Happ Returning to Yanks Mound
Left-hander J.A. Happ and the New York Yankees have finalized a $34 million, two-year contract.
Happ gets $17 million in each of the next two seasons, and his deal includes a $17 million option for 2021 that could become guaranteed is he has either 27 or more starts as a pitcher in 2020 or 165 or more innings that year. A first-time All-Star, Happ was acquired from Toronto on July 26 as a summer rental and went 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts for New York, leaving him 17-6 with a 3.65 ERA for the season.
Plunking an opponent paid off for CC Sabathia. The New York Yankees gave Sabathia a $500,000 performance bonus, even though the 38-year-old left-hander was ejected from his final regular-season start six outs shy of the 155 innings specified in his contract for the payment. Sabathia hit Tampa Bay’s Jesus Sucre on Sept. 27 with his 55th pitch of the night, retaliation for Andrew Kittredge throwing a pitch behind Austin Romine. ... A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press the Houston Astros have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent outfielder Michael Brantley. The 31-year-old Brantley has spent his entire 10-year career with the Cleveland Indians, where he was a three-time All-Star. Brantley is a career .295 hitter and gives Houston an upgrade to an outfield anchored by center fielder George Springer.
Hakstol fired by Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers have fired coach Dave Hakstol, with the team having lost 11 of its last 14 games.
General manager Chuck Fletcher announced the move less than two weeks since taking over for the fired Ron Hextall. Minor league coach Scott Gordon took over as the interim replacement.
Philadelphia went 134-101-42 under Hakstol, who coached the third-most games in franchise history behind Fred Shero and Mike Keenan.
Love to skip bowl games
Stanford running back Bryce Love will skip the Sun Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft.
Love announced his decision to sit out the bowl game for the Cardinal (8-4) on Dec. 31 against Pittsburgh (7-6). Love says he wants to be completely healthy for the 2019 draft. Love had a rough senior season after deciding to bypass the 2018 draft after finishing as Heisman Trophy runner-up.
Alabama coach Nick Saban says quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is “probably ahead of schedule” in recovering from ankle surgery. The Heisman Trophy runner-up has been practicing for the top-ranked Crimson Tide, which began preparations Friday for an Orange Bowl semifinal matchup with Oklahoma.
WTA approves rule changes
The women’s tennis tour approved rule changes that are meant to ensure players are not penalized after they return from pregnancy or an injury that causes a long absence.
The changes were prompted, in part, by the experiences of former No. 1 players Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, both of whom returned to competition after giving birth. The WTA announced that players returning to the tour may use a special ranking for up to three years after the birth of a child, and the exemption can be used for seedings at big events.
Marcel Hirscher extended his dominance in Alta Badia by winning a parallel giant slalom night race and tied fellow Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell for third on the World Cup’s all-time wins list. Hirscher beat unheralded Thibaut Favrot of France in the final by 0.14 seconds.
... Miami’s Frank Gore, the NFL’s leading active rusher, is expected to miss the rest of the year with a sprained foot. Gore was hurt during Sunday’s 41-17 loss at Minnesota. He has played in 126 consecutive games and made 122 starts in a row, and both streaks are the longest by an NFL offensive skill player.