DETROIT (AP) - Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch says the Lions are back. Tulloch raved about the franchise's future Thursday during an offseason workouts. He says pieces are in place to win a year after the Lions flopped to a 4-12 finish following a rare appearance in the playoffs. Tulloch is excited about the additions of running back Reggie Bush, safety Glover Quin and defensive end Jason Jones. Entering his eighth NFL season, he wants to be more of a leader on a team that lost one when defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch was released. Tulloch has been closely following pre-draft coverage and won't be surprised if Detroit drafts an offensive tackle or a defensive end as expected with the No. 5 pick overall next week.
SEATTLE (AP) - Detroit catcher Brayan Pena held onto Prince Fielder's relay throw and absorbed a collision with Justin Smoak at home plate for the final out, and the Tigers outlasted the Seattle Mariners 2-1 in 14 innings Wednesday night. Smoak singled with one out off Joaquin Benoit, and with two outs Dustin Ackley doubled into the right-field corner. Third base coach Jeff Datz didn't hesitate in waiving Smoak around with the potential tying run. The relay from the outfield was up the third base line a bit, but Pena caught it in plenty of time and held onto the ball during the collision. Detroit took the lead in the top of the 14th when Pena's bases-loaded groundout scored pinch-runner Don Kelly. The conclusion came long after starters Felix Hernandez and Max Scherzer pitched gems in a game that included a whopping 40 strikeouts.
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - Steve Begin scored two goals in the third period, and the Calgary Flames held on to hand the playoff-hopeful Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 loss on Wednesday night. Begin took advantage of a pair of blunders by goalie Jimmy Howard to score his third and fourth goals of the season. Lee Stempniak also scored for the Flames (17-22-4), who won all three games against the Red Wings this season. Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen scored for the Red Wings (20-16-7), who are 2-2-2 in their past six games. Detroit dropped to ninth in the Western Conference, two points behind Columbus and the postseason cutoff. Detroit has five games remaining, one more than Columbus. Miikka Kiprusoff made 36 saves to earn his first win since he topped St. Louis on March 24. Joey MacDonald had started Calgary's three previous games. Howard, who signed a six-year, $31.8 million contract on Tuesday, stopped 14 shots. The Red Wings play the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday at 10 p.m.
NEW YORK (AP) - Brook Lopez scored 20 points and reserve Andray Blatche added 15 as the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets held off the Detroit Pistons 103-99 on Wednesday night. Kris Humphries had 11 points and Joe Johnson added 10 for Brooklyn, winners of two straight. The Nets wrapped up their first regular season after leaving New Jersey and will open their first playoff series in six years at home against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. The Bulls clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference when Atlanta lost to the New York Knicks. Will Bynum had 23 points for the Pistons, who snapped a four-game winning streak. Andre Drummond scored 13 points and Greg Monroe added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Detroit will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, totaling 201 losses in that stretch. The Pistons ended their season at 29-53.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. is leaving the Wolverines early for the NBA draft. The 6-foot-6 junior announced his decision Wednesday. He is the second Michigan player to declare for early entry to the draft this year. National player of the year Trey Burke announced his departure Sunday. Burke and Hardaway helped lead the Wolverines to their first Final Four appearance since 1993. Michigan lost to Louisville in the national title game. There's been no announcement yet on the futures of Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III, two talented freshmen who could also leave Michigan for the NBA. Hardaway averaged 14.5 points per game this season and started all 107 games he played during his three-year Michigan career.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Pistons fired Lawrence Frank on Thursday after he spent two seasons unsuccessfully trying to revive the struggling franchise. The team announced one day after the Pistons lost at Brooklyn to finish the season 29-53. "We thank Lawrence for his hard work and dedication, but we feel it is in the best interest of the franchise to make a change at this time," team president Joe Dumars said. "Decisions like this are never easy and we wish Lawrence well in the future."
Frank went 54-94 in two seasons with Detroit. He took over before the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign, and the rebuilding Pistons have been slow to improve despite drafting in the lottery the last three years.
This is a big offseason for the Pistons, who traded veterans Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince in the last year and have a decent amount of space under the salary cap.
Owner Tom Gores, who took over just before Frank was hired, said earlier this week he expected better results this season and was still assessing the future of both Frank and Dumars.
Detroit remained in title contention in the years immediately following its 2004 NBA championship, but the decline has been sharp. After Flip Saunders was fired in 2008, Michael Curry lasted only one season as coach and John Kuester made it through two.
Frank lost 20 of his first 24 games with the Pistons after the lockout, but Detroit was more competitive toward the end of the 2011-12 season and had reason to hope the worst was over.
Instead, the Pistons lost their first eight games this season. They were playing better by early January, but they slipped again after they lost promising rookie Andre Drummond for an extended stretch because of a back injury.
Detroit went 1-13 in March. Frank missed six games that month because his wife fell seriously ill and he returned to New Jersey.
This was Frank's ninth season as a head coach in the NBA. He got his start with the New Jersey Nets in 2003-04 at age 33 and spent seven seasons coaching the Nets.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - Matthew Stafford is taking a hands-off approach to his contract talks. The Detroit quarterback says he loves being with the Lions. He has two years remaining on the deal he signed with the team when he was taken No. 1 overall in the 2009 draft. General manager Martin Mayhew said in January the Lions would make an effort to renegotiate or extend Stafford's contract. Stafford says he doesn't get too involved with negotiations. He says: "That's why you hire an agent." Stafford signed a six-year contract worth up to $78 million with $41.7 million in guarantees. He has since reportedly reworked the contract to help the Lions with free agency moves. Stafford threw for 4,967 yards last season, but Detroit stumbled to a 4-12 record.
DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Red Wings have agreed to terms with goalie Jimmy Howard on a $31.8 million, six-year contract. The deal keeps Howard off the market as a free agent this summer. General manager Ken Holland says Howard is entering the prime of his career and has developed into a top-tier NHL goalie. The 29-year-old Howard in his fourth season as the Red Wings' top goalie. He was drafted by the team in the second round in 2003. Howard is 17-12-6 with a 2.31 goals against average and a .920 save percentage this season. Detroit is currently tied for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Red Wings are trying to extend their postseason streak to 22 years. The Red Wings play the Flames in Calgary Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m.
SEATTLE (AP) - Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer and drove in Detroit's first four runs, and the Tigers beat the Seattle Mariners 6-2 on Tuesday night. Cabrera's homer came with two outs in the fifth inning off Seattle starter Aaron Harang and was his second of the season. Cabrera drove a pitch off the edge of the plate out to right-center field to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Cabrera also had RBIs in the first and seventh innings. Austin Jackson scored twice, giving him 19 runs scored in just 13 games. Jackson and Torii Hunter both walked with the bases loaded in the eighth to drive in runs. Doug Fister (3-0) pitched seven strong innings for his first victory against his former team.
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - The Detroit Lions have re-signed running back Joique Bell, running back Shaun Chapas, wide receiver Kris Durham, offensive tackle Jason Fox, defensive back Ricardo Silva, wide receiver Brian Robiskie and defensive end Willie Young. The team announced the moves Monday but did not disclose contract terms. Bell was Detroit's second-leading rusher last season behind Mikel Leshoure. Bell ran for 414 yards on 82 carries with three touchdowns. He also caught 52 passes for 485 yards.