National sports briefs: Burrell rings in year by joining runners-up
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó Pat Burrell went from one World Series team to the other.
The Tampa Bay Rays added a big bat to the middle of their lineup, agreeing Monday on a $16 million, two-year contract with Burrell.
The 32-year-old slugger spent the past nine seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, who defeated the Rays in the World Series a little more than two months ago.
“At the end of last year, obviously I got a chance to know the team pretty well,” said Burrell, who hit .250 with 33 homers, 33 doubles, 86 RBIs and 102 walks in a career-high 157 games in 2008.
“Coming into free agency, the thing that was most important to me was to go somewhere I thought had as good a chance or better to repeat and go back to the World Series, or at least get into the playoffs.”
A .257 career hitter with 251 homers and 827 RBIs, Burrell has averaged 31 homers, 99 RBIs and 103 walks over the past four seasons. He was the everyday left fielder in Philadelphia, but Tampa Bay plans to use him mostly at designated hitter.
* LOS ANGELES ó Andruw Jones and the Los Angeles Dodgers are close to parting ways.
The team has agreed to trade or release Jones in exchange for the center fielder deferring much of the $22 million remaining on his contract, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions.
In other news, right-hander Claudio Vargas and the Dodgers agreed to a one-year contract.
* CHICAGO ó The Chicago Cubs and free agent Milton Bradley reached a preliminary agreement on a $30 million, three-year contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
In Chicago, he’ll fill the Cubs’ need for a left-handed bat in the middle of the order and will be used mostly in right field. The Cubs will likely spell him with Kosuke Fukudome, who also will platoon with Reed Johnson in center. Fukudome was in right field last season.
* ST. LOUIS ó Still looking for a closer, the Cardinals might consider turning to oft-injured ace Chris Carpenter next season.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told The Associated Press that he’d think about using the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner in that role if it were the best way to keep him on the mound.
Royce Ring became the third left-hander in the Cardinals’ bullpen when he agreed to a one-year contract Monday.
* NEW YORK ó The New York Yankees scheduled a news conference for today to announce Mark Teixeira’s $180 million, eight-year contract has been finalized.
* MINNEAPOLIS ó Carl Pohlad, a billionaire banker whose Minnesota Twins won two World Series titles during nearly his nearly quarter-century as owner, died Monday. He was 93.
According to 2008 rankings by Forbes.com, Pohlad’s net worth of $3.6 billion was second among Minnesotans and 102nd in the nation. Still, his teams often had some of the lowest payrolls in baseball.
Pohlad threatened to sell the club to North Carolina investor Don Beaver in 1997, a deal later shown to be a maneuver to convince the state to sign off on new-stadium funding. After a decade-long pursuit, the Twins got the go-ahead from the state in 2006 for a $522 million stadium paid for mostly by a county sales tax. The team’s contribution was about $130 million, and Target Field is set to open in April 2010.
* ANAHEIM, Calif. ó Manager Mike Scioscia and the Los Angeles Angels have agreed in principle on a multiyear contract extension.
Scioscia’s current deal runs through 2009, with a club option for 2010, for about $2 million per season. General manager Tony Reagins said Monday the extension “goes well beyond” 2010.
* ARLINGTON, Texas ó Former All-Star pitcher Derrick Turnbow agreed to a minor league contract with the Rangers along with fellow right-handers Casey Daigle and Elizardo Ramirez.
* HOUSTON ó Outfielder Reggie Abercrombie and reliever Clay Hensley agreed to minor league contracts with the Astros.
NEW YORK ó Henrik Lundqvist became the fifth NHL goalie to start a career with four 20-win seasons, and the New York Rangers turned their struggling power play into a plus in a 4-0 victory over the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins.
* RALEIGH ó Carolina Hurricanes prospect Brett Bellemore will rejoin his junior team.
The defenseman has missed the majority of the season with the Albany River Rats, the Hurricanes’ American Hockey League affiliate. Bellemore has battled a back injury and will finish the season as an over-age player in the junior ranks.
The 21-year-old signed a three-year, entry-level deal with Carolina last May. He was a sixth-round pick of Carolina in the 2007 draft and played in six of Albany’s first seven games this year.
DOHA, Qatar ó Fourth-seeded Andy Roddick moved into the second round of the Qatar Open with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Ivan Navarro.
* BRISBANE, Australia ó Tuning up for the Australian Open and aiming for another big year, top-seeded Ana Ivanovic began her 2009 season with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Petra Kvitova at the Brisbane International.
* PERTH, Australia ó Dominik Hrbaty upset James Blake 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-1) to lead Slovakia to victory over the defending champion United States at the Hopman Cup.
Hrbaty gave Slovakia a winning 2-0 edge after teammate Dominika Cibulkova beat Meghann Shaughnessy 6-2, 6-2 in the opening women’s singles match.
Hrbaty and Cibulkova beat Shaughnessy and Blake 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) to complete a sweep.
NEW YORK ó Matt Millen will be offering his opinions on football during NBC’s Super Bowl pregame show.
The former Detroit Lions team president, architect of the NFL’s first 0-16 squad, will appear on the network again after serving as a studio analyst Saturday during its playoff coverage.
After winning four Super Bowl rings with three teams in his 11-year playing career, Millen went on to a successful stint in broadcasting.
MINNEAPOLIS ó Vikings great Carl Eller sued the Minneapolis Police Department on Monday, alleging officers violated his civil rights, used excessive force and concealed videotape evidence when they subdued him during an arrest last April.
The Hall of Fame player was arrested after he allegedly drove through a stop sign and narrowly missed hitting a squad car. Officers followed him home, where they say he became combative. He was charged with fourth-degree assault and making terroristic threats, which are felonies, and driving while impaired and refusing to take a chemical test for alcohol, which are gross misdemeanors.
Police dismisssed the lawsuit as baseless. The suit, filed in federal court, seeks damages of more than $75,000, plus punitive damages.