Major League Baseball
Kearns back with Indians
Even as he packed his bags for New York, Austin Kearns knew there was a good chance he would be back in Cleveland. Kearns, who spent four months with the Indians last season before he was traded to the Yankees, returned to the club on Monday by agreeing to a $1.3 million, one-year contract. Kearns made Cleveland's roster out of training camp and was with the Indians until July 30, when he was dealt for pitcher Zach McAllister. Kearns had discussions with the Indians about returning prior to the trade.
"I knew there was a chance," Kearns said. "In the end, Cleveland was the right place to come back to and play. I enjoyed playing here. There are a lot of good guys on the team, guys I've maintained relationships with. They have a lot of talented young guys on this team. I enjoyed playing with everyone."
Kearns, who starred at Lafayette and was named Kentucky's Mr. Baseball in 1998, batted .272 with eight homers and 42 RBI in 84 games for Cleveland. With the Yankees, he batted .235 with two homers and seven RBI in 36 games.
■ Pete Rose Jr., the son of the career hits leader who is banned from baseball, will run a rookie league team for the Chicago White Sox. Rose Jr. appeared in 1,918 minor league games and had a .271 batting average. He was originally drafted by the Orioles in the 12th round in 1988. He will run the Bristol, Va., affiliate in the Appalachian League.
In 1997, Rose Jr. got a small taste of the big leagues with the Cincinnati Reds — his father's primary team when he played — when he appeared in 11 games, going 2-for-14.
■ Free agent infielder Bill Hall finalized a $3.25 million, one-year contract with the Astros that includes a mutual option for 2012. Hall, who spent last season with the Red Sox, hit .247 with 18 homers and 46 RBI last season.
■ Outfielder Rick Ankiel and the Nationals agreed to a $1.5 million, one-year contract. He batted .232 with six homers and 24 RBI this year with the Royals and Braves.
Maryland fires Friedgen ahead of bowl
Ralph Friedgen was fired as Maryland's football coach effective after the Military Bowl on Dec. 29. Friedgen received $2 million to cover the final year of his contract in 2011. Athletics Director Kevin Anderson intended to immediately form a search committee to find Friedgen's replacement, and acknowledged that former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is on his preliminary list. "Right now there is no leading candidate," said Anderson, who was hired in September.
During his 10 years at his alma mater, Friedgen went 74-50. After the Terrapins slipped to 2-10 last year, Friedgen guided the team to an 8-4 record, was named Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year for a second time and earned his seventh post-season appearance. But that was not enough for Anderson, who decided against negotiating an extension for the 63-year-old coach.
■ Indiana's new coach, Kevin Wilson, is bringing back a familiar name to the school's football program: Mallory. Wilson hired Doug Mallory and Mike Ekeler as co-defensive coordinators. Mallory is the son of former Indiana coach Bill Mallory, who has the most wins of any coach in school history. Doug Mallory has worked in Bloomington twice before. He was a graduate assistant for his father in 1988 and coached Indiana's special teams and defensive backs from 1994 to 1996. He spent the last two seasons running New Mexico's defense after four seasons at Louisiana State. Ekeler joins the Hoosiers after coaching Nebraska's linebackers for the last three seasons.
■ Darrell Hazell is the new Kent State coach after developing receivers Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn Jr. into first-round draft picks during seven seasons as an Ohio State assistant. Hazell replaces Doug Martin, who resigned with a few weeks left in a 5-7 season and went 29-53 in seven years overall.
Tebow, Hasselback to start in Week 16
Broncos interim coach Eric Studesville said he's decided to start Tim Tebow again against the Texans. Studesville said Kyle Orton is still bothered by bruised ribs and that Tebow did a good job managing the game plan in his first NFL start at Oakland despite Denver's 39-23 loss to the Raiders. ... Matt Hasselbeck will remain the starting quarterback in Seattle, Coach Pete Carroll said. Hasselbeck was pulled in the third quarter of Sunday's 34-18 loss to Atlanta after throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble that resulted in a Falcons touchdown. Charlie Whitehurst replaced Hasselbeck and played well, scoring on a 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Mavericks end Heat's 12-game win streak
Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points, Jason Terry hit two big three-pointers in the final 2½ minutes, and the Mavericks ended Miami's 12-game winning streak by beating the Heat 98-96. It was Dallas' 14th straight regular-season win over the Heat, and the Mavericks were the last team to beat Miami this season, too.
■ CJ Miles scored 22 points, Paul Millsap and Raja Bell added 19 apiece and the Utah Jazz beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-90, moving Coach Jerry Sloan into a tie with Pat Riley for the third-most wins in NBA history. Deron Williams had 17 points and 10 assists as the Jazz improved to 11-1 against the Eastern Conference. Sloan, Utah's coach since 1988, has matched Riley with 1,210 victories. Up next is Lenny Wilkens (1,332) and Don Nelson (1,335).
■ The Washington Wizards limited the Charlotte Bobcats to one field goal in the third quarter and cruised to a 108-75 victory that snapped a seven-game losing streak.
The last word
The Cincinnati Bengals got their third win of the season by letting running back Cedric Benson become the focus of the offense again, just like last season. They got away from that this year, wanting a more diversified offense, and are 3-11 as a result. But Benson, who ran for 150 yards and a TD on Sunday said he tried to stay positive, at least publicly:
"I remember telling myself six or seven weeks ago: Do not get sucked into what's going on. What are those deals that horses wear? Blinders? Keep your blinders on. It's almost like a gigantic magnet. No matter how hard you try to avoid that and keep from getting sucked into that here-we-go-again attitude, it just pulls and pulls and pulls at you week after week after week."