ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister says his country will allow people in the Pakistan-administered section of divided Kashmir to decide whether they wanted to join Pakistan or prefer to remain independent in a future referendum on the disputed Himalayan region. Imran Khan spoke at a rally on Friday in the town of Kotli in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir as the country marked the annual Day of Solidarity with Kashmir. Khan expressed readiness to talk to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, if he reverses steps taken by New Delhi in 2019 by changing the special status of Kashmir, which is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety.
Jeff Waterman was the IMCA Modified feature winner on opening night at Lee County Speedway. (Photo by D&M Racing Photography) Friday’s 20-lap Budweiser IMCA Modified main saw Dennis LaVeine and Dakota Simmons draw the front row. LaVeine took advantage of his spot to jump out into the lead over Andrew Schroeder and Simmons. While LaVeine worked the bottom of the track, Waterman used the top to try and wrestle the lead away. Coming off turn four on lap nine, Waterman used his momentum off the top to edge LaVeine at the line to take over the top spot. By Brian Neal DONNELLSON, Iowa (April 12) – Jeff Waterman began his pursuit of another Lee County Speedway track title with the opening night IMCA Modified feature victory. Other winners were Jeremy Pundt in the Donnellson Tire & Service IMCA Stock Cars, Brayton Carter in the Roberts Tire Center IMCA Northern SportMods and Jake Houston in the Discount Tire & Service IMCA Sport Compacts. Schroeder looked under LaVeine over the next five laps, before the first caution of the race appeared. On the restart, LaVeine jumped back out front with Waterman, who started ninth, coming from fifth to second. Waterman maintained his advantage following a lap 10 restart as Schroeder and LaVeine battled for second. The final half of the race would go caution free, which allowed Waterman to pull away. LaVeine was second and John Oliver Jr. took third.
More than any theories about defensive shifts or questions about his back troubles, Gonzalez said that has been the root of his problem over the past few weeks — he’s thinking too much.“That’s the thing — I don’t have one approach. I’ve had 800 approaches,” he said. “Four hundred have been to pull and 400 have been to go the other way.“Every at-bat has been a grind. I’m thinking about where my feet are, what my hands are doing. Then, before you know it, the ball’s by me. … I’ve just been fighting myself, more than anything. It’s been a case of me trying to do too much.”Since receiving an epidural injection for back pain about three weeks ago, Gonzalez said he has physically felt “great” — which has made his mental struggles only worse.“I think that might be the way I’m pressing,” he said. “Because I’m feeling so good, I feel like I should be doing good. When I was just worrying about how to get comfortable without my back hurting, I would just see the ball and swing.” PITTSBURGH — For a player who has appeared in at least 156 games each of the past 10 seasons, it was an unusual decision.But Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said he benched himself.On the flight Thursday to Pittsburgh, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told Gonzalez he planned to give him a day off during the four-game series at PNC Park. But after an 0-for-4 night Saturday dropped his batting average for June to .183, Gonzalez said he told Roberts maybe two days off would be better.“I thought it would be good for me to not think about hitting for two days,” Gonzalez said. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Gonzalez’s slump has hardly left him in a dark mood. He arrived at the ballpark for the Dodgers’ travel day Monday wearing a custom-made traditional Mexican charro suit featuring silver baseballs and topped with a sombrero. For the second consecutive day, he entered the game as a pinch-hitter and played the last few innings, even getting a single in Monday’s game.“I know I’ve still got half-a-season to go,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not anything I’m too worried about.”Back pain for KershawDodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has been receiving treatment for lower back stiffness, but Roberts said he doesn’t consider it a major issue.“He’s been dealing with that for a few weeks. I don’t think it affected him last night,” Roberts said. “But today he came in a little sore. Still got through his post-start workout. It’s day to day, but I think he’ll be ready for his next start.”The Dodgers gave all of their starters an extra day’s rest before this time through the rotation. But Kershaw gave up four runs in the second inning Sunday night — more runs than he had allowed in 25 of his previous 26 starts — and failed to complete seven innings for only the second time this season.His next scheduled start is Friday at Dodger Stadium against the Colorado Rockies.Back in form for PuigWhen Yasiel Puig went on the disabled list for nearly three weeks earlier this month, the Dodgers were hopeful the time off would be good for more than his hamstring.Puig has returned with a “cleaner swing,” Roberts said, and the results have shown. Puig is 8 for 23 (.348) with three multi-hit games in his first six since returning from the DL.“I think he’s really making a concerted effort — which sounds crazy — on just seeing the baseball,” Roberts said. “Before he went on the disabled list, he was kind of chasing hits. He’s kind of reset. He’s slowing things down and, like we’ve talked about all year, taking balls and swinging at strikes. I think he’s doing a better job of that.”Fifth starter?Roberts said the Dodgers are still not ready to name Wednesday’s starter.“We still haven’t gained any ground on that,” he said. “We’re still thinking through some things.”Right-hander Brock Stewart has emerged as the most likely candidate. A sixth-round pick out of Illinois State two years ago, Stewart has progressed through three levels of the Dodgers’ farm system this year, going a combined 8-3 with a 1.47 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 99 strikeouts in 86 innings.
Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco “Obviously, the timing couldn’t have been worse, working all that time to try and stay ready and I really felt so good going into the season,” he said. “It was pretty defeating, honestly, just, ‘How is this happening right now?’ But I kind of started moving forward yesterday and today made a lot of progress.“It’s getting better pretty quick and I’m optimistic that it shouldn’t be much longer than my original stint on the IL.”Kershaw will be eligible to return during the Dodgers’ series in Arizona next weekend. Until then, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said right-hander Dustin May is “likely” to replace the veteran in the starting rotation. May became the first Dodgers rookie pitcher to start the season opener since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 when he went 4 1/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.“Dustin threw the baseball really well last night,” Roberts said. “So going forward, we’re talking about Houston (for his next start). We just don’t know right now. … We haven’t still penciled in Dustin for that start in Houston, but it’s certainly a good chance.”For Kershaw, the season-opening trip to the injured list recalled his back problems from 2016 through 2018 when he went on the IL each year, first with a herniated disc and later with related problems in his lower back. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start “I don’t really remember each specific time other than when I really hurt it in 2016. That’s the only (time) that I truly remember being in some serious, serious pain,” Kershaw said. “I feel like every other one has been — obviously there’s been some things connected as far as why it’s happening. But back pain is one of those things that you kind of deal with and you do the best you can and sometimes things crop up.“I feel like I’ve been fortunate for the last couple years and (until) for whatever reason on Tuesday.”PAYING BETTSThe 12-year, $365 million contract extension signed by Mookie Betts this week could have him in the Dodgers’ lineup at age 39 — and cashing checks from the team when he is 52 years old.According to details of the contract reported by The Associated Press, $115 million of Betts’ contract is deferred. A record $65 million signing bonus will be paid out in installments over 15 years beginning in 2021.Betts will receive annual salaries of $17.5 million in 2021 and 2022, rising to $20 million in 2023, $25 million in 2024-2027, $30 million from 2028-30 then dropping to $27.5 million in 2031 and 2032, the final year of the contract.The deferred money will be payable each July 1 — known as Bobby Bonilla Day to followers of baseball finances — from 2033 through 2044, rising from $8 million annually in the first five years to $10 million the next two and $11 million annually 2040-2044.Betts’ contract does not include a no-trade clause. If he is traded by the Dodgers, however, the deferrals are eliminated and the $115 million would be paid over the remainder of the contract.Related Articles SEAT UPGRADESPlayers this season are expected to socially distance as much as possible. For players not in the starting lineup or likely to get in the game — the rest of the starting rotation or injured players, for example — that means staying out of the dugout.There are covered seating areas down the line from each dugout at Dodger Stadium, set up as a place for those players and some staff to watch the game, socially distanced from their teammates. According to Alex Wood, though, he and the rest of the Dodgers’ starting pitchers were a little restless during Thursday’s opener.“It was hard to figure out where to go, what to do during the game for me, Clayton, Julio (Urias) and Ross (Stripling),” Wood said. “We bounced around because I don’t think we’re supposed to be in the dugout. That was a new adventure, for sure.“We started in left field, kind of above the bullpen. Then we made our way into the weight room. We were in the clubhouse for a little then we made our way back out to the ‘Home Run Seats.’ We kind of bounced around. It was kind of hard to sit in one spot the whole time. It’s hard to beat those ‘Home Run Seats.’ That’s probably where I’ll find myself a lot of the time.”The “Home Run Seats” are new this year, part of the $100 million renovation to the stadium’s outfield pavilions. They are located immediately behind the walls in right and left field. LOS ANGELES — Whatever Clayton Kershaw did to his back in the weight room Tuesday, forcing him out of his scheduled Opening Night start, he is optimistic it is not “super serious” and he has a “clean” MRI to back him up on that.“When you get a clean MRI, you’re thankful for that obviously, that there’s nothing structurally wrong,” Kershaw said Friday. “So really after that, to me, you just try to get going. You try to get going, make things loosen up, try to start rehabbing, try moving around. So that’s what I’ve been doing“There’s no timeline (for his return), but I feel pretty optimistic. With everything that it could have been, I feel somewhat thankful that it’s not super serious.”Kershaw threw in the outfield briefly during Friday’s pregame workout, stretching out to 90 feet and reporting that he “felt good” doing it. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season