A's sign free-agent Sheets for one year, $10 million
Once Billy Beane received positive word on Ben Sheets' throwing session last week, the Oakland general manager pounced.
The Athletics took a mighty gamble Tuesday on Sheets, agreeing to terms with the free-agent right-hander on a $10 million, one-year contract 11 months after he underwent elbow surgery that sidelined him all of last season.
A four-time All-Star, the 31-year-old Sheets becomes the team's second-highest paid player behind six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez.
"We were either going to get him with what we had or we weren't, and we had to be aggressive about it," Beane said.
Manager Bob Geren immediately called Sheets his ace and opening-day starter.
"This is where I wanted to be. I'm glad they welcomed me with open arms," said Sheets, who went 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA during eight seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers. "I think I'm 100 percent physically ready to go."
■ Free agent right-hander Jon Garland and the San Diego Padres agreed to a $5.3 million, one-year contract on Tuesday. Garland was 11-13 with a 4.01 ERA last year with Arizona and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Garland will make $4.7 million this season, with a mutual option for $6.75 million in 2011.
■ Catcher Carlos Ruiz finalized an $8.85 million, three-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies, avoiding salary arbitration. Ruiz hit .255 last season with 26 doubles, a career-high nine home runs and 43 RBI in 107 games. The 31-year-old Ruiz will earn $1.9 million this season, $2.75 million in 2011 and $3.7 million in 2012.
■ Six years after signing Miguel Tejada to a top-dollar contract, the Baltimore Orioles welcomed back the 2002 AL MVP at a bargain price. Tejada received a $6 million, one-year contract Tuesday after passing a physical. The Orioles have endured 12 straight losing seasons, including four with Tejada from 2004-07. The 35-year-old said he expects that streak to end in 2010. "I'm going to put a lot of pressure on myself because this is a second chance for me to be a winner," Tejada said. "The last time I cannot be a winner, but I think this time is the time. I came back here for a reason."
■ New York Mets ace Johan Santana threw off a mound for the first time since elbow surgery last Sept. 1 and said he felt good. The two-time Cy Young Award winner threw 24 pitches over six minutes Tuesday morning on the second day of the team's voluntary mini-camp in Port St. Lucie, Fla. "I feel like I am doing my mechanics without any problems, so that was big," Santana said. "And I don't feel anything in my arm, so I think everything should be all right."
Police ID suspect in Cabanas shooting
Police identified a suspect in the shooting of Paraguay soccer star Salvador Cabanas, who was "showing favorable signs" Tuesday after being shot in the head in a bar in a fashionable neighborhood in Mexico City. Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Angel Mancera identified the suspect as Jose J. Balderas Garza — known also as "El JJ" or "El Modelo." Mancera said surveillance videos showed the suspect entering the bathroom with his bodyguard moments before the player was shot. Mancera said the suspect spoke with an accent from the northern state of Sinaloa, a center of Mexico's drug trade. But he said there is "no indication of organized crime."
Hours after the shooting Monday, surgeons attempted to remove a bullet lodged in Cabanas' skull but decided the operation was too risky. The 29-year-old Cabanas is the star of Paraguay's national team, which will play at the World Cup in South Africa in June.
ABA returns to Eastern Ky. next season
Tom Hamilton and Jerry Boggs outlined their plans to bring professional basketball back to Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday in Pikeville. The East Kentucky Energy will begin play in the American Basketball Association in December. The Energy are set to play in the South Central Division with teams such as the Kentucky Bisons, Bluegrass Stallions and West Virginia Blazers. "We couldn't be more excited about this," said Hamilton. "We've been working with the ABA for several months to lay the groundwork."
Report: Cornell picks football coach
Cornell has scheduled a news conference for Wednesday regarding a replacement for football coach Jim Knowles, who resigned in December to become defensive coordinator at Duke. A person familiar with the negotiations said the Ivy League university has hired Mississippi offensive coordinator Kent Austin.
Mayweather's arraignment delayed
A judge granted a delay for boxing trainer Roger Mayweather's arraignment on felony charges that he beat and choked a female boxer at a Las Vegas apartment last August. Mayweather's lawyer, Jack Buchanan, said Mayweather will plead not guilty. The judge agreed to a Thursday morning time after Buchanan said Mayweather keeps a tight afternoon training schedule at a Las Vegas gym.
USOC sues non-profit to change name
The U.S. Olympic Committee has filed a federal lawsuit to get the International Institute of Sport and Olympic History to drop "Olympic" from its name. Institute President Harvey Abrams says the State College, Pa.-based non-profit is dedicated to studying the history of sports. But the USOC says the institute didn't get permission to use "Olympic" as part of its name. The USOC also asks for damages in court papers filed last week in federal court.
Golfer Green's son found dead
Authorities say Hunter Green, the son of former professional golfer Ken Green, was found dead in his dorm room at Southern Methodist University last week in Dallas. Campus officials said no foul play was involved, and an investigation is under way. It's the second family tragedy in eight months for Ken Green, who won five PGA Tour events between 1985-89 and played on the 1989 Ryder Cup team. Green had his lower right leg amputated last June after a recreational-vehicle accident in which his brother and girlfriend were killed.
Bode Miller to try to qualify for U.S. Open
Bode Miller will trade his skis for a tennis racket after the Olympics and World Cup season. Miller will attempt to qualify for the U.S. Open through a new national playoff system announced Tuesday by the U.S. Tennis Association. The winner of the men's and women's championship will receive a wild-card entry into the U.S. Open qualifying tournament. Miller plans to compete in one of the 16 sectional qualifying tournaments this spring.
Miller won the 1996 Maine state singles title in high school, and his family owns the Tamarack Tennis Camp in Easton, N.H.
UK loses assistant volleyball coach
University of Kentucky assistant volleyball coach Lauren Sauer is the new head coach at James Madison, the university announced on Monday. Sauer spent three seasons with the Wildcats as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Sauer is the second assistant coach under Craig Skinner who has gone on to become a head coach. Former assistant Robert Pulliza just completed his second season as head coach at Arkansas.
The last word
Just like the boisterous fans who pack the ballpark, Manager Charlie Manuel wishes the Philadelphia Phillies still had Cliff Lee. Six weeks after the two-time NL champions made the blockbuster moves to acquire Roy Halladay from Toronto and send Lee to Seattle, Manuel spoke about the deals at a news conference Tuesday:
"Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball right now. Lee is a tad behind him. Of course it would've been nice to have both of them. It'd be good to have Halladay, Lee, (Cole) Hamels. I'd be looking good. I might even be buying more expensive furniture than the Mrs. has been buying me lately."