Ex-Oriole Atkins gets minor league deal with Pirates
Infielder Garrett Atkins, who has been out of baseball since the Orioles designated him for assignment June 27, has signed a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team announced Thursday. Atkins, 31, batted just .214 with one homer and nine RBIs in 44 games for the Orioles after they signed him before the 2010 season and installed the former Colorado Rockie as their regular first baseman. Atkins had his best years under new Pirates manager Clint Hurdle in Colorado. Recently signed former Toronto Blue Jay Lyle Overbay is expected to start at first base for Pittsburgh.
Nationals: Left-handed reliever Sean Burnett agreed on a two-year, $3.95 million contract with a mutual option for 2013, avoiding salary arbitration. Burnett went 1-7 with three saves and a 2.14 ERA in 73 appearances in 2010. He was acquired in June 2009 from the Pirates in a trade that also brought center fielder Nyjer Morgan to Washington and sent reliever Joel Hanrahan and outfielder Lastings Milledge to Pittsburgh. Burnett, 28, is 9-16 with four saves and a 3.80 ERA in four major league seasons. His deal pays $1.4 million next season and $2.3 million in 2012. There is a $3.5 million option for 2013 with a $250,000 buyout; if the club exercises the option and he declines, there's no buyout. The contract also includes the possibility of earning up to $500,000 each season in performance bonuses based on games finished. If Burnett finishes 35 games, he gets $100,000; for 45, another $150,000; and for 55, another $250,000. … Washington announced that left-hander Aaron Thompson was claimed off outright waivers by the Pirates. Thompson came to Washington in the July 2009 trade-deadline deal that sent Nick Johnson to the Marlins. In 2010, he went 4-13 with a 5.80 ERA in 26 starts at Double-A Harrisburg, and 1-0 in one start at Triple-A Syracuse.
Rangers: A person familiar with the negotiations says left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes has agreed to a contract with AL champion Texas. The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the agreement had not yet been announced. Rhodes, 41, was 4-4 with a 2.29 ERA in 69 relief appearances for the Reds last season, when he became a first-time All-Star. Entering his 20th major league season, Rhodes also has played for the Orioles, Seattle, Oakland, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Florida.
No. 11 Forest Park, No. 12 Digital Harbor win in boys basketball
Sharod Hartgrove shot 8-for-11 on 3-pointers and scored a game-high 27 points to lift No. 11 Forest Park (6-1) over Poly, 62-57.
Other boys basketball: Ronald Epps scored 22 points to power No. 12 Digital Harbor (4-3) past Carver, 71-37. … David Surine made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift host Loyola over Dulaney, 54-51. Dan Vigus led the Dons (5-7) with 16points.
Girls basketball: Liz Brown scored 16 and Amber Singletary had 15 to power No. 2 Seton Keough past Delone Catholic (Pa.), 52-27. The Gators (6-4) led the Squirettes, 28-13, at the half. … Alexus Harrison had 19 points and 17 rebounds to lead No. 5 Digital Harbor past National Christian Academy, 42-35.
NBA: All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony has left the Denver Nuggets to be with his family after the death of his sister and is expected to return to the team after Christmas. The team said Anthony's sister, Michelle, died of a pre-existing medical condition Tuesday in Baltimore. She had four children. Anthony (Towson Catholic) missed the Nuggets' game in San Antonio. Denver's next game is Christmas Day at Oklahoma City. Nuggets coach George Karl says the situation "brings us down to Earth" and reminds his team that there are more important things than basketball.
Auto racing: The Baltimore Grand Prix, which will be held Sept. 2-4, has sold more than 20,000 tickets in 33 states and Puerto Rico during two initial sales periods that began Dec. 10 and Dec. 16. "We are a first-time event and weren't sure what the response would be," Jay Davidson, president of Baltimore Racing Development, said. "We had hoped that the tickets sales would be strong, but we had no idea that they would be this strong."
College soccer: Johns Hopkins senior defender Jennifer Paulucci, a biomedical engineering major with a 3.96 grade-point average, was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Women's College Scholar All-America college division first team. West Chester senior defender Cindi Nickles (Eastern Tech), a nursing major with a 3.86 GPA, made the second team. Hopkins junior midfielder Erica Suter (River Hill), an international studies major with a 3.45 GPA, made the third team.
Youth soccer: McDonogh midfielder Ashley Spivey of the Baltimore Bays is among 37 players named to the NSCAA/People to People Girls Youth All-America team.
—From Sun staff and news services