Around the Nation (Jan. 27): Indians, INF Elliot Johnson agree to minors deal

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Associated Press

BASEBALL

Indians ink utility INF Elliott Johnson

CLEVELAND -- Versatile free agent infielder Elliott Johnson has agreed to a minor league contract with the Indians that includes an invitation to big league spring training camp.

The 29-year-old split last season between Kansas City and Atlanta. He batted .261 with five doubles, two triples and 10 RBI as the Braves regular second baseman over the final five weeks. He was claimed off waivers on Aug. 21.

Johnson started all four games for Atlanta in its playoff series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A switch-hitter, Johnson has played every infield position and 18 games in the outfield since beginning his career in Tampa Bay's system in 2002. He debuted with the Rays in 2008 and appeared in a career-high 123 games for Tampa in 2012.

He was traded to Kansas City along with right-hander James Shields before last season.

Broadcaster, father of murder suspect, to return for Boston

BOSTON -- Veteran Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy says he'll return this season after his leave of absence following the arrest of his son on a murder charge in the death of his girlfriend in August.

For the first time since the arrest, Remy spoke publicly, talking to reporters Monday at New England Sports Network headquarters.

Remy said he was concerned with what the public would think of him and his family and if he could joke around and be himself. He said his friends and family persuaded him to return to work.

Jared Remy was arrested Aug. 13 after he allegedly pushed Jennifer Martel into a mirror. He was released the following day and is accused of fatally stabbing Martel at their apartment.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Chris Nelson, Reds agree to minors deal

CINCINNATI -- Infielder Chris Nelson and the Cincinnati Reds have agreed to a minor league contract.

The 28-year-old third baseman played for the Rockies, Yankees and Angels last season, batting a combined .227 with three homers and 24 RBI in 64 games.

Colorado took him with the ninth overall pick in the 2004 amateur draft and traded him to the Yankees last May 1. The Angels claimed him off waivers 17 days later. Nelson batted .220 in 33 games for the Angels with three homers and 18 RBIs.

Cincinnati said Monday he will report to big league spring training.

FOOTBALL

Ravens hire Kubiak to be 'O' coordinator

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak has been hired to be the Baltimore Ravens' new offensive coordinator.

The Ravens announced the hiring on Monday.

The 52-year-old Kubiak replaces Jim Caldwell, who left to become coach of the Detroit Lions.

Kubiak was offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos for three years before being named Houston's head coach in 2006. He was fired on Dec. 6 of this season after the Texans started 2-11.

He had a 61-64 regular season record and went 2-2 in the postseason with Houston.

Kubiak takes over an offense that was ranked 29th in the NFL. Baltimore went 8-8 after winning the Super Bowl last year.

Musgrave hired as Eagles QB coach

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles have hired Bill Musgrave to coach their quarterbacks and Michael Clay as defensive quality control coach.

Mike Dawson was promoted to assistant defensive line coach from defensive quality control. The moves were announced Monday.

Musgrave was offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings the last three seasons. He replaces Bill Lazor after he left to become Miami's offensive coordinator.

Musgrave previously was quarterbacks coach at Atlanta, and also worked for Washington, Jacksonville, University of Virginia, Carolina and Oakland. He served as an offensive assistant with the Eagles in 1998.

Falcons' Smith, Dimitroff, McKay sign extensions

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff have signed one-year contract extensions through the 2016 season.

Also, the Falcons announced Monday President Rich McKay signed a four-year extension through May 2019.

McKay, who chairs the NFL's competition committee, will continue to serve as chief executive officer of the Falcons while leading the development and operation of the team's new stadium, scheduled to open in 2017.

GOLF

Lefty sees back doctor, might play

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Mickelson flew to Georgia to see a doctor about his lower back pain, hoping to defend his Phoenix Open title.

Mickelson withdrew after making the cut at Torrey Pines because of his back injury.

He says joints had locked up and specialist Tom Boers restored his mobility. Mickelson says he still has some inflammation that will take a week or two to subside. He plans to fly to Arizona on Wednesday with hopes of playing the Phoenix Open.

Mickelson says he would sit out this week if it were any other tournament. But the Arizona State alum considers Scottsdale a second home and he wants to play. He will have a light practice session, and if everything feels good, he'll consider playing.

OLYMPICS

NBC signs Vonn for stateside role

NEW YORK -- Ski champion Lindsey Vonn will be working for NBC during the Winter Olympics, although she won't be traveling to Sochi.

The network said Monday the gold medalist will report on the Olympics for the "Today" show and some NBC Sports broadcasts.

Vonn was expected to defend her championship at the Olympics, which begin next week. But a leg injury has kept her out of the competition and is preventing her from going to Russia.

NBC said Vonn will give "Today" show viewers an update on her rehabilitation and talk about how athletes prepare mentally and physically for the competition during the days leading to the games. She'll continue her broadcast work once the games start.

ICE HOCKEY

San Jose Sharks minors affiliate folds

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Bulls, an affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, have folded operations effective immediately.

In announcing the decision Monday, the Bulls said they failed to finalize a change in ownership that they hoped would sustain the ECHL organization established in October 2012.

The Bulls finished their partial season 15-20-5 with 32 games remaining. They made the playoffs in their inaugural season.

CEO Angela Batinovich announced last week that the ECHL commissioner and Board of Governors granted the team's request during its mid-season meeting for additional time to complete negotiations for a new ownership group -- which ultimately didn't happen.

The team said it would provide refunds for tickets via email requests through Feb. 28.

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