Friday Sports in Brief
NEW YORK (AP) — Outfielder Mookie Betts agreed Friday to a $27 million contract with the Boston Red Sox, the largest one-year salary for an arbitration-eligible player, while Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant got an $18.6 million, one-year deal.
Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer struck a $17.5 million agreement after winning hearings against Cleveland the previous two winters, and Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor also agreed to $17.5 million.
NL MVP Cody Bellinger agreed at $11.5 million, the largest amount for a player eligible for arbitration for the first time. New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, also eligible for the first time, received an $8.5 million deal.
Among 155 players eligible for arbitration at the start of the day, just 20 remained headed for hearings next month after exchanging proposed arbitration salaries with teams.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rob Pelinka was given the title of vice president of basketball operations by the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, almost three years after the former agent was hired as general manager.
The Lakers made the announcement before the team’s game in Dallas.
Pelinka joined the Lakers in March 2017 and has overseen the free agent signing of LeBron James and the blockbuster trade this past offseason that brought in Anthony Davis.
The 50-year-old Pelinka took on a more significant role with Magic Johnson’s surprising resignation as president basketball operations on the final day of the regular season last spring.
Pelinka had been an agent for almost 20 years when the Lakers hired him in the middle of a franchise-worst six-year run of missing the playoffs. With the best record in the Western Conference, LA is all but assured of ending that skid.
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Hall of Famer Tara VanDerveer became the first women’s basketball coach with 500 regular-season wins in a single conference, and her No. 5 Stanford team beat California 73-40 on Friday night in the first of two weekend meetings between the Bay Area rivals.
Freshmen Haley Jones and Ashten Prechtel scored 17 and 13 points, respectively, as the Cardinal (14-1, 3-0 Pac-12) took control from the opening tipoff to win their fourth straight game since the team’s lone defeat at Texas on Dec. 22.
It marked the debut matchup for first-year Cal coach Charmin Smith facing her former coach in VanDerveer, who improved to 500-78 in regualr-season conference play in the Pac-12 that was formerly the Pac-10. Geno Auriemma of Connecticut has his victories split between the AAC and Big East, while the late Pat Summitt of Tennessee earned 458 victories in the SEC.
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The former women’s basketball coach at the University of North Carolina has been charged in connection with an accident that killed an elderly pedestrian, police said Friday.
Durham police said in a news release that Sylvia Hatchell, 67, was cited for misdemeanor death by vehicle and unsafe movement violation.
Betty Colby, 89, was struck by a vehicle about noon Monday in the parking lot of a fitness center, police said. The impact knocked Colby backward, and she hit her head on the pavement, investigators said.
Colby died Wednesday, according to the news release.
Investigators also said that neither speed nor impairment were factors in the accident.
Hatchell resigned as women’s basketball coach last April after an external review found she had made “racially insensitive” comments and applied “undue influence” regarding players’ ability to compete through medical issues.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — A Manchester City fan was banned on Friday from attending soccer matches for five years after pleading guilty to using racist language toward one of his team’s players, Raheem Sterling.
Ian Baldry, 58, was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service within the next 12 months by a court in Manchester.
Baldry made a racist comment toward Sterling after the England international, who is black, scored in an English Premier League match against Bournemouth on Dec. 1, 2018.
Sterling did not hear the comment but other fans sitting nearby did, and reported it to match stewards.
CHICAGO (AP) — Former U.S. forward Brian McBride has been hired to succeed Earnie Stewart as general manager of the American men’s national soccer team.
Now 47, McBride had 30 goals in 95 appearances for the U.S. from 1993-2006. He played for Wolfsburg, Columbus, Preston North End, Everton, Fulham and Chicago. He was so popular in London that Fulham named a bar at Craven Cottage after him.
Stewart, also a former national team player, was hired as the GM of the men’s team in June 2018, then promoted last August to sporting director of the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Kate Markgraf is GM of the U.S. women’s team.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The political neutrality of the Olympics would be undercut if an athlete took a knee in protest on the medal podium at this year’s Tokyo Games, IOC President Thomas Bach said Friday.
One day after the International Olympic Committee published guidelines specifying which type of protests are prohibited in venues and medal ceremonies, Bach added his support.
“They (the Olympics) are not and must never be a platform to advance political or any other divisive ends,” Bach said to an audience that included the heads of international sports federations. “Our political neutrality is undermined whenever organizations or individuals attempt to use the Olympic Games as a stage for their own agendas, as legitimate as they may be.”
Bach robustly defended two long-standing Olympic Charter rules in a 25-minute speech. Rule 50 prohibits any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda” in Olympic areas. Rule 40 restricts an athlete’s ability to promote his or her own sponsors at a time when many of them receive a huge amount of attention.
OAKAND, Calif. (AP) — Former major league pitcher Ed Sprague Sr., a right-hander who played eight seasons with four different teams, has died. He was 74.
The Oakland Athletics announced Friday that Sprague had died but didn’t provide further details. He spent his first two seasons with Oakland and Sprague’s son, Ed Sprague Jr., is the A’s director of player development. His granddaughter, Payton, also works for the organization as partnership marketing manager.
Sprague posted a 17-23 career record with a 3.84 ERA and nine saves over 198 appearances — 23 career starts — with the A’s, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Milwaukee.
His best season came in 1974 with the Brewers. Sprague was 7-2 with a 2.39 ERA and three complete games over a career-high 94.0 innings.
NEW YORK (AP) — George Nicolau, who ruled against baseball owners in two collusion cases and served as president of the National Academy of Arbitrators, has died. He was 94.
Nicolau died Jan. 2 at Lenox Hill Hospital, Gene Orza, the former chief operating officer of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said Friday.
Nicolau took over as the independent chairman of Major League Baseball’s arbitration panel in 1986 after owners fired Thomas Roberts, who ruled teams acted in concert against free agents after the 1985 season. Nicolau decided teams acted in concert against free agents after the 1986 and 1987 seasons. The cases were settled in 1990 when management agreed with the players’ union to pay those players affected $280 million.
In another notable decision, Nicolau decided in 1987 to cut short a season-long suspension of free agent pitcher LaMarr Hoyt to 60 days. Hoyt had been penalized for his involvement in three illegal drug incidents during 1986.
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