Indians sign LHP Scott Kazmir to minor deal
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have signed free agent left-hander Scott Kazmir to a minor league contract.
Kazmir, a three-time All-Star who led the AL in strikeouts in 2007, will have a shot at making the Indians' starting rotation at spring training in Goodyear, Ariz. The 28-year-old spent last season in the independent Atlantic League. He has a 66-61 career record with a 4.17 ERA in 179 starts for Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Angels. He went 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA in 2007 for the Rays.
The Indians also signed right-hander Jerry Gil and Lefty Edward Paredes to minor league deals with non-roster invitations to camp.
The 30-year old Gil is a former position player who switched the mound in in 2008. He spent last season at Triple-A Las Vegas, going 7-1 with nine saves in 58 relief outings.
Paredes pitched in Seattle's system from 2005-11.
L.A. Dodgers improve aging stadium
LOS ANGELES -- Having spent more than $200 million to bulk up their starting pitching this winter, the Los Angeles Dodgers are turning their attention to improving the aging stadium they've played in since 1962.
President and CEO Stan Kasten says the goal is to improve the experience for fans while preserving the history of the third-oldest ballpark in the major leagues.
Kasten unveiled the changes planned for the upcoming season on Tuesday as heavy equipment rumbled around the field.
Among the upgrades are two high-definition video boards in left and right field with the original hexagon shape of both being restored; a new sound system that will be heard on the concourses and in the restrooms; and an improved Wi-Fi and cell antenna system so fans can use their mobile devices inside the ballpark.
Hall of Fame to name inductees today
NEW YORK -- There's a chance the podium under the chandeliers in the gold-and-ivory-colored Vanderbilt Room of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel will go unused Thursday.
With the cloud of steroids shrouding the candidacies of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and others, baseball writers may fail for the only the second time in more than four decades to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame, rendering a news conference unnecessary.
About 600 people are eligible to vote in the BBWAA election, all members of the organization for 10 consecutive years at any point. Results will be announced at 2 p.m. EST today, with the focus on first-time eligibles that include Bonds, Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mike Piazza.
Since 1965, the only years the writers failed to elect a candidate were in 1971 and 1996.
LaRoche, Nationals agree on new deal
WASHINGTON -- Adam LaRoche has agreed to a two-year deal to return to the Washington Nationals.
The deal announced Tuesday also gives the free agent first baseman and the club a mutual option for a third year.
LaRoche had been hoping for a three-year deal after a season in which he hit 33 home runs with 100 RBI for a team that had the best regular season record in the majors.
The deal means the Nationals will be expected to try to trade Michael Morse, who played outfield last year but would have moved to first base if LaRoche had not re-signed.
Shortly after the news broke that LaRoche was returning, Morse tweeted: "Hey everyone, going silent for a while."
Cavs' Varejao still out with bruised knee
CLEVELAND -- Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao still has not been cleared to practice or play because of a bruised right knee.
Varejao will miss his 11th straight game on Wednesday when the Cavs host Atlanta. Varejao had been expected to practice Tuesday, but a disappointed coach Byron Scott said Varejao is not ready. The NBA's leading rebounder has been out since hurting his knee Dec. 18 against Toronto. The 6-foot-11 Varejao was having an All-Star-caliber season.
Scott does not know when Varejao will return and he has not been told if he's had any setbacks. The Cavs originally thought Varejao would only miss a couple games, but the injury has lingered. Varejao missed 41 games last season after breaking his wrist.
Cleveland is just 8-28 and has missed Varejao's presence inside.
Nets player questioned in Pa. sex assault probe
PHILADELPHIA -- Brooklyn Nets forward Andray Blatche was questioned by Philadelphia police, but not charged, as part of a sexual assault investigation at an upscale hotel on Tuesday.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says Blatche was among the witnesses interviewed by police on Tuesday. Ramsey told reporters preliminary findings of the investigation show Blatche was not involved.
Officer Jillian Russell says the possible assault reportedly happened around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday in a room at the Four Seasons Hotel.
The Nets were in Philadelphia to play the 76ers. Blatche was expected to play.
Akron's Porter formally takes the reins of MLS' Portland Timbers
PORTLAND, Ore. -- For months, Caleb Porter has been torn by his loyalty to the Akron Zips while waiting to take over as coach of the Portland Timbers.
Porter was hired as the Major League Soccer team's coach in late August, but he wrapped up his seventh season with Akron before fully making the move. He guided the Zips to an 18-1-3 record, the Mid-America Conference championship and into the third round of the NCAA tournament. It was the sixth straight season Akron had made it to the tournament; the Zips won the national championship in 2010.
Porter finished with a 123-18-17 overall record at Akron and the highest winning percentage (.832) among current Division I coaches.
The Timbers fired coach John Spencer last July and replaced him in the interim with general manager Gavin Wilkinson.
Big East, Mountain West on San Diego State's radar
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- San Diego State is planning to attend the Big East's meetings on Friday, but the school has been talking to the Mountain West about possibly staying in that conference rather than switching leagues.
Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco says he doesn't anticipate San Diego State will have a decision at the upcoming meeting in Dallas, but does expect the Aztecs to make up their minds in "a couple of weeks."
San Diego State has committed to join the Big East as a football-only member in 2013. The Aztecs joined along with Boise State, but the Broncos backed out last month and struck a deal to stay in the Mountain West. Now SDSU is looking into doing the same, but the MW has to decide if it wants the Aztecs back.
Texas A&M OL Joeckel declares for NFL Draft
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is choosing the NFL over a final season of blocking for Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
The Outland Trophy winner said Tuesday he thought it was in his "best interest" to enter April's NFL Draft. Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said Joeckel was projected as a high first-round pick.
The 6-foot-6, 310-pound junior started all 39 games at left tackle after graduating early from a Dallas-area high school so he could join the Aggies for spring drills in 2010.
Joeckel protected the blind side for Ryan Tannehill, a first-round pick by the Miami Dolphins last year, before Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman in a record-setting 2012 season.