Sports briefs 4-15-14: Olympic great Michael Phelps to swim again

BETH HARRIS AP Sports Writer Published:

Don't expect the same Michael Phelps in his return to swimming after a nearly two-year retirement.

Even if Phelps' comeback is a success, it will be different this time around.

No more swimming seven or eight events at the Olympics or world championships. No more grueling individual medleys.

This time, it's about taking on fewer and shorter races than the 22-time Olympic medalist did in his prime.

At 28, Phelps is far from being too old to dive into the pool. In recent years, swimmers have successfully competed into their 30s and in the case of Dara Torres, who was 41 at her last Olympics in 2008, won medals.

Phelps will compete for the first time since the 2012 London Games at a meet in Mesa, Ariz., on April 24-26.

No one is confirming Phelps has his eye on a fifth Olympics in 2016. But to resume the grind of training and drug testing, surely the Rio Games are on his radar.

• Baseball

Throws off mound: Reds closer Aroldis Chapman threw off a mound on Monday for the first time since he was hit in the forehead by a line drive during spring training.

The left-hander threw 25 pitches in the bullpen before Cincinnati opened a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Reds will gradually increase his activities and hope to have him back sometime in May.

Draws 1.5 million: Major League Baseball games drew over 1.5 million fans during a crowded early weekend.

MLB said Monday the 45 dates over the weekend averaged nearly 34,000, boosted by big crowds at Yankee Stadium for the Boston-New York rivalry. The total attendance of 1,524,508 was the highest this early in April for any weekend that didn't include a home opener.

• Basketball

OSU adding transfer: Virginia Tech's Trevor Thompson, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, says he's transferring to play at Ohio State.

Thompson will have three years of eligibility remaining, most likely sitting out a year to begin playing in the 2015-16 season.

Thompson, the son of former major-league baseball player Ryan Thompson, played in 29 games last season for the Hokies, starting in 10 while averaging 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds.

Big win off court: The Pacers' biggest win so far this season came off the court.

In exchange for providing $164 million to pay for operating costs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse over the next 10 years, the Pacers agreed to extend a lease agreement that will keep them in Indy for up to 13 more seasons. Board members voted 8-0 in favor of the deal.

Harris to NBA: Gary Harris is going pro, thanks in part to coach Tom Izzo's recommendation.

The Michigan State shooting guard is entering the NBA draft, choosing to skip his last two years of college.

"It's time to follow my dream," Harris said in a statement released by the school.

• Elsewhere

Union's moment: Hopes are high at tiny Union College now that they toppled the heavyweights of hockey for the national crown.

Union is a school with 2,200 students and no athletic scholarships. But it became a giant-killer by defeating Boston College in the semifinals before dispatching Minnesota 7-4 Saturday for its first NCAA hockey title.

On a campus that pays more attention to its academic standing than team rankings, there's a feeling that the rafter-shaking win will reverberate in terms of more national attention and interest from prospective students.

Mack reports: Dressed in a powder blue T-shirt, plaid shorts and a pair of flip-flops, Alex Mack looked ready to take a stroll on a beach somewhere in Florida. Maybe someday.

Instead, Mack walked back into work in Cleveland, still a member of the Browns.

Mack reported for the Browns' offseason program on Monday, three days after the team quickly matched the five-year, $42 million offer sheet he signed from the Jacksonville Jaguars

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