Orioles sign Sherrill to one-year, $2.75M deal
The Orioles avoided salary arbitration with George Sherrill, signing the All-Star reliever last night to a $2.75 million deal for the 2009 season. Sherrill, who saved 31 games last season, tripled his salary from 2008. Sherrill had asked for $3.4 million, and the Orioles had offered $2.2 million. "We leave on Sunday [for spring training]. It's good to be able to fly down and have it behind us," Sherrill said. The arbitration hearing had been scheduled for Feb. 19. The signing means the Orioles won't have any hearings again this season. They haven't gone to arbitration since beating Rodrigo Lopez before the 2006 season. The Orioles have gone to arbitration nine times since 1994 and are 8-1 in those cases. Sherrill, 31, finished seventh in the American League last year in saves and set career highs with 53 1/3 innings pitched and 58 strikeouts. His season highlight came in his first All-Star Game, when he pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to help the American League secure a 15-inning win at Yankee Stadium. However, Sherrill had only one save after July 27 and spent nearly a month on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. He said this offseason that his shoulder is fine and he hopes to return to the closer's role for the 2009 season. Chris Ray, the team's closer in 2007 who missed all of last season after having ligament-reconstruction surgery, is also expected to be ready to go, but Sherrill enters spring training as the clear favorite to be the main option as closer. JEFF ZREBIEC
Dodgers:: Left-hander Randy Wolf and the team agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract. Wolf was a combined 12-12 with a 4.30 ERA last year with the Padres and Astros. Wolf was 9-6 with a 4.73 ERA for the Dodgers in 2007.
Red Sox: : The team made official what had been agreed to a week earlier: Jason Varitek, Boston's catcher and captain, is returning for a 13th season. The contract includes a $5 million salary this year and a player option of $3 million and a team option of $5 million for 2010.
Et cetera: : Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill became the first major league player to go to a salary arbitration hearing this year, asking a panel in Phoenix to award him $775,000 rather than the team's $500,000 offer. ... Right-handed reliever Tom Gordon agreed to a one-year, $500,000 contract with the Diamondbacks. He can make an additional $2.5 million in bonuses. ... Left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano and the Mets agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,612,500. ... Right-hander Jason Jennings and the Rangers agreed to a minor league contract that could lead to a major league deal potentially worth up to $2.25 million. ... Kevin Seitzer, who was an All-Star third baseman with the Royals, is returning to the team as hitting coach.
Cards aide Haley hired as coach of Chiefs
Todd Haley was hired as coach of the Kansas City Chiefs after helping the Arizona Cardinals reach the Super Bowl as coordinator of one of the NFL's most exciting offenses. Haley joins a team that went a franchise-worst 2-14 under coach Herm Edwards, who was fired Jan. 23. Haley, who turns 42 this month, and Scott Pioli, hired from the New England Patriots last month to be Kansas City's general manager, worked together with the New York Jets.
Jurisprudence: : A federal judge in San Francisco sentenced former NFL player Dana Stubblefield to two years' probation for lying to investigators about his steroid use. U.S. District Judge Susan Illston cited Stubblefield's later cooperation with authorities in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative steroid case as she declined to sentence him to three months' home confinement, which is what federal probation officials recommended. Illston fined him $5,000.
Colts: : New coach Jim Caldwell hired Buccaneers assistant Larry Coyer as defensive coordinator and South Carolina aide Ray Rychleski, a former Maryland assistant, as special teams coordinator. Caldwell also promoted receivers coach Clyde Christensen to assistant head coach.
The Denver Nuggets welcomed back starters Kenyon Martin (strep throat) and Chauncey Billups (sprained ankle) and showed no compunction about beating up on a beaten-down opponent in a 124-103 victory over the host Washington Wizards. Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) had 23 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Nuggets, who celebrated their best 50-game record (34-16) since they joined the NBA in 1976. The Wizards dressed only nine players because of injury and illness and dropped to an NBA-worst 10-40. Antawn Jamison led Washington with 26 points and eight rebounds. His co-captain, Caron Butler, missed a second consecutive game with the flu.
Other games: : Paul Pierce had 26 points to help the visiting Celtics (42-10) win, 110-100, over the Knicks (21-28). ... Danny Granger scored 14 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, and the host Pacers (20-31) won, 107-102, over the Magic (37-12). ... Marvin Williams scored 29 points and the visiting Hawks (29-20) rallied for a 102-97 victory over the Bobcats (19-30). ... Peja Stojakovic had 28 points and the host Hornets (29-18) ended a four-game skid with a 101-92 win over the Raptors (19-33). ... Kevin Durant scored 31 points and outplayed Greg Oden in the first pro meeting between the top two picks of the 2007 NBA draft as the Thunder (12-38) won, 102-93, over the visiting Trail Blazers (30-19). ... Zach Randolph had 35 points and the visiting Clippers (11-39) ended a seven-game skid with a 126-105 victory over the Grizzlies (13-36), who got 26 points from Rudy Gay (Archbishop Spalding).
Et cetera: : The NBA Finals rematch between the Celtics and Lakers on Thursday night drew the highest rating on TNT - a 2.7 - since 1996. ... Cavaliers forward LeBron James lost his latest triple double when the NBA determined that one of his rebounds should have been credited to teammate Ben Wallace. James had 52 points and 11 assists Wednesday in Cleveland's 107-102 victory at New York. ... The Bucks said guard Luke Ridnour will miss four weeks after breaking his right thumb in practice Thursday.
Jesus Verdejo had 21 points and Dominique Jones made a driving layup to put South Florida ahead with 15.9 seconds to go, and the Bulls (8-14, 3-7) held on for a 57-56 victory over No. 8 Marquette (20-3, 9-1) in Tampa, Fla. It ended the Golden Eagles' 12-game winning streak and left the Big East without an unbeaten team in conference play.
More college basketball:: Siobhan Prior had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists, but the Loyola women's team (8-14, 3-9 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) lost, 65-46, to host Siena (9-12, 8-4).
Luge: : At practice Thursday, Erin Hamlin had a headache. Yesterday, the U.S. slider gave one to the rest of the field at the world championships in Lake Placid, N.Y., as she won the gold medal, ending a string of German wins that began in 1995, when she was 7. Hamlin, 12th at the 2006 Winter Olympics, blasted down the mile-long icy chute, reaching 71 mph. Her two-run total time of 1 minute, 28.098 seconds was 0.187 of a second faster than Germany's Natalie Geisenberger. "There's no better place to do it," said Hamlin, who grew up in upstate New York. CANDUS THOMSON
Golf: : Camilo Villegas shot a 2-under-par 70 on the tougher South Course at Torrey Pines in San Diego, putting him at 11-under 133 as he kept the lead in the PGA Buick Invitational. John Rollins shot a 64 on the South Course and is one stroke behind.