National sports briefs: Markakis agrees to $66 million deal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Associated Press
NEW YORK ó Nick Markakis reached a preliminary agreement on a $66 million, six-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles and Ryan Madson struck a $12 million, three-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies as players and teams rushed Monday to settle salary arbitration cases.
Markakis hit .306 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs for the Orioles last season, his third in the majors. He led AL outfielders with 17 assists.
Four prominent closers agreed to one-year deals: Bobby Jenks of the Chicago White Sox ($5.6 million), Huston Street of Colorado ($4.5 million), Kevin Gregg of the Chicago Cubs ($4.2 million) and Mike Gonzalez of Atlanta ($3.45 million). Colorado didn’t immediately announce its deals with Street and left-hander Jorge de la Rosa ($2 million).
Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez agreed to a $3.8 million, one-year contract. He made $540,000 last year.
St. Louis announced deals with right-hander Todd Wellemeyer ($4.05 million) and outfielder Chris Duncan ($825,000), and the New York Mets reached agreements with reliever Duaner Sanchez ($1,687,500) and outfielder Jeremy Reed ($925,000).
The Los Angeles Angels agreed with catcher Mike Napoli ($2 million), Kansas City with left-hander Jimmy Gobble ($1.35 million), Toronto with right-hander Brandon League ($640,000), Houston with catcher Humberto Quintero ($610,000) and the Los Angeles Dodgers with outfielder Jason Repko ($500,000).
Florida reached agreements with infielder Jorge Cantu ($3.5 million) and outfielder Jeremy Hermida ($2.25 million).
– ST. LOUIS ó Albert Pujols says October surgery on his problematic right elbow was successful.
“I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said Monday. “With my elbow, obviously, there’s some scar tissue there. I didn’t do anything for two months as I was rehabbing. I don’t feel any pain around my elbow. Everything is looking good.”
– CINCINNATI ó The Reds and outfielder Jonny Gomes agreed to a minor league deal.
HOCKEY
TORONTO ó Cam Ward made 35 saves and Carolina snapped a five-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the Maple Leafs, giving coach Paul Maurice a victory in his return to Toronto.
Joe Corvo and Chad LaRose scored to back Ward’s second shutout of the season.
– NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Playing his first game in more than eight months, Brendan Shanahan broke a scoreless tie in the second period and New Jersey beat Nashville 3-1.
Shanahan, who spent the past two seasons with the Rangers, signed an $800,000, one-year contract with New Jersey last Wednesday.
– TAMPA, Fla. ó Vincent Lecavalier scored twice and Tampa Bay rallied for three goals in the third period to beat Dallas 4-2, the Lightning’s first home win over the Stars in nearly 13 years.
– BOSTON ó David Backes scored the tying goal with eighth-tenths of a second left in regulation for St. Louis, which got shootout goals from T.J. Oshie and Brad Boyes in a 5-4 win against Boston.
Down 4-2, the Blues rallied on David Perron’s power-play goal with 1:20 left. Backes then batted the puck out of the air for an empty-net score as the siren sounded.
– UNIONDALE, N.Y. ó Alex Ovechkin scored two goals, the second coming 1:46 into overtime, to lift Washington to a 2-1 win and send the New York Islanders to their eighth straight loss.
– SUNRISE, Fla. ó Ales Kotalik and Derek Roy scored in a shootout to give Buffalo a 3-2 victory over Florida.n CHICAGO ó Niklas Backstrom made 40 saves, and defenseman Marek Zidlicky had two power-play goals and an assist to lead Minnesota past Chicago 4-1.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
COLUMBIA, S.C.ó South Carolina hired one of Tennessee’s best runners to lead the Gamecocks running backs.
Former Vols star Jay Graham, a Concord High alum, has been hired as an assistant coach. He spent this past season as a running backs coach at Miami of Ohio.
– LOS ANGELES ó Denver Broncos assistant coach Jeremy Bates was named Southern Cal’s assistant head coach of the offense and quarterbacks coach.
He replaces Carl Smith, who was originally named to the position on Jan. 6 but is expected to be hired by an NFL team.
– TULSA, Okla. ó Former Clemson assistant Ron West has joined Tulsa’s staff as a defensive coordinator.
– AMHERST, Mass. ó Massachusetts has promoted offensive coordinator Kevin Morris to head coach. He replaces Don Brown, who resigned to become Maryland’s defensive coordinator.n MIDLAND, Texas ó Police have arrested three people and are searching for a fourth in their investigation of the shooting death of Sul Ross State running back Jermaine Swearington at a nightclub.
GOLF
Nearly 50 years after Charlie Sifford became the first black to join the PGA Tour, the Northern Trust Open announced an exemption in his name for a player representing advancement of diversity.
The annual “Charlie Sifford Exemption” will be recognized Feb. 18, the day before the tournament begins at Riviera.
“It’s something that should have been done a long time ago,” Sifford said in a telephone interview. “This is a wonderful thing. It will give someone a chance.”
While the PGA Tour features players from 19 countries, Tiger Woods is the only member with African-American heritage.
TENNIS
MELBOURNE, Australia ó Andy Murray’s first win at Rod Laver Arena lasted only 45 minutes. Lucky him.
With the temperature touching 104 degrees, Serena Williams wanted her first-round match at the Australian Open to be over just as quickly. She won 6-3, 6-2 win over Yuan Meng in 75 minutes.
“Ooh! It’s a little hot out here,” Williams said.
Murray needed 12 games to advance ó Andrei Pavel retired with a back problem while down 6-2, 3-1 and 15-0.
Elena Dementieva beat Kristina Barrois 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 6-1, and No. 13 Victoria Azarenka also advanced. No. 9 Agnieszka Radwanska went down to Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 6-1.
On the men’s side, Denis Istomin beat American Vince Spadea in straight sets.
Roger Federer began his quest for a 14th major to equal Pete Sampras’ record with a 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 victory over 35th-ranked Andreas Seppi.

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