Around the Nation (Feb. 1): Pacers sign Andrew Bynum for rest of season

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

BASKETBALL

Pacers sign Bynum for rest of season

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Pacers are adding size and scoring to the Eastern Conference's best team Saturday, signing free agent center Andrew Bynum for the rest of the season.

Team officials did not release additional details of the contract. He is expected to join the team next week.

Because Indiana had an open spot on its roster, it will not have to make a roster move to add the mercurial 7-foot-1, 285-pound backup to All-Star center Roy Hibbert.

Bynum has played only 24 games since the 2011-12 season ended. He played with Cleveland before "conduct detrimental to the team" forced a trade to Chicago, which then released him. He was averaging 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds this year with Cleveland and has career averages of 11.5 points and 7.7 rebounds.

FOOTBALL

Punter Ray Guy, six others named HOF inductees for 2014

NEW YORK -- Ray Guy has become the first punter elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Joining the long-time Oakland Raider were two first-time eligible players, linebacker Derrick Brooks and offensive tackle Walter Jones.

The class of 2014 also included defensive end Michael Strahan, receiver Andre Reed, defensive back Aeneas Williams and defensive end Claude Humphrey, who like Guy was a senior selection.

The announcement was made Saturday night at NFL Honors, less than 24 hours before the Denver Broncos meet the Seattle Seahawks in the first Super Bowl in a non-domed stadium in a cold-weather city.

Among the finalists who didn't get in were two with ties to the Indianapolis Colts and current Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning -- coach Tony Dungy and receiver Marvin Harrison.

Peyton Manning named top offensive player

NEW YORK -- Peyton Manning has won his second Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year award.

The Denver quarterback shattered the league record by throwing for 55 touchdowns. He also set a mark with 5,477 yards passing in leading the Broncos to a 13-3 record, best in the AFC. They play Seattle on Sunday in the Super Bowl.

Broncos executive John Elway accepted the award on Manning's behalf.

Manning received 33 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league in balloting announced Saturday night. He also won the award in 2004 and was runner-up last year to Adrian Peterson.

This time, running back LeSean McCoy of Philadelphia was second with 10 votes, followed by Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles with four.

Packers RB Lacy AP's top offensive rookie

NEW YORK -- Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy has won The Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

A second-round pick (61st overall) from Alabama, Lacy was a key performer in the Packers' offense, particularly when star quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sidelined for seven games. He rushed for 1,178 yards on 284 carries (4.1 average), with 11 touchdowns. He also had 35 receptions.

That was good enough for 35 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league in balloting announced Saturday night.

The first Packer to win the award since John Brockington in 1971, Lacy beat out San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen, who received 12 votes.

He is the first running back to take the offensive rookie honors since Adrian Peterson in 2007.

San Diego QB Philip Rivers wins AP Comeback Player

NEW YORK -- Philip Rivers' turnaround season has earned him The Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year award.

Rivers led the San Diego Chargers to a Wild Card playoff spot with four straight victories to close out the schedule, giving them a 9-7 record. He led the league with a 69.5 completion percentage and threw for 32 TDs against 11 interceptions.

He received 13 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. The balloting announced Saturday night was so widespread that 12 players got votes.

Finishing behind Rivers were Denver running back Knowshon Moreno and Philadelphia left tackle Jason Peters with eight selections apiece. Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis got six votes.

Rivers is the second Chargers quarterback to win the award; the man he replaced, Drew Brees, won in 2004.

BASEBALL

Nationals, pitcher Doug Fister avoid arbitration

WASHINGTON -- Right-handed starter Doug Fister and the Washington Nationals have agreed to terms on a contract, avoiding arbitration.

The Nationals announced the deal via their Twitter account Saturday.

Fister was acquired from the Detroit Tigers in a trade this offseason after he went 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA over 2082⁄3 innings in 2013.

He made $4,075,000 last season and when submitting his arbitration figure asked that his salary more than double to $8.5 million. The Nationals had offered $5.75 million.

Only one other Nationals player still could go to arbitration, right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard. He asked for a raise to $6.35 million from $4 million; the team offered $4.45 million. Clippard was 6-3 with a 2.41 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 71 innings in 2013.

Royals sign pitcher Bruce Chen to one-year deal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Royals have announced the signing of veteran pitcher Bruce Chen to a $4.25 million, one-year deal on Saturday that includes a mutual option for the 2015 season.

The sides reached an agreement Thursday but had to wait to announce it until Chen passed a physical. He'll make $3.25 million this season and $5.5 million with a $1 million buyout next season. He can also earn a performance bonus of $125,000 for each start from 16 through 25.

Royals manager Ned Yost said Friday he projects Chen as part of the rotation, which is where he finished last season after spending time in the bullpen. But Chen may also be serving as a placeholder until youngsters such as Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer are ready for the majors.

GOLF

Bubba Watson leads Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A desert critter saved leader Bubba Watson at least a stroke Saturday in the Phoenix Open. Some pigskin play cost Phil Mickelson to the chagrin of the rowdiest fans in the largest crowd in golf history.

The estimated 189,722 fans had a lot to see on a sunny, cool day at TPC Scottsdale.

Watson's drive on the par-5 13th went into a desert bush and settled next to a burrowing animal hole that would have interfered with his swing. He got a free drop, ended up saving par on the way to a 3-under 68 and a two-stroke lead at 15-under.

Former KSU star Ben Curtis is at even-par after firing 68-72-73 in his three rounds.

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