Cincinnati signs veterans Ludwick, Francis to contracts
The Cincinnati Reds have made a couple moves to improve their depth, signing outfielder Ryan Ludwick to a one-year contract and left-handed starter Jeff Francis to a minor-league deal.
The 33-year-old Ludwick and the Reds have a mutual option for 2013. The outfielder batted .237 last season in 139 games with the Padres and Pirates, hitting 13 homers with 75 RBI. Ludwick also has played for the Rangers, Indians and Cardinals.
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The 31-year-old Francis has struggled since he missed the 2009 season because of shoulder surgery. Last season, he was 6-16 for Kansas City with a 4.82 ERA in 31 starts. The Reds also designated right-handed reliever Carlos Fisher for assignment to the minors on Wednesday.
■ Five days after All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes had his dreadlocks cut off on live television to comply with the dress code of the Miami Marlins, the auction for his hair ended with a winning bid of $10,200, the MLB Network said Wednesday. Proceeds of the auction, which was conducted on eBay, benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. Network spokeswoman Lorraine Fisher said the identity of the winning bidder was not known.
Measles patient at Super Bowl venue
A person with measles may have exposed visitors at Indianapolis' Super Bowl Village to the disease, and as many as three other central Indiana residents might have it, too. Indiana health officials said Wednesday that two cases are confirmed and two others are suspected. One of the two people with a confirmed case was among more than 200,000 people who visited the Super Bowl Village on Friday. Measles has cold-like symptoms paired with a high fever and a rash. It's rare in the U.S. because most people are immunized against it. Indiana Health Commissioner Greg Larkin said symptoms take seven to 10 days to appear after exposure to the virus, which is spread through the air. Health officials are asking people to contact their doctors if they develop symptoms.
Contract clause keeps Holmes a Jet
It appears Santonio Holmes is sticking around — just as the New York Jets said he would. By remaining on the roster through the second day of the NFL's waiver period, the talented but troublesome wide receiver will get $15.25 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons. A clause in Holmes' contract, signed last off-season, kicked in Wednesday morning. Holmes' future appeared murky with the Jets after a tumultuous season in which he feuded with quarterback Mark Sanchez and offensive linemen, and was benched during the season finale in Miami for arguing in the huddle.
Sanchez Vicario says $60 million gone
Former tennis star Arantxa Sanchez Vicario said in a book published Tuesday that her parents lost an estimated $60 million in career earnings through mismanagement. The 40-year-old Sanchez Vicario said her parents were obsessed with her tennis career and controlled most aspects of it. She said she's estranged from her parents and brothers Emilio and Javier, former tennis players. The four-time Grand Slam singles champion said she got a monthly payment from her father and trusted him to invest the rest. "I never doubted that my father would manage my assets in the most efficient and beneficial way," she wrote. "How can it be that everything I achieved has vanished, that it does not exist?"
Attendance, wagers up at Oaklawn Park
Oaklawn Park is increasing its purses this season, thanks to warmer weather that has drawn more people to visit the track and place bets. The racetrack in Hot Springs, Ark., says purses will go up $5,000 per day beginning Thursday. Oaklawn says it will increase purses by $200 for claiming races, $1,000 for maiden special weight and starter allowance races and $1,500 for all allowance races. The racetrack has seen a 42 percent increase in attendance compared with a year ago, as well as a 40 percent increase in on-track wagers.
SPORTS IN THE COURTS
Sandusky argues for local jurors
Jerry Sandusky's lawyer filed court paperwork Wednesday arguing that jurors in his child sex abuse trial should be chosen from the community where he lives and suggesting that a trial delay might be the best way to address the intense publicity generated by the case. Defense attorney Joe Amendola wrote that the former Penn State assistant football coach is opposed to a request by the state attorney general's office to bring in out-of-county jurors, saying publicity about Sandusky's case has been so pervasive that jurors from other counties will also have been saturated with news coverage.
Source: Next Winter Classic at Michigan
A person familiar with the NHL's plan said the Detroit Red Wings will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2013 Winter Classic. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday because the league isn't expected to announce the matchup until Thursday. Earlier Wednesday, the University of Michigan Board of Regents authorized the athletic department to seek a contract with the NHL that would allow the league to hold next year's showcase at Michigan Stadium. The NHL has offered to pay up to $3 million for a license to use the iconic college football stadium, according to the recommendation approved by the board.
North Dakota to keep Fighting Sioux
The University of North Dakota will resume using its contentious Fighting Sioux nickname despite threats from the NCAA, the school's president said Wednesday, marking the latest twist in a protracted fight about a name that critics consider offensive. A state law requiring the university to use its longtime nickname and logo, which shows the profile of an American Indian warrior, was repealed in November. The university has since been trying to retire the moniker, but nickname supporters filed petitions late Tuesday demanding that the issue be put to a statewide vote. University President Robert Kelley said the school decided to resume using the name and logo to respect the state's referendum process.
Capello steps down as England's coach
Fabio Capello quit suddenly as England coach on Wednesday in a dispute over captain John Terry, throwing the national team's preparations for the European Championship into turmoil. The Italian, whose contract was due to expire after Euro 2012, resigned during an hour-long meeting with Football Association executives at Wembley Stadium after four years on the job. The drama unfolded hours after Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp, who has long been considered Capello's likely successor, was cleared by a British jury of tax evasion.
The last word
NBC's Jimmy Fallon, amazed by the Indiana man who built a replica of Lucas Oil Stadium using 30,000 Legos:
"And this is even cooler: He had enough Legos left over to build himself a girlfriend."