Around the Nation (Dec. 2): A's close in on deal for Indians pitcher Scott Kazmir

Associated Press Published:

ASSOCIATED PRESS

BASEBALL

AP: A's close to deal with Tribe's Kazmir

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A person with knowledge of the negotiations says free-agent left-hander Scott Kazmir is closing in on a $22 million, two-year contract with the Oakland Athletics.

The new contract would be pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the team hadn't finalized the deal or formally announced interest in Kazmir.

The 29-year-old Kazmir went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 29 starts and 158 innings last season for the Cleveland Indians. It marked his return to the big leagues for the first time since making one poor outing for the Angels in 2011, which followed a 9-15 performance in 2010 for Los Angeles.

AP: Mariners set to sign Bloomquist

SEATTLE -- A baseball official with knowledge of the deal says the Seattle Mariners are on the verge of bringing back utility man Willie Bloomquist.

Bloomquist spent the past three seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, appearing in 225 games and hitting .289 with 36 doubles and 63 RBI over that time. Last season with Arizona, he appeared in 48 games and had 139 at-bats.

Tigers, Kelly agree to one-year deal

DETROIT -- The Detroit Tigers and utility player Don Kelly have agreed to terms on a one-year contract that avoids arbitration.

Kelly played six positions for the Tigers last season at all three spots in the outfield along with third, second and first base while hitting .222 with six homers and 23 RBI.

Yankees ink Ryan to two-year contract

NEW YORK -- Infielder Brendan Ryan has agreed to a $5 million, two-year contract to remain with the New York Yankees in a deal that includes team and player options for 2016.

The 31-year-old was acquired from Seattle on Sept. 10, a day before the Yankees said captain Derek Jeter would be sidelined for the rest of the season. Ryan hit .220 with one homer in 17 games and finished the season with a .197 average, four homers and 22 RBI.

He has a .237 average in seven seasons with St. Louis (2007-10), Seattle (2011-13) and the Yankees (2013).

Pirates acquire Stewart from Yanks

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired catcher Chris Stewart from the New York Yankees for a player to be named.

Stewart hit .211 with four home runs and 25 RBI in a career-high 109 games for New York in 2013. He threw out 17 runners, the fifth-highest total in the American League.

To make room for the 31-year-old Stewart on the 40-man roster, the Pirates on Monday designated catcher Mike McKenry for assignment. McKenry hit .217 in 41 games last season for Pittsburgh before tearing cartilage in his left knee in July.

FOOTBALL

Hoke expects staff, QB Gardner back

DETROIT -- Michigan coach Brady Hoke says he expects quarterback Devin Gardner to return next season and anticipates retaining all of his assistant coaches.

Hoke spoke to reporters Monday at an event to promote the National Child Identification Program.

Gardner was granted a fifth year of eligibility because of a back injury he had as a freshmen after he played sparingly. Hoke says he plans to evaluate the entire football program, including his staff, as he does after each season.

Grobe resigns after 13 years at Wake Forest

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe is resigning after 13 seasons at the school.

Grobe made the announcement Monday during a news conference, saying "I just really feel right now, it's probably good for the program to have some new energy, some new direction."

The 61-year-old Grobe finishes with a career record of 110-115-1 in a combined 19 years at Wake Forest and Ohio.

Big Ten reprimands Pelini, fines Nebraska

The Big Ten Conference has issued a public reprimand of Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini and fined the school $10,000 for Pelini's comments about the officiating in the Cornhuskers' game against Iowa last week.

Pelini used an expletive at his postgame news conference while discussing a pass interference penalty against the Huskers. Pelini was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct during the game for swiping his hat at, and nearly hitting, the head linesman.

SOCCER

Former Akron coach earns MLS' top honor

NEW YORK -- Former Univeristy of Akron men's soccer coach Caleb Porter was named the MLS Coach of the Year on Monday.

In first season with a professional club after leaving the University of Akron, led the Timbers to a Western Conference-best 14-5-15 record. That's a 23-point improvement from 2012.

New England defender Kevin Alston was voted the league's Comeback Player of the Year after returning from treatment for leukemia.

AUTO RACING

MWR hires Burton as test driver for '14

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Waltrip Racing has hired Jeff Burton as a test driver, with the possibility of running a partial Sprint Cup schedule in 2014.

The team will field the No. 66 Toyota for Burton at Las Vegas in March. Additional races for Burton could be scheduled at a later date.

Co-owner Michael Waltrip is scheduled to drive the car in the season-opening Daytona 500.

RPM names Owens as Almirola's chief

Richard Petty Motorsports has hired Trent Owens to crew chief Aric Almirola in 2014.

Owens is a longtime Nationwide Series crew chief and the nephew of Richard Petty. His hiring Monday for the No. 43 Ford is his first full-time crew chief job in the Sprint Cup Series.

Owens replaces Todd Parrott, who was fired in October when he failed a random NASCAR drug test.

BASKETBALL

Lakers' Farmar out with hamstring tear

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Farmar will be out for roughly four weeks after tearing his left hamstring.

The Lakers announced their backup point guard's injury Monday. The team also announced Pau Gasol has a mildly sprained right ankle.

Farmar left Sunday night's game against Portland after playing just 56 seconds. He had an ultrasound examination Monday.

Farmar is off to a strong start in his return to the Lakers, where he won two NBA titles before playing in New Jersey and Turkey. The UCLA product is averaging 9.2 points and 4.4 assists per game for Los Angeles.

ICE HOCKEY

Weight, Guerin inducted to U.S. Hall of Fame

DETROIT -- Doug Weight and Bill Guerin were inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Weight was a two-time Stanley Cup champion, three-time Olympian and four-time NHL All-Star and was inducted Monday night at the Motor City Casino. Weight says it was icing on the cake to share the honor with Guerin, his former teammate.

Guerin was a Stanley Cup champion, three-time Olympian and four-time All-Star.

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