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Quick Read: San Diego Chicken is top mascot

Chicken is top mascot NEW YORK -- Plucked from among all sports mascots, San Diego's Chicken still rules the roost. The Chicken ranks first in Forbes magazine's survey of 10 most-liked sports mascots. Ted Giannoulas, the man inside the costume, n...

Chicken is top mascot

NEW YORK -- Plucked from among all sports mascots, San Diego's Chicken still rules the roost. The Chicken ranks first in Forbes magazine's survey of 10 most-liked sports mascots. Ted Giannoulas, the man inside the costume, no longer is affiliated with the Padres, but has a

78.7 awareness in the rankings.

Trailing the Chicken are the Phillie Phanatic; Mr. Met; the Racing Sausages of the Milwaukee Brewers; The Gorilla of the Phoenix Suns; Benny the Bull of Chicago; Wally the Green Monster, who represents the Red Sox; Billy the Marlin; Rocky of the Denver Nuggets; and The Coyote of the San Antonio Spurs.

Forbes polled the public on awareness, appeal and team recognition of more than 50 major sports team mascots.

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Tiger struggles at Quail

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tiger Woods delivered a few memorable shots of his own Thursday at Quail Hollow on a pleasant day that produced birdies and eagles and plenty of excitement. He hit a tee shot into the water on the par-3 17th that produced little reaction except to hold out his hand for another ball. He hit his next tee shot into the water and had to scramble for bogey. And he wound up with a 2-over 74 that left him nine shots behind Bo Van Pelt (65) and ended his streak of 21 rounds at par or better.

For everyone else -- Masters champion Phil Mickelson included with his 70 -- there was so much more.

Mickelson had a severe stomach ailment that forced him to withdraw from the pro-am Wednesday, and he started feeling it when he climbed the steep hill to the 15th green. He two-putted for birdie to reach 4 under for his round, only to three-putt from the fringe on the 17th and made another bogey from the trees on the 18th.

Kenny Perry opened with a 66, and Camilo Villegas had a 67.

NCAA approves 68-team field

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA's Board of Directors approved an expanded men's basketball tournament Thursday, passing a proposal that will take the field from 65 teams to 68 next season. The move comes one week after NCAA officials recommended the first expansion of March Madness since 2001, when the tourney added one team to the 64-team field established in 1985.

LeBron will play

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CLEVELAND -- LeBron James shot left-handed layups and short jumpers at practice Thursday, but the Cavaliers superstar is not expected to miss any of Cleveland's playoff games because of his strained right elbow and bone bruise. Cleveland opens its second round playoff series against Boston on Saturday.

-- Sacramento point guard Tyreke Evans beat out Golden State's Stephen Curry and Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings to win the NBA Rookie of the Year award on Thursday.

Evans became the fourth rookie ever to average at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game, joining Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan and LeBron James in an exclusive club.

Evans was the only rookie to appear on all 123 ballots from a media panel, getting 67 first-place votes and 491 total points.

Curry was second with 43 first-place votes and 391 points, with Jennings getting 12 first-place votes and 204 points. Players were awarded five points for a first-place vote, three for a second and one for a third.

Buck hits 3 homers

TORONTO -- Toronto Blue Jays catcher John Buck homered in each of his first three at-bats Thursday night against the Oakland Athletics.

It's the first three-run homer game and sixth multihomer game of Buck's career.

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It was the first three-homer game by a Blue Jays player since Adam Lind did it at Boston on Sept. 29, 2009.

Darrin Fletcher was the last Toronto catcher to hit three homers in a game, doing it Aug. 27, 2000 at Texas.

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