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National Sports Briefs: Dickey to Blue Jays

NEW YORK — Eager for a new challenge and certainly a better chance to win, R.A. Dickey broke the news of his trade even before the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets.

A few minutes ahead of the teams announcing the seven-player swap Monday that sent the NL Cy Young winner to Toronto, he tweeted his thanks to Mets fans and added he was all set to pitch for the Blue Jays.

“Now that its official, I want to say that I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am to you for the steadfast support,” Dickey posted on Twitter. “Thank you for making me feel wanted.”

“Looking forward to a new chapter with the Jays,” he wrote.

Toronto acquired the 38-year-old knuckleballer and catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. The Mets got top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud and catcher John Buck, plus minor league right-hander Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Wuilmer Becerra.

Earlier in the day, Dickey and the busy Blue Jays agreed to a new contract, clearing the way for the Mets to send him to a team that’s spending a lot of money trying to join baseball’s elite. Toronto has now acquired All-Stars Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Melky Cabrera and Dickey since the season ended.

Dickey was already signed for $5.25 million next year. His new contract adds two more seasons for $25 million.

• PHILADELPHIA— The bridge to Jonathan Papelbon could be a little smoother for the Philadelphia Phillies next year.

The Phillies added a setup man and starter, agreeing to a $12 million, two-year contract with reliever Mike Adams and a one-year deal with lefty John Lannan.

• CLEVELAND— Free agent Nick Swisher is visiting the Cleveland Indians, who have a hole to fill in right field.

• CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds and free-agent infielder Jack Hannahan finalized a $4 million, two-year contract on Thursday, giving the team added depth at third base.

• PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — An attorney for Matt Bush, a former pitcher in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, says the baseball player is expected to agree to a plea deal in a DUI crash that injured a motorcyclist.

• SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court will hear Barry Bonds’ appeal of his obstruction of justice conviction early next year.

The career home run leader was convicted in April 2011 of one felony obstruction count for giving an evasive, rambling reply during a 2003 grand jury appearance when asked whether he received drugs that required a syringe.

NBA
INDIANAPOLIS — Just hours after the Indiana Pacers recalled rookie center Miles Plumlee from the NBA’s Developmental League, they sent him right back to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

It’s the third time he’s been sent to Fort Wayne this season. Plumlee is expected to play Tuesday night against Canton. The team did not give a reason for the change.

Indiana selected Plumlee with the 26th pick overall in June’s draft. The Indiana native is considered a raw offensive talent.

But despite the Pacers’ early-season struggles, the 6-foot-10 rookie has seen little action. He has played a total of 16 minutes in four games, has four points and five rebounds, and has bounced between the Pacers and Fort Wayne.

Saturday’s win in Detroit put Indiana at 13-11, one game behind division-leading Chicago.

• NEW YORK— Jeff Van Gundy will see both Los Angeles teams on Christmas, and for now he likes the Clippers much better.

Van Gundy also ranks New York ahead of Miami at this point, with everyone looking up at Oklahoma City as the NBA heads toward its marquee holiday schedule.

ESPN will show five games that day on its networks, and Van Gundy will call two of them with partner Mike Breen from Staples Center. The Lakers host the New York Knicks in ABC’s first broadcast of the season, and the Clippers will face Denver in the nightcap on ESPN.

• WASHINGTON— Washington Wizards point guard John Wall figures there is no way he will miss the entire season.

Still, he said there’s only “a 50-50 chance” his injured left knee will respond well when swelling subsides, which he hopes will happen later this week.

COLLEGE HOOPS
INDIANAPOLIS — Butler guard Alex Barlow expected Monday morning’s practice to be routine.

On the court, it was. Off the court, it was nowhere close.

Three players, including Barlow, were doing phone interviews. A couple of others were being pulled aside to talk to the reporters. Coach Brad Stevens sat patiently in the stands answering questions, all of this indicating that America’s NCAA tournament darlings were back on the map.

“To me, it’s kind of weird watching yourself on TV,” said Barlow, the 5-foot-11 walk-on who hit the winning shot in Saturday’s 88-86 overtime win over No. 1 Indiana. “It’s kind of crazy to hear how people have misspoken some of our names or call me a former college baseball player.”

NHL LABOR
NEW YORK — The NHL’s lawsuit against its players was assigned to a relatively new federal judge who is a longtime New York Yankees fan and a former federal prosecutor.

The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, who joined the bench in July 2011.

VONN UPDATE
ALTA BADIA, Italy — Lindsey Vonn is heading back to the United States for an unexpected break in the middle of the World Cup ski season and is unlikely to return to Europe until January.

After a weekend of disappointing results at a World Cup meet in France, the four-time overall champion said in a statement on her Facebook page Monday that she needs to get her full strength back before returning to the slopes after New Year’s.

Vonn stayed two nights in a hospital in Vail, Colo., in November after suffering from severe intestinal pain.

GOLF CHANNEL
ORLANDO, Fla.— The Golf Channel will televise the NCAA Division I golf championships starting in 2014.

The network and NCAA made the joint announcement Monday.

The Golf Channel will broadcast three days of the 2014 men’s championship from Prairie Dunes Club in Hutchinson, Kan.

It then will carry the men’s and women’s championships the following year when South Florida plays host to both at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. It marks the first time since 1997 that the women’s title will be televised live.

TENNIS
LONDON— The ATP opposes the U.S. Open’s switch to a Monday final in 2013 and is not satisfied with the prize money increase for the tournament.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced last Friday that the women’s final would be moved to Sunday and the men’s championship match to Monday next year.

While the move builds in a rest day ahead of each final for the first time, the ATP said Monday it was against the change and would continue to fight it.

“The ATP and its players have made it clear to the U.S. Open that we do not support a Monday final,” the governing body for men’s tennis said in a statement.

“We strongly believe the U.S. Open should keep a similar schedule to the other Grand Slams, with the men’s semifinals completed by Friday and the final

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