National sports briefs: Baseball owners agree to changes involving postseason
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. ó All postseason games will be played to their conclusion under a change to the major league rules approved Thursday by baseball owners.
Owners also voted to use head-to-head records to replace coin flips when determining home-field advantage for tiebreaker games in division and wild-card races.
– ATLANTA ó The Braves finalized their $60 million, four-year deal with 35-year-old pitcher Derek Lowe, who passed a physical. He will be introduced today.
“This has been a very slow-developing offseason,” general manager Frank Wren said. “I think the economy probably has a lot to do with that. I can understand people getting a little impatient. We were getting impatient.”
– ARLINGTON, Texas óMichael Young will accept the Texas Rangers’ decision to move him to third base, even though the five-time All-Star shortstop initially asked to be traded and still doesn’t agree with the plan.
Also, injury-plagued pitcher Brandon McCarthy agreed to a $650,000, one-year deal with the Rangers.n SAN DIEGO ó David Eckstein and the Padres have agreed to a one-year contract, and he is expected to play second base.
– ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó There’s a chance Rays center fielder B.J. Upton might not be ready to join the lineup on opening day.
Upton had surgery on his non-throwing shoulder following the World Series to repair a torn labrum. He could miss the first week of the season because the team plays its first two series in cold-weather cities Boston and Baltimore.
– CHICAGO ó Bartolo Colon, a former Cy Young Award winner, agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract with the White Sox.
The 35-year-old Colon, who pitched for Chicago in 2003, was limited to just seven starts with Boston last season because of back stiffness that landed him on the disabled list for three months. He wound up going 4-2 with a 3.92 ERA.
He could step in as perhaps the No. 4 starter.
– BOSTON ó The Red Sox and infielder Kevin Youkilis agreed to a four-year deal, a baseball official told The Associated Press.
Mark Kotsay and the Sox agreed to a one-year deal. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated pitcher David Aardsma for assignment. Also, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hopes to his injured wrist heals enough to let him play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.
– NEW YORK ó Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder and Jonathan Papelbon were among 111 players who filed for arbitration, an annual ritual that gives many of them large pay increases. Cole Hamels, Dan Uggla and Bobby Jenks also filed.
– CLEVELAND ó Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner will begin a hitting program next week, his first swings since undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.
– MILWAUKEE ó Dave Bush and the Brewers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $4 million, one-year contract.
– LOS ANGELES ó Andruw Jones, a bust with the Dodgers, was released.
Jones attended the Duke-Georgia Tech basketball game wearing a Braves cap Wednesday. There’s been speculation the Braves might be interested in bringing him back because they need an outfielder.
– WASHINGTON ó Convicted steroids dealer Kirk Radomski appeared at the federal court house in Washington, where a grand jury is being asked to determine whether Roger Clemens should be indicted on charges of lying to Congress.
– SAN FRANCISCO ó Barry Bonds is seeking to bar a former mistress from testifying at his March trial about alleged rages and physical changes caused by steroids.
In a court filing Thursday, Bonds also sought to block much of the government’s known evidence against him, including urine and blood samples that allegedly tested positive for steroids, as well as a “doping calendar” purportedly kept by Bonds’ former trainer.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. ó Vijay Singh had surgery on his right knee and is expected to miss the next three weeks.
NEWPORT, R.I. ó Monica Seles was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, honored for a career in which she won nine Grand Slam singles titles and returned to the tour after being stabbed while playing a match.
“It was just a lot of highs and a lot of lows,” Seles said. “One of the things that always kept me going was my love of the game.”
Also elected were Andres Gimeno, Donald Dell and the late Robert Johnson, who pioneered the integration of tennis. The induction is July 11.
* SYDNEY, Australia ó Top-seeded Serena Williams lost 6-3, 6-1 amid a flurry of errors against Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva in the Sydney International semifinals. Dementieva will face Dinara Safina for the Sydney title.
Wake Forest midfielder Sam Cronin went to Toronto FC with the second pick in the MLS SuperDraft. He had 10 goals and four assists his senior season.
Wake midfielder Michael Lahoud was taken by Chivas USA with the ninth pick.
Blazers guard Steve Blake will be sidelined for seven to 10 days with a separated right shoulder.
DENVER ó J.R. Smith won’t be suspended for throwing an elbow that angered Dallas owner Mark Cuban, who might still face punishment for going onto the court to voice his displeasure with Smith.