Update on the latest sports
Padres, Fernando Tatis Jr. sign 14-year ‘statue contract’
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Fernando Tatis Jr.‘s $340 million, 14-year contract has been finalized by the San Diego Padres, the longest deal in baseball history.
Tatis had been eligible for salary arbitration after this season and for free agency after the 2024 season. The length of his contract exceeds the $325 million, 13-year agreement between Miami and Giancarlo Stanton and the $330 million, 13-year contract between Bruce Harper and Philadelphia.
A son of former big league infielder Fernando Tatis, he has played in only 143 games during two seasons, including the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, yet has quickly become one of the faces of baseball.
In other baseball news:
—Albert Pujols’ wife apparently disclosed that the Los Angeles Angels slugger will retire after the upcoming season, although she later amended her social media post to be less definitive. The 41-year-old Pujols reported to spring training with the Angels on Monday. In a post on her Instagram account later in the day, Deidre Pujols wrote: “Today is the first day of the last season of one of the most remarkable careers in sports!” Shortly afterward, she amended the statement with a parenthetical “based on his contract.” Pujols’ 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels ends after this season, his 21st.
—Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather has resigned after video surfaced of him expressing his views about some players and club operations. Mariners Chairman John Stanton says Mather’s comments were inappropriate and do not represent the views of the franchise. Mather’s resignation is effective immediately. Stanton will take on the roles of CEO and team president on an interim basis. Mather issued an apology for his comments, which were made Feb. 5 to the Bellevue, Washington, Breakfast Rotary Club and were posted online over the weekend.
—The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $2.25 million, one-year contract with reliever Tyler Clippard. That’s what a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. Clippard also has a mutual option with the team for 2022 that’s worth $3.5 million with a buyout of $500,000. The 36-year-old right-hander is a two-time All-Star and has 777 appearances over 14 seasons with a career 3.13 ERA. He had a 2.77 ERA in 26 appearances with the Minnesota Twins last season.
— Right-hander Trevor Rosenthal finalized an $11 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics, providing manager Bob Melvin with a new reliable ninth-inning option after former closer Liam Hendriks’ departure in free agency. The 30-year-old Rosenthal went 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA with 11 saves over 23 2/3 innings for the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres last season.
Right-hander Trevor Rosenthal finalized an $11 million, one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics, providing manager Bob Melvin with a new reliable ninth-inning option after former closer Liam Hendriks’ departure in free agency. The 30-year-old Rosenthal went 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA with 11 saves over 23 2/3 innings for the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres last season.
—The Atlanta Braves have claimed outfielder Phillip Ervin off waivers from the Chicago Cubs. Ervin was added to the 40-man roster and will compete for a backup position. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on Saturday. Braves position players will have their first workout in North Port, Florida on Tuesday. The Braves could have room in their outfield after Adam Duvall signed with the Miami Marlins. Nick Markakis remains a free agent. Rookie Cristian Pache will compete with Ender Inciarte in center field. Ronald Acuña Jr. and Marcell Ozuna are locks to start in the outfield.
— The Cleveland Indians could have as many as 10,000 fans at home games this season. Gov. Mike DeWine says it’s likely professional sports teams could accommodate up to 30% capacity at their venues this spring. The Cincinnati Reds and Columbus Crew would also be affected. The Indians were not allowed to have fans last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the loss of revenue for ticket sales, parking and concessions dealt the club an economic blow. The Indians have been working with Major League Baseball and the Cleveland Clinic to develop a safety plan to welcome fans back.
Gonzaga, Baylor remain atop AP Top 25 in quiet week
UNDATED (AP) — Gonzaga and Baylor remain atop The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll in a week of little change.
The top five from a week ago remained the same in the poll and no teams dropped out of the AP Top 25.
Gonzaga received 60 first-place votes from a media panel and Baylor had the other four, with the Bulldogs picking up one vote from the Bears. Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois rounded out the top five.
The Buckeyes held their spot despite losing 92-87 to the Wolverines on Sunday. No. 12 Houston dropped six spots and No. 15 Virginia lost eight while No. 9 Iowa and No. 10 West Virginia moved back into the top 10.
In the women’s poll, UConn remains No. 1 after blowing out its two opponents last week. North Carolina State returned to No. 2 and Texas A&M climbed to third, followed by Stanford and South Carolina.
Timberwolves fire Ryan Saunders, hire Chris Finch as coach
UNDATED (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves fired coach Ryan Saunders hours after the team with the NBA’s worst record this season lost for the eighth time in the last nine games. The Timberwolves announced the hiring of Toronto assistant Chris Finch as their new coach today.
At 7-24, Minnesota has the league’s worst record this season and already is 7 1/2 games out of what would be the final play-in spot for the Western Conference postseason.
In other NBA news:
— The New Orleans Pelicans are increasing maximum attendance to 2,700 fans beginning Wednesday night when they host the Detroit Pistons. The Pelicans have been selling nearly 1,500 tickets per game since last month after allowing fewer than 1,000 fans per game to start the season. The club has been working with local and state government health officials to determine safe attendance policies that are tied to local coronavirus transmission rates. A considerable recent drop in new area COVID-19 cases has allowed for the increase in attendance.
Panarin denies Russian report, takes time away from Rangers
UNDATED (AP) — New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence after a Russian tabloid printed allegations from a former coach that he attacked an 18-year-old woman in Latvia in 2011.
Ex-NHL enforcer Andrei Nazarov is the source for the report after coaching Panarin in the Kontinental Hockey League. Nazarov says he was motivated to speak about it because he disagreed with Panarin’s criticism of the Russian government.
Panarin denied the allegations in a statement released by the Rangers. The team said it backed its star player and called the allegations “an intimidation tactic.”
Kansas City quarterback Mahomes, fiancee welcome baby girl
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his fiancee, Brittany Matthews, are parents to a girl. Matthews announced the Sunday birth of Sterling Skye Mahomes in a tweet. The birth came two weeks after Mahomes and Kansas City lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. The Kansas City Star reported that Mahomes and Matthews had announced their engagement in September. The next month, the couple used their dogs as part of a gender reveal, and Mahomes tweeted that he was going to be a #GirlDad. In celebration of the birth, Union Station in Kansas City was lit up with pink and white lights Sunday night.
Osaka back to No. 2; Medvedev No. 3
UNDATED (AP) — UNDATED (AP) — Naomi Osaka’s Australian Open championship has allowed her to move up to No. 2 in the WTA rankings.
Ash Barty remains No. 1, while women’s runner-up Jennifer Brady cracked the Top 20 for the first time jumping to No. 13. Serena Williams climbed four spots from No. 11 to No. 7 to get back into the Top 10 after making it to the semifinals
Men’s finalist Daniil Medvedev rose to a career-best No. 3 behind winner Novak Djokovic on the ATP list. Djokovic remains at No. 1, while Rafael Nadal stayed at No. 2 after losing in the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park.
Aslan Karatsev’s historic run from qualifying to the final four before losing to nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic allowed him to vault 72 places from 114th to 42nd. He is the first man in the professional era to reach the semifinals in his debut in the main draw of a major tournament.