IN BRIEF

BASEBALL

Pitcher Vazquez headed back to Yanks after deal with Braves

Pitcher Javy Vazquez was traded back to the Yankees by the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday for outfielder Melky Cabrera, a move that pushed New York’s payroll for next season over $200 million.

New York also got left-hander Boone Logan as part of the deal, and the Braves obtained two pitching prospects, left-hander Mike Dunn and right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, along with about $500,000.

The trade leaves New York with an opening in left field, allowing the Yankees to perhaps pursue Mark DeRosa. New York does not appear interested in re-signing Johnny Damon or going after free agents Matt Holliday and Jason Bay.

Vazquez, 33, was 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts last season for the Braves and finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award voting. He will make $11.5 million next year and can become a free agent after the season.

In 2004, his only season with the Yankees, Vazquez was 14-10 and made his only All-Star team. But his stint with the team ended miserably, when he relieved Kevin Brown trailing 2-0 against Boston in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series and allowed a first-pitch grand slam to Damon, then gave up a two-run homer to Damon in the fourth inning.

Also: Major League Baseball and its umpires have completed negotiations for a new labor contract and are likely to announce an agreement today.

Management has been seeking to gain increased flexibility on postseason assignments as part of the agreement, which could allow umpires to work the World Series in consecutive seasons. Following a series of missed calls during the playoffs, MLB went with an all veteran crew of six umpires in this year’s World Series.

The Baltimore Orioles finalized a $4.5 million, one-year contract with third baseman Garrett Atkins. The 30-year-old had spent his entire seven-year major league career with the Colorado Rockies.

The Toronto Blue Jays are close to acquiring former No. 1 draft choice Brandon Morrow from the Seattle Mariners for fellow reliever Brandon League and a prospect. Morrow has shown flashes of brilliance with the Mariners, but he has been slowed as Seattle has converted him from a starter to a reliever and back.

MISCELLANEOUS

NBA’s Thunder trade with Jazz for rookie point guard Maynor

The Oklahoma City Thunder acquired backup rookie point guard Eric Maynor from the Utah Jazz. Maynor averaged 5.2 points and 3.1 assists in 26 games with the Jazz.

Oklahoma City also agreed to take on the $6.5 million contract of injured veteran Matt Harpring, who won’t join the team. He is expected to retire.

Also: Real Madrid signed NBA player Marko Jaric for the remainder of the Spanish league season. The veteran guard has not played for the Memphis Grizzlies this season.

Karen Cunagin Sypher pleaded not guilty to new charges, including retaliating against a witness, related to an alleged extortion attempt of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino.

The new charges stem from a police report Sypher filed accusing Pitino of raping her. The FBI, Louisville, Ky., police and prosecutors have said there was no basis for her rape allegations.

Bode Miller will skip Tuesday’s downhill in Bormio, Italy, and head back to the United States to let his sprained ankle heal and concentrate on his fitness. Miller injured his ankle during a team volleyball game in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 12 and is still getting into shape after cutting last season short and skipping summer training while he considered retirement.

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