Update on the latest sports
Springer, Blue Jays finalize $150M, 6-year contract
UNDATED (AP) — All-Star outfielder George Springer has finalized his $150 million, six-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, becoming the most prominent free agent to reach an agreement this offseason.
Springer gets a $10 million signing bonus payable within 30 days and salaries of $22 million this year, $28 million in 2022 and $22.5 million in each of the final four seasons. He gets a limited no-trade provision, allowing him to designate eight teams annually he cannot be dealt to without his consent.
Springer, who turned 31 in September, received the largest deal in team history, topping outfielder Vernon Wells’ $126 million, seven-year contract in 2006. A three-time All-Star, Springer had spent his entire seven-season career with Houston and was the World Series MVP when the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games for their first title in 2017.
Springer hit .265 with 14 homers and 32 RBIs during the shortened 2020 season.
In other MLB news:
— The Cubs have finalized a $1.5 million, one-year contract with catcher Austin Romine (ROH’-myn). He can earn an additional $700,000 in performance bonuses for starts at catcher and $500,000 in roster bonuses. Chicago had been looking for a backup catcher since the Cubs traded Victor Caratini to San Diego last month. Miguel Amaya is among the organization’s top prospects, but he finished his last minor league season at the Class-A level. The 32-year-old Romine hit .238 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 37 games with Detroit last year.
— The Houston Astros have traded left-hander Cionel Pérez to the Cincinnati Reds for minor league catcher Luke Berryhill. The 24-year-old Pérez pitched seven games in relief last season, going 0-0 with a 2.84 ERA. The 22-year-old Berryhill hit .240 in eight games in 2019 for Greeneville at the rookie level.
— Now that he’s set to play for the Washington Nationals this season, Ryan Zimmerman might stick around a little longer, too. Zimmerman and the Nationals made it official Saturday, announcing his $1 million, one-year contract. The deal came after the Nats’ longest-tenured player opted out of the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.
Shorthanded Wizards sign 2 centers, set to resume Sunday
WASHINGTON (AP) — The shorthanded Washington Wizards signed free agent centers Alex Len and Jordan Bell on Saturday, trying to fill out a roster decimated by COVID-19 and injuries.
The Wizards have scrapped six games since a win over Phoenix on Jan. 11 made them 3-8. They’re scheduled to play Sunday at San Antonio.
Six Washington players have tested positive for the coronavirus and three other players were sidelined after contact tracing determined they might have been exposed to the illness.
Starting center Thomas Bryant is out for the season with an injured left knee and point guard Russell Westbrook is still dealing with a left quadriceps injury.
The 7-foot Len averaged 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 474 games over eight seasons with Phoenix, Atlanta, Sacramento and Toronto. He played seven games for the Raptors this season. The 27-year-old from Ukraine played at Maryland before he was the fifth overall pick by Phoenix in the 2013 draft.
The 6-8 Bell averaged 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds in 154 games over three seasons with Golden State, Minnesota and Memphis. The 26-year-old hadn’t played in the NBA this season.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
Oklahoma beats No. 9 Kansas
UNDATED (AP) — De’Vion Harmon scored 22 points and Oklahoma beat No. 9 Kansas 75-68 for its second victory this month over a top-10 opponent.
Oklahoma has won three of its last four games against Kansas in Norman. Oklahoma also defeated then-No. 9 West Virginia on Jan. 2.
Kansas entered the game coming off losses at Oklahoma State and No. 2 Baylor. It now has lost three straight games for the first time in nearly eight years.
Marcus Garrett had 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Jayhawks, who were limited to two offensive rebounds. Jalen Wilson added 13 points for Kansas.
In other top-25 action Saturday:
— E.J. Liddell scored 20 points and No. 15 Ohio State never trailed in a 74-62 victory over No. 10 Wisconsin that continued the Buckeyes’ recent road mastery of ranked opponents. Ohio State has beaten a top-15 team in each of its last three road games to underscore the Big Ten’s lack of a true homecourt advantage this season with no spectators due to the pandemic. The Buckeyes defeated then-No. 15 Rutgers on Jan. 9 and then–No. 14 Illinois on Jan. 16. Wisconsin lost for just the second time in its last 20 home games.
— Jared Butler scored 22 points to help No. 2 Baylor rally from a halftime deficit and beat undermanned Oklahoma State 81-66. Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham did not play because of COVID-19 protocols. He is the Big 12′s leading scorer. Key reserve Rondel Walker also sat out with an arm injury, leaving Oklahoma State with eight players available. The Cowboys still led early in the second half before Baylor took control. The Bears shot 53% after the break. Mark Vital scored a career-high 19 points for Baylor.
— Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore scored 15 points apiece, and No. 3 Villanova used a dominating second half to defeat Providence 71-56. Caleb Daniels added 12 points and Jermaine Samuels had 10 for Villanova, which won its eighth consecutive game. Alyn Breed scored 18 points to pace Providence.
— Marcus Sasser and Quentin Grimes each scored 15 points and No. 8 Houston rolled to its sixth straight win, 68-51 over Temple. Justin Gorham had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars. Jake Forrester led Temple with 15 points and Khalif Battle had 14.
— Eric Ayala had 21 points and three steals to help Maryland deliver another road upset of a ranked Big Ten opponent. The Terrapins beat No. 17 Minnesota 63-49. Donta Scott added 15 points and 11 rebounds and Aaron Wiggins had eight points and 10 rebounds for Maryland. The Terps limited Minnesota big man Liam Robbins to six points on 2-for-6 shooting before the 7-footer fouled out. Marcus Carr had 25 points for the Gophers. They lost for the first time in 12 home games this season.
— Denzel Mahoney scored 20 points and 11th-ranked Creighton broke open a close game in the last 10 minutes to beat No. 23 Connecticut 74-66. The Bluejays struggled offensively while losing their previous two games but shot 58% in the second half and avoided their first three-game losing streak since February 2019. R.J. Cole scored 14 points and freshman Adama Sanogo had a season-high 13 to lead UConn. The Huskies played their fourth straight game without scoring leader James Bouknight, who is recovering from elbow surgery.
— Quincy Guerrier had 20 points, Marek Doelzaj added 18 and Alan Griffin had 15 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks for his fourth double-double of the season and Syracuse defeated No. 16 Virginia Tech 78-60. The Orange badly needed a quality win to build its resume for the postseason. Nahiem Alleyne led the Hokies with a season-tying high 20 points, 15 from 3.
— Balsa Koprivica had 13 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double and Florida State pulled away early in an 80-61 rout of No. 20 Clemson. Sardaar Calhoun added a career-best 13 points for Florida State, which has won four straight games. Calhoun made 4 of 5 3-pointers. John Newman III scored 12 points for Clemson, which has lost three straight. Florida State used a 15-2 run early to take a commanding 24-9 lead with 9:16 until halftime. The Seminoles prevented dribble drives and cruised to a 42-24 lead at the half.
Hours after Dubois trade, Blue Jackets beat Lightning 5-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Hours after trading disgruntled center Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Columbus Blue Jackets got three first-period goals and beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. Nick Foligno (foh-LEEN’-yoh), Mikhail Grigorenko, Vladislav Gavrikov, Zach Werenski and Eric Robinson scored, and Elvis Merzlikins had 30 saves for the Blue Jackets.
Fifteen different Columbus players recorded points.
The Blue Jackets’ second victory in six games came shortly after Dubois, one of the team’s leading scorers, was sent to Winnipeg in exchange for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic in a deal announced early Saturday.
Packers elevate CB Williams to active roster for game day
UNDATED (AP) — The Green Bay Packers have elevated recent cornerback acquisition Tramon Williams to their active roster for Sunday’s NFC championship game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The move Saturday comes two days after the Packers announced they had signed Williams to their practice squad. The 37-year-old Williams was waived by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, two days after their 17-3 AFC divisional playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Williams previously played for the Packers from 2007-14 and 2018-19.
Green Bay may need some extra depth in the secondary due to the uncertain status of starting cornerback Kevin King, who didn’t practice Friday because of a back injury. Green Bay’s injury report Friday listed King as questionable.
The Packers also elevated defensive lineman Brian Price and cornerback KeiVarae Russell from the practice squad to the active roster for game day. In other moves, they signed punter Ryan Winslow to the practice squad and released running back Dexter Williams from the practice squad.
In other NFL news:
— New Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith is building his staff. He added four assistants Saturday, including veteran defensive line coach Gary Emanuel. Emanuel coached the New York Giants’ defensive line in 2018-19. He has 38 years coaching experience, including 10 in the NFL. He coached the Indianapolis Colts’ defensive line from 2012-17. The Falcons also named Steve Hoffman as a senior assistant, Justin Peelle as tight ends coach and Matt Pees as a defensive assistant. Pees is the son of new Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Peelle coached the Philadelphia Eagles’ tight ends the past six seasons.
Blue Jackets deal unhappy Dubois to Jets for Laine, Roslovic
UNDATED (AP) — After Pierre-Luc Dubois was benched for lack of effort two days ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday traded the unhappy star center to the Winnipeg Jets for Patrik Laine (LY’-nay) and Jack Roslovic.
The 22-year-old Dubois, Columbus’ top-line center, made it clear when he signed a two-year contract before the season that he wanted a change of scenery. Laine, an All-Star winger in the second season of a two-year contract, also had been asking for a trade.
Dubois is a dynamic center whom the Blue Jackets hoped would be one of their building blocks. But he declined to sign a long-term deal and let it be known he wanted to play elsewhere.
Laine also had been asking for a trade. The 22-year-old Finnish winger has an upper-body injury and visa issues to work out. It’s not clear when he’ll be ready to play.
In other NHL news:
— Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn has missed practice a day after his right leg buckled during a collision in the season opener. Coach Rick Bowness provided no update on Benn’s status after Saturday’s practice. The coach only repeated what he said after the 7-0 win Friday night over Nashville. He says Benn is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Benn returned to the game not long after getting hurt in the second period when Dallas built a five-goal lead. He didn’t play in the third period. Dallas plays the Predators again Sunday.
— The San Jose Sharks will open their home schedule in the desert. The Sharks’ first two home games will be Feb. 1 and 3 against the Vegas Golden Knights at Gila River Arena, home of the Arizona Coyotes. The Sharks held training camp in Arizona due to a ban on contact sports in California’s Santa Clara County. The NHL scheduled the Sharks’ first eight games on the road in hopes they could play in San Jose, but strict COVID-19 restrictions are still in place. No determination has been made on San Jose’s home games against Anaheim on Feb. 13 and 15 yet.
Jessica Korda with 60 moves within 2 shots of Danielle Kang
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Danielle Kang still has the lead in the LPGA Tour season opener. Jessica Korda won the day. Korda blistered the back nine in 9-under 28. That gave her a 60, one shot off the LPGA Tour record. It left her two shots behind Kang, who looks tough to beat in the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions.
Kang matched her career low with a 63. She hasn’t made a bogey in her last 70 holes dating to last season.
The final round features Kang paired with Jessica Korda and her younger sister. Nelly Korda shot a 67 and was 6 back.