former NCAA investigator told the convicted felon at the center of the Miami athletics scandal that he believed "upper levels" of the organization simply wanted the case against the Hurricanes over with, according to court records.

Emails that were apparently written by the former investigator, Ameen Najjar, to Nevin Shapiro last year were attached to court documents filed this week by Shapiro's attorney, Maria Elena Perez. In those emails, Najjar told Shapiro that he was fired on May 16, 2012 because the NCAA "did not like the way I was moving the Miami case along."

Name change: The current Big East will be called the American Athletic Conference starting next season.

The American Athletic Conference will have 10 members in its first season: Rutgers, Louisville, Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Memphis, Houston, SMU and Temple. Rutgers and Louisville are likely leaving after 2013 and are set to be replaced by Tulane, East Carolina and Tulsa in 2014. Navy is scheduled to join in 2015 for football only, and the conference will begin playing a league championship football game.

• Basketball

Cavs lose: Deron Williams scored 24 points and Brooklyn ended an eight-game road trip by crushing Cleveland 113-95, giving the Nets a record for road wins in a season.

The Nets shot 83 percent (15 of 18) in the second quarter, when they outscored the Cavs 38-16 and opened a 30-point lead without much of a fight. Brooklyn's 21 road wins are the most for the franchise, which moved to the New York City borough from New Jersey this season. Kyrie Irving scored 16 points for the Cavs, who have lost 10 straight.

Pistons fall: Jeff Green scored 34 points, including a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to snap Boston's two-minute scoring drought, and the Celtics clinched a playoff berth by beating Detroit, 98-93.

Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass scored 17 points apiece for the Celtics, who had lost two in a row and seven of their previous nine. But the victory, coupled with Philadelphia's 88-83 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, left Boston 81⁄2 games ahead of the 76ers with eight to play. Greg Monroe had 24 points and 17 rebounds and Rodney Stuckey scored 22 for the Pistons.

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