Indians, RHP Aardsma agree to contract
CLEVELAND — The Indians have agreed to terms with free-agent reliever David Aardsma on a minor league contract with an invitation to training camp.
Aardsma spent most of last season in the New York Mets’ bullpen. He went 2-2 with a 4.31 ERA in 43 games. The 32-year-old stranded all 19 runners he inherited and allowed just one run over his final nine outings. Aardsma was in training camp with the Yankees last season and with Miami before signing with the Mets in May.
Aardsma has also been with San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs, White Sox and Boston Red Sox.
He has 69 career saves and a 2.90 ERA since breaking in with the Giants in 2004. Aardsma was Seattle’s closer in 2009 and 2010 before missing most of the next two seasons after surgeries on his right hip and elbow.
Wawrinka into Aussie final; Nadal or Federer next
MELBOURNE, Australia — The usually diplomatic Roger Federer didn’t bother concealing his preference for semifinal winners at the Australian Open.
He wanted an all-Swiss final, the first ever in a Grand Slam. Eighth-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka held up his end of the bargain with a 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4) win over Tomas Berdych to reach his first major final.
Now the pressure is on the 17-time major winner to complete the match up. The major obstacle in his path: a semifinal against Rafael Nadal.
The women’s final will feature 2011 French Open champion Li Na in her third Australian Open decider in four years against Dominika Cibulkova, who had never previously gone beyond the semifinals of a major.
No. 4-seeded Li Na won the first five games in her 6-2, 6-4 semifinal win over 19-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, and No. 20-seeded Cibulkova later trounced 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 6-2.
Browns’ Farmer withdraws as candidate for Dolphins GM job
MIAMI — The Cleveland Browns say assistant general manager Ray Farmer is staying with the team after withdrawing from consideration for the job of general manager with the Miami Dolphins.
Farmer was interviewed by the Dolphins nearly two weeks ago and turned down their invitation for a second interview. The team is expected to interview finalists soon, with Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson and Dolphins assistant general manager Brian Gaine considered front-runners.
The Dolphins are searching to replace Jeff Ireland, whose six-year stint as GM ended Jan. 7 when he and owner Stephen Ross agreed to part ways. Miami faded late in the season to finish 8-8 and hasn’t been above .500 since 2008, the longest such stretch in franchise history.
Man gets 57 years in prison in Sean Taylor’s death
MIAMI — A Florida man who prosecutors say fired the fatal shot in the 2007 killing of Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor has been sentenced to more than 57 years in prison.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy imposed the sentence Thursday on 23-year-old Eric Rivera Jr., who was convicted in November of second-degree murder and armed burglary. Rivera had faced a maximum life sentence.
Rivera told police in a videotaped confession that he and other young men from the Fort Myers area broke into Taylor’s Miami-area house hoping to steal cash the NFL player kept there. Taylor surprised them because he was home instead of with the Redskins and was shot after confronting them with a machete.
Rivera testified someone else fired the gun. Three others are awaiting trial in the case.
Tiger opens with a 72 on tough South Course
SAN DIEGO — The best score belonged to Stewart Cink. The best round belonged to Pat Perez. Tiger Woods didn’t come close to claiming either Thursday in the Farmers Insurance Open, where the seven-time champion failed to break par in the opening round for first time in his career.
Cink ran off three straight birdies late in his round on the easier North Course at Torrey Pines for an 8-under 64. That gave him a one-shot lead over Gary Woodland, who also was on the North, which is more than 600 yards shorter.
Perez was on the South Course, host of the 2008 U.S. Open and with greens so firm this year that it felt like a major. Perez had a 67, the best score on the South by two shots, and even more astounding is that he played bogey-free.
The South played nearly four shots harder than the North.
Woods, making his 2014 debut, failed to birdie any of the par 5s and had to settle for a 72.
Former Kent State star Ben Curtis shot a 6-over 78 on the South Course.
NASCAR reinstates suspended MWR executive Norris
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR reinstated Michael Waltrip Racing executive Ty Norris on Thursday, though he remains on indefinite probation.
Norris was suspended indefinitely in September after the race team was caught trying to manipulate the finish of a Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Norris was heard on radio ordering driver Brian Vickers to pit to help teammate Martin Truex Jr.’s finishing position.
The fallout from the scandal: Truex lost his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, MWR was fined $300,000 and sponsor NAPA left the organization. The team also was forced to lay off 15 percent of its workforce, and Norris was demoted from general manager to executive director for business development.