Headlines from around the world in sports
In this Aug. 1, 2013, photo, Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz prepares for his at-bat during the second inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Arlington, Texas. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that Cruz, a free agent, and the Baltimore Orioles have reached agreement on a one-year contract. The person spoke Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, on condition of anonymity because the contract was not complete. Cruz will earn about $8.5 million, and can make more in performance bonuses. Other media outlets had reported a deal was in place. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Cruz, Orioles finalize $8 million, one-year contract
SARASOTA, Fla. – Outfielder Nelson Cruz and the Baltimore Orioles finalized an $8 million, one-year contract, a deal that puts him on track to become the team’s regular designated hitter.
The 33-year-old, who served a 50-game suspension last year for violating baseball’s drug agreement, can earn an additional $750,000 in bonuses based on days on the active 25-man roster: $150,000 each for 60, 90, 120, 150 and180.
He turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers in November. Because of the qualifying offer, Baltimore forfeits its second-round selection in June’s amateur draft, the 55th pick overall.
Baltimore’s deal with Cruz yesterday follows a $50 million, four-year contract with pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez last Wednesday, a contract that cost the Orioles their first-round draft pick, No. 17 overall.
Rangers add year to Manager Washington’s deal
SURPRISE, Ariz. – Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington finally has a contract past this season.
General Manager Jon Daniels said yesterday that the Rangers added a year to Washington’s contract through 2015. Washington is the team’s winningest manager with 611 wins over seven seasons, and led Texas to its only two World Series appearances.
The Rangers had last extended Washington’s contract in January 2012, when two years were added through 2014.
Asked what took long to get this new deal done, Daniels said mostly because there was never any question about whether Washington would get an extension.
Only three managers have been with their current teams longer than Washington. They are Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota’s Ron Gardenhire and Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon.
Scioscia: Possible deal talks won’t distract Trout
TEMPE, Ariz. – Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said yesterday that he isn’t worried about possible contract talks becoming a distraction for star center fielder Mike Trout.
Published reports said the team and Trout are discussing a long-term deal.
Scioscia said he hasn’t seen a contract becoming a problem in his time with the Angels.
Scioscia said his training camps are “high energy” and designed to keep players focused. He added that distractions can come in many forms and pointed out that Trout has handled distractions easily through two seasons with the Angels.
Pirates claim INF Morel off waivers from Blue Jays
BRADENTON, Fla. – The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed third baseman Brent Morel off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Pirates made the move yesterday. They designated for assignment infielder Chase d’Arnaud to make room on the 40-man roster for Morel.
Morel was designated for assignment Friday. The Blue Jays had claimed Morel from the Chicago White Sox in December.
Twenty-seven in April, Morel has a .229 average with 13 homers and 54 RBIs in parts of four seasons with the Chicago White Sox. He played 12 big league games last year.
Wizards’ Nene expected to miss 6 weeks with injury
WASHINGTON – Wizards forward Nene will be sidelined for approximately six weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee, costing the team its most reliable barometer for success while it makes a push for its first playoff berth since 2008.
Nene underwent an MRI yesterday after he was injured in the third quarter of Sunday night’s 96-83 win at Cleveland.
A six-week absence would sideline the Brazilian veteran until the final few games of the regular season. The Wizards have won three straight to get to 28-28, making them fifth in the weak Eastern Conference.
The oft-injured Nene was acquired in a trade in March 2012, and the Wizards are a different team when he’s healthy. They are 60-61 with him and 8-34 without him, including 1-6 this season when he was dealing with a nagging right Achilles tendon.
Nene is averaging 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 30.1 minutes. He had one of his best games of the season Saturday, when he matched his career high with 30 points, including the game-winning dunk with less than a second remaining in a victory over New Orleans.
Knicks waive World Peace, Udrih
NEW YORK – The New York Knicks waived Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih after buying out their contracts.
The moves were announced yesterday before the Knicks hosted the Dallas Mavericks. By getting waived this week, both veterans will be able to sign with another team and be eligible for the playoffs.
Neither player was able to secure a spot in Mike Woodson’s rotation during his only season in New York. World Peace played in just 29 games, starting one, and Udrih had 12 starts among his 31 appearances.
Stamkos not ready to return to Lightning lineup
TAMPA, Fla. – Injured Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos is recovering, but not ready yet to return to the lineup.
Stamkos is sitting out a four-game post-Olympic trip that starts Thursday at Nashville.
Stamkos underwent X-rays yesterday that revealed that his broken right shin, which has sidelined him since November, is improving but not enough for him to be cleared to play in games.
The center will travel with the team to continue practicing, and is expected to be examined again when the Lightning return for a homestand that begins March 6 against Buffalo.
Stamkos was injured on Nov. 11 at Boston and underwent surgery. He has 14 goals and 23 points in 17 games this season. The injury kept Stamkos from playing for Canada in the Sochi Olympics.
Blue Jackets put Tyutin on injured list
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Blue Jackets placed Fedor Tyutin on injured reserve after the defenseman was hurt playing for Russia in the Olympics.
Tyutin injured an ankle and is expected to miss two or three weeks. He has four goals, 20 assists and 30 penalty minutes in 53 games with the Blue Jackets this season.
Columbus also recalled defenseman Dalton Prout from their American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass., yesterday.
Prout has two assists, 33 penalty minutes and 43 blocked shots in 27 games with Columbus this season.
Former Avalanche star Hejduk announces retirement
CENTENNIAL, Colo. – Former Colorado Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk is retiring from the NHL.
Hejduk, 38, played 14 seasons in the NHL, all with the Avalanche. The three-time Olympian and native of the Czech Republic scored 375 goals in 1,020 games and won a Stanley Cup in 2001.
Only two Czech-born players have registered more points in NHL history: Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias.
In a statement, Avalanche Executive Vice President Joe Sakic said Hejduk’s “release along with his hockey sense and vision made him one of the premier goal scorers in the NHL during his prime.”
Hejduk didn’t play this season after a trying 2012-13 in which he missed time with shoulder and torso injuries and scored a career-low 11 points in just 29 games.
Raiders sign Jones to 3-year extension
ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Oakland Raiders signed special teams standout Taiwan Jones to a three-year contract extension.
General Manager Reggie McKenzie announced the deal yesterday to extend Jones’ contract through 2017.
Jones was originally selected by Oakland as a running back in the fourth round of the 2011 draft out of Eastern Washington.
Late owner Al Davis was intrigued by Jones’s sprinter speed but Jones struggled with injuries and ball security his first two seasons. Jones had 22 carries for 94 yards and four catches for 36 yards and averaged 18.7 yards per kickoff return.
The Raiders moved Jones to cornerback last season but he did not play on defense. Jones made his impact on special teams, where he was credited with 13 solo tackles and two assists.