Free agent Figgins, Mariners near four-year, $36 million deal

Third baseman Chone Figgins and the Seattle Mariners have a preliminary agreement on a $36 million, four-year contract, a person familiar with the deal said Friday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Mariners had yet to announce the deal, which was first reported to be close by

The contract, subject to a physical, includes a vesting option for 2014 that could make the deal worth $45 million for five years.

Figgins, who had spent his entire eight-year major league career with the Angels, will replace Adrian Beltre, a two-time Gold Glove third baseman who became a free agent.

Figgins, 31, is coming off one of his best seasons, leading the American League with 101 walks and posting a career-high on-base percentage of .395. He batted .298 with five homers and 54 RBIs as Los Angeles won its third consecutive division title.

Also: Shortstop Marco Scutaro and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a contract that guarantees him $12.5 million for two years. Boston has a $6 million option for 2012.

Scutaro, 34, said he took less money to join the Red Sox, a big-market club with a chance to contend. He said another team offered more but did not identify it.

The Texas Rangers acquired infielder Joe Inglett on a waiver claim from the Toronto Blue Jays, bringing in a utility player after Omar Vizquel’s departure. Inglett played 40 games for the Las Vegas 51s last season, hitting .360.

Catcher Gregg Zaun and the Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to a $2.15 million, one-year contract.

Bishop Gorman’s Chris Sheff was selected the national high school baseball Coach of the Year by the Baseball Coaches Association. The award was presented at the association’s annual banquet in Tucson, Ariz.

Sheff led the Gaels to their fourth straight Class 4A championship last season, finishing 40-4. Baseball America and ranked the Gaels No. 1 in the country.


Struggling Flyers fire Stevens as coach; Laviolette takes over

The Philadelphia Flyers replaced coach John Stevens with Peter Laviolette after the team was shut out in consecutive games.

Laviolette led the Carolina Hurricanes to their only Stanley Cup title, in 2006. He was fired in December 2008 and was still under contract.

The Flyers were expected to contend in the Eastern Conference this season but are 13-11-1 for 27 points.

Also: Anaheim Ducks winger Teemu Selanne had surgery Thursday to repair a broken bone in his left hand and is expected to miss four to six weeks. The 39-year-old was injured Thursday in a loss to Dallas.


Yang shoots 7-under 65, leads by two in World Challenge

Y.E. Yang shot 7-under-par 65 for a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Yang, who was at 9-under 135, is chasing the $1.35 million winner’s check while trying to hold off the group of Padraig Harrington (68), Ian Poulter (69) and Kenny Perry (65), who all were two shots behind.

Zach Johnson (70), Lee Westwood (67) and Sean O’Hair (67) were in the group at 138, meaning seven players were separated by three shots entering the final two rounds.

Also: Retief Goosen took a one-stroke lead over Masters champion Angel Cabrera at the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City, South Africa, shooting 4-under 68 in the second round. Goosen is at 7-under 137.

Stuart Appleby has a two-stroke lead after two rounds of the wind-suspended Australian Open in Sydney. He is at 12-under 132.


With Pavlik on mend, Williams to meet Martinez in HBO bout

Paul Williams will meet junior middleweight titleholder Sergio Martinez tonight in Atlantic City.

Williams (37-1, 27 knockouts) weighed in at 157 pounds, and Martinez (44-1, 24 KOs) was at 159 for the middleweight fight. No title will be on the line.

Williams was supposed to challenge Kelly Pavlik for his titles in October, but the fight was delayed until December because of a lingering staph infection on the knuckle of the champion’s right hand. After a news conference to announce the new date, Pavlik backed out when he realized he wouldn’t be ready in time.

Williams promoter Dan Goossen and manager Al Haymon had to hustle to find a suitable replacement for Pavlik and keep their lucrative HBO TV date. Junior middleweight champ Sergei Dzindziruk and welterweights Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley were considered before Martinez eventually jumped at the opportunity.

Also: Defending champion Spain took a 2-0 lead over the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup final after David Ferrer rallied for a 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 8-6 victory over Radek Stepanek in Barcelona, Spain. In the first match, Rafael Nadal beat Tomas Berdych, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2.

Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco can clinch Spain’s fourth title today with a doubles win over Lukas Dlouhy and Jan Hajek in the best-of-5 format.

North Carolina and Stanford advanced to the final of the NCAA Women’s College Cup in College Station, Texas.

Casey Nogueira scored in the 83rd minute for North Carolina (22-3-1), which reached its 23rd championship game with a 1-0 win over Notre Dame. In the first semifinal, Christen Press scored four minutes into overtime as Stanford (25-0) defeated UCLA 2-1 to reach its first final.

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