Johnson retires after 22 years; Anderson, Kearns sign deals
Randy Johnson is retiring after 22 major league seasons.
The Big Unit, an overpowering lefty who last June became the 24th pitcher in big league history to win 300 games, made the expected announcement Tuesday on a conference call.
"I really wanted to go out on my terms," Johnson said. "I just feel like there's not a lot more for me to do in this game. I just think it's a natural progression when you play this long. Eventually you have to say it's time."
A five-time Cy Young Award winner, the 46-year-old Johnson accomplished just about everything in his remarkable career that a player hopes for in baseball. He owns a World Series ring and co-MVP honors, and was a 10-time All-Star. He threw two no-hitters, including a perfect game.
The 6-foot-10 Johnson finishes with a career record of 303-166 and 4,875 strikeouts in 4,1351⁄3 innings for Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, the New York Yankees and San Francisco. His strikeouts are the most by a left-hander and second to Nolan Ryan's 5,714.
Matt Holliday is staying with the St. Louis Cardinals, agreeing Tuesday to a $120 million, seven-year contract that is baseball's richest deal of the off-season. The Cardinals announced Tuesday they had agreed with the power-hitting outfielder on a multiyear contract subject to a physical. The team said a formal announcement was likely by Thursday. "At the end of the day, playing in St. Louis and playing with the guys I made friends with became something that was very appealing to me," Holliday told ESPN Radio.
Outfielder Austin Kearns agreed Tuesday to a minor-league contract with the Cleveland Indians. Kearns, a Lexington native who has played with Cincinnati and Washington, had his 2009 season with the Nationals cut short by an injury to his right thumb. The 29-year-old batted .195 with three homers and 17 RBI in 80 games. He played in Washington for new Indians manager Manny Acta.
Another outfielder, Shelley Duncan, also signed a minor-league deal with the Indians. The 30-year-old Duncan was the MVP of the International League last season, when he hit a record 30 homers with 99 RBI for the Yankees' Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre affiliate.
Outfielder Josh Anderson and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to a minor-league contract on Tuesday. The Somerset native and former Eastern Kentucky star played in 118 games for the Tigers and Royals in 2009, hitting .240 with 24 RBI and 25 stolen bases in 30 attempts. The 27-year-old Anderson was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2003 and was a South Atlantic League All-Star for the Lexington Legends in 2004. "I'm extremely happy about it," Anderson said. "I grew up a Reds fan. ... I look forward to helping out any way I can."
The Giants and Juan Uribe finalized a $3.25 million, one-year contract after he passed a physical, keeping the utility infielder with the club for a second season.
Troy Glaus and the Atlanta Braves finalized a $1.75 million, one-year contract Tuesday, a deal that allows him to earn an additional $2.25 million in performance and roster bonuses. Glaus is set to shift from third base to first in Atlanta.
Rory Markas, a play-by-play sportscaster who spent the past eight seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, has died. He was 54. Markas was found dead at his home in Palmdale on Monday and the cause of death was not immediately available, Angels spokesman Tim Mead said Tuesday. Markas called Angels games on both television and radio, and was best known for celebrating the club's wins with his signature line: "Just another Halo victory!"
Looking to shore up the back of their bullpen, the Philadelphia Phillies finalized a $5.25 million, two-year contract with reliever Danys Baez on Tuesday.
NCAA rejects Florida State appeal
The NCAA has upheld its decision to vacate up to 14 victories from former football coach Bobby Bowden as part of Florida State's penalty in an academic cheating scandal.
Bowden retired as major college football's second most winning coach with 389 wins after Florida State's 33-21 Gator Bowl victory over West Virginia, Jan. 1. The 80-year-old Bowden was not immediately available to comment on the decision. University officials, however, said they were surprised and disappointed by the decision.
"We believed that our administration did everything it possibly could to ferret out any and all improprieties in this matter," Florida State Athletics Director Randy Spetman said.
The NCAA could take wins away in as many as 10 Florida State athletic programs, including possibly stripping Florida State of one of three straight NCAA track championships won between 2006-2008.
Alabama's All-America linebacker Rolando McClain and backup defensive back Rod Woodson missed media day for the BCS championship game Tuesday morning because of a stomach virus. Coach Nick Saban described the pair as being "under the weather." No. 1 Alabama plays No. 2 Texas on Thursday night.
Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville is meeting with Texas Tech officials as they search for a new head coach, athletics department spokesman Chris Cook said Tuesday. Interim coach Ruffin McNeill has also had talks with school officials. Athletics Director Gerald Myers says he could have a pick by the end of the week — and that McNeill will be strongly considered.
Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks has changed his mind and decided to enter the NFL Draft, forgoing his senior year. Also announcing plans to enter the draft Tuesday were Georgia junior safety Reshad Jones, Ohio State junior defensive end Thaddeus Gibson and Penn State junior linebacker Navorro Bowman.
Judge rejects bid for Laurel gaming rights
A Delaware bankruptcy judge has rejected a bid by the former owners of Laurel Park to secure exclusive non-racing gambling rights at the Maryland track. The judge on Tuesday said Magna Entertainment Corp. could reject a 2002 agreement that created a limited liability company and gave Joseph De Francis and other former owners of the Laurel Park and Pimlico tracks so-called alternative gaming rights. Magna argued the rights don't exist because it does not have a slots license and they are not among the Laurel Park and Pimlico assets being auctioned later this month.
NYPD: Williams charged with DWI
Former NBA star Jayson Williams was charged with drunken driving after his SUV veered off an exit ramp and struck a tree early Tuesday, police said, the latest legal woe for the troubled ex-player. Williams, who is awaiting retrial on a manslaughter case in New Jersey, suffered a minor bone fracture in his neck and cuts to his face in the crash, authorities said. Witnesses told police they saw him in the driver's seat, and officers said no one else was in the car.
Domino's CEO is new Michigan AD
Domino's Pizza Chairman and CEO David Brandon, a former football player for the University of Michigan, was announced Tuesday as the school's new athletics director. The 57-year-old Brandon will take over in March with a five-year contract if university regents approve the move as expected on Jan. 21.
IOC suspends Kuwait committee
The International Olympic Committee has suspended Kuwait's national Olympic committee because of alleged political interference by the government. The IOC says the decision was taken by its executive board to "protect the Olympic movement in Kuwait." The suspension took effect Jan. 1. The IOC says Kuwait failed to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for amending a law that allows the Gulf state to interfere in elections of sports organizations.
The last word
Ohio State Coach Thad Matta was asked during his segment on Monday's Big Ten coaches teleconference how much of a transition it has been to adapt to life without star junior Evan Turner. He joked:
"I've only got 10 minutes."