Angels' E. Santana agrees to 4-year, $30 million deal



Right-hander Ervin Santana and the Los Angeles Angels agreed to a four-year, $30 million contract yesterday, a day after their scheduled arbitration hearing was postponed. Santana's deal includes a $13 million club option for 2013 with a $1 million buyout. The 26-year-old is the youngest active major league pitcher with at least 50 wins. He rebounded from a sub-par season in 2007 to go 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA for the American League West champion Angels last year, striking out a career-high 214 in 219 innings with only 47 walks. Santana is 51-37 in four seasons with the Angels.

Mets: : Livan Hernandez and New York agreed to a minor league contract, giving the team another pitcher who could compete for the final rotation spot during spring training. With the move, Mets general manager Omar Minaya all but ruled out bringing back Pedro Martinez. ... Manager Jerry Manuel is pondering the idea of dropping speedy shortstop Jose Reyes from the leadoff spot.


Et cetera: : The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez is expected to hold a news conference Tuesday after arriving at spring training. Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada plan to attend to support him. ... Still seeking a proven hitter for the outfield, the Braves said they are interested in acquiring Ken Griffey Jr. ... Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes, left-handed starter John Lannan and catcher Jesus Flores are among 23 players who agreed to terms on 2009 contracts. ... Former major league outfielder Ted Uhlaender, who played from 1965 to 1972 with Minnesota, Cleveland and Cincinnati, died after a heart attack. He was 68.

Steelers' Reed cited in restroom incident


State police say Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Jeff Reed threw a temper tantrum at a Sheetz convenience store in New Alexandria, Pa., a tiny borough about 35 miles east of Pittsburgh, because its restroom didn't have any towels. Police say the incident happened about 2:50 a.m. yesterday. Reed has been cited for disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, offenses similar to traffic tickets that carry a maximum fine of $300 and 90 days in jail each. Police say he damaged the towel dispenser then used profane language to an employee and outside the store.

Panthers: : Four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers hopes Carolina grants the impending free agent his wish by not placing the franchise tag on him. "If they decide to use the tag on me, the first thing that I'll be doing is requesting a trade," Peppers said in his first extended interview since his agent announced last month that he wouldn't sign a long-term deal with the Panthers.

Et cetera: : The Raiders signed cornerback Chris Johnson to a four-year contract extension. ... Former Giants and Saints cornerback Curtis Deloatch was in a North Carolina jail after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge of assaulting a woman.

Knicks' Robinson wins slam-dunk contest



Diminutive New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson beat defending champion Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic in an electrifying slam-dunk contest in Phoenix, winning 52 percent of fans' votes. Clad in an all-green Knicks uniform with green shoes, Robinson used Howard as a prop in the final round, springboarding over the 6-foot-11 center to jam. Howard, who scored a perfect 50 on both of his first-round dunks, performed the most theatrical dunk of the night in the first round. He disappeared into a phone booth just off the court, emerging with a Superman cape. Howard waved his arms to the crowd as an 11-foot basket was wheeled onto the floor. Howard took a bounce pass from teammate Jameer Nelson and tomahawked a dunk as the U.S. Airways Center crowd erupted. Earlier in the night, Chicago's Derrick defeated New Jersey's Devin Harris in the final round of the skills challenge, and Miami's Daequan Cook needed overtime to edge Orlando's Rashard Lewis in the three-point shootout.

More All-Star weekend: : In his state of the league remarks, commissioner David Stern said the NBA is holding steady and will continue to do so, even during a worldwide economic downturn that has put many big businesses in jeopardy. Stern also announced that starting this year, the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player will receive the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award.

Suns: : Responding to an Arizona Republic report that there were "strong indications" coach Terry Porter would be fired tomorrow, general manager Steve Kerr said, "We haven't made a decision."

Hoff wins twice in Mo.; Stanford beats Wie by 3

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Towson's Katie Hoff won two events on the second day of the Missouri Grand Prix on in Columbia. Hoff won the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2 minutes, 13.21 seconds. Hoff also finished first in the 400 freestyle, nearly two seconds ahead of the competition.


Golf: : Angela Stanford spoiled Michelle Wie's bid for a victory in her first start as an LPGA Tour member, overcoming a three-stroke deficit to win the season-opening SBS Open by three shots in Kahuku, Hawaii. Stanford closed with a 2-under-par 70 for a 10-under 206 total. Wie had a disappointing 73. ... Dustin Johnson shot a 5-under 67, giving him a four-shot lead over Mike Weir heading into a final round of the AT&T; Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in Pebble Beach, Calif. Johnson was at 15-under 201. ... Gil Morgan shot a flawless 7-under 65 and finished tied with Tom Jenkins (67) at 10-under 134 after two rounds of the Champions Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.

Soccer: : AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti remains hopeful to sign David Beckham to a permanent contract, despite the Los Angeles Galaxy's ruling out further talk about a deal. "We've still got 20 days to close the deal. Galaxy has forced the situation, but there's time before March 9," Ancelotti told the ANSA news agency.

College basketball: : Stephen Curry injured his left ankle during Davidson's 75-60 win over Furman. It was unclear how long the nation's leading scorer could be out.

NHL: : Four-time Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur practiced with the Devils for the first time since having elbow surgery in November and hopes to play in a game within 10 days. ... Penguins defenseman Philippe Boucher is out indefinitely after undergoing left foot surgery. ... Controversial forward Sean Avery appeared in his first competitive hockey game in two months, with the American Hockey League's Hartford Wolfpack. Avery was involved in two minor scrapes in the game.

Cycling: : Lance Armstrong has returned to competitive cycling in his native country with a smooth 10th-place finish in the prologue to the Tour of California. The seven-time Tour de France winner finished the 2.4-mile course in 4 minutes, 37.17 seconds, coming in just 4.3 seconds off the pace set by Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara.

Skiing: : Germany's Maria Riesch won the slalom at the world championships in Val d'Isere, France. The United States' Lindsey Vonn was second after the opening run but fell after deciding to compete four days after having surgery on a severed tendon in her right thumb.