Cashman: Soriano's big deal was Hal Steinbrenner's idea
In a move mirroring those of his famous father, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner overruled General Manager Brian Cashman when he gave a $35 million, three-year contract to Rafael Soriano. Distancing himself from the decision after a news conference Wednesday to introduce Mariano Rivera's new setup man, Cashman said he didn't think it was worth playing closer money for a pitcher the team plans to use in the eighth inning. And the GM didn't want to lose his first-round pick in June's amateur draft, which will now go to Tampa Bay.
"I think it's certainly a sign that at times, if Hal feels that he wants to go in a different direction, that could happen," Cashman said. "I think that's certainly the case. This is their team."
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Cashman stayed with the Yankees after the 2005 season, in part because George Steinbrenner gave him increased authority over baseball operations. But control of the team was turned over to Hal Steinbrenner in November 2008, and the owner died last July at age 80. Cashman's contract expires after this season.
■ Adding a starting pitcher at last this off-season, the Nationals finalized their trade to acquire left-hander Tom Gorzelanny from the Cubs for three minor-league prospects Wednesday.
■ Carl Pavano is headed back to the Twins with a new $16.5 million, two-year contract, the team announced Wednesday. Pavano went 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA and seven complete games last season to help the Twins win the AL Central title. The right-hander pitched 221 innings, the second-highest total in his injury-plagued career.
■ Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley was arrested in Los Angeles on a felony charge Tuesday morning and released from jail on $50,000 bail at about 5:45 p.m. Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department booking records did not specify the nature of the charge. The Mariners released a statement late Tuesday night saying they were aware of Bradley's arrest. Bradley, a Los Angeles native, has a court appearance scheduled for Feb. 8.
■ The Athletics added another proven arm to their deep bullpen Wednesday, finalizing a $10.5 million, two-year contract with free-agent reliever Brian Fuentes, 35. The sides agreed to the deal last weekend and completed it after Fuentes passed a physical. The incentive-laden contract includes a $6.5 million club option for 2013.
Lamely gets hot for early Hope lead
Even after Derek Lamely strung together the longest streak of birdies and eagles on the PGA Tour in nearly four years, he realized it's still very early in the Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta, Calif. Lamely shot a 9-under 63 in the first round Wednesday, playing a six-hole stretch in 7 under to take a one-stroke lead over J.J. Henry and Jhonattan Vegas. Kenny Perry was four shots back at 5-under 67, and fellow Kentuckian Steve Flesch shot a 68.
Toyota edits helmit hit from commercial
Toyota has edited a TV commercial about research into head injuries at the request of the NFL to get rid of footage of a helmet-to-helmet collision. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Wednesday "the tone of the spot portrayed the sport of football in an unfair manner." The carmaker launched a series of commercials in November called "Ideas for Good," which show how Toyota technology is being used in other industries to benefit society. Wake Forest University is using Toyota's Total Human Model for Safety software to analyze football injuries.
Chenery's new award goes to Zenyatta
Penny Chenery, who owned Triple Crown winner Secretariat, announced the creation Wednesday of an award to recognize "a horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the American public and gained recognition for the sport during the past year." The inaugural Secretariat Vox Populi Award goes to Zenyatta, the mare whose only loss in her 20-race career was a nail-biting defeat to Blame in the Breeders' Cup Classic in October. The award will be presented to owners Ann and Jerry Moss in a public ceremony at Santa Anita Park in California on Feb. 5. Chenery selected this year's recipient, but a committee of racing personalities and industry representatives will choose the winner each year in conjunction with an online vote.
Texas, ESPN starting 24-hour network
The University of Texas on Wednesday announced a 20-year, $300 million deal with ESPN for a 24-hour television network that will broadcast Longhorn sports and other content. The deal includes Texas' licensing and marketing partner IMG College, with more than 80 percent of revenue set to go to the university. The network contract will not replace existing deals between the Big 12 and ESPN-ABC and Fox. The network has not yet been named.
■ Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget will skip his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, the school said Wednesday. Liuget is considered a potential first-round pick in the April draft.
The last word
Linebacker Brian Urlacher on his Bears dominating time of possession — 37:10 — in Sunday's playoff win over the Seahawks:
"It's easy to play defense when you're not playing."