Rangers beat deadline, will sign
Japan’s Darvish for $60 million
Japanese star pitcher Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers agreed before Wednesday’s deadline to a $60 million, six-year contract. Along with the salary, the Rangers will pay a posting fee of about $51.7 million to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League.
The deal came at the end of a 30-day negotiating window that began Dec. 19, when the Rangers’ bid to negotiate with the pitcher was accepted. Had a deal not been reached, Darvish would have remained with the Fighters and Texas would have kept the posting fee.
Darvish, 25, had a 93-38 record with a 1.99 ERA in the past seven seasons in Japan. The 6-foot-5-inch right-hander was a two-time Pacific League Most Valuable Player and a five-time All-Star. He led the league in strikeouts three times, in ERA twice and won two Gold Gloves.
The deal surpasses what Daisuke Matsuzaka got when he left Japan and signed with the Boston Red Sox about five years ago. Matsuzaka got a $52 million, six-year deal, and the Red Sox also had to pay a $51.111 million posting fee that was the highest for a Japanese player before what the Rangers bid for Darvish.
Also: Relief pitcher Joel Zumaya, 27, and the Minnesota Twins finalized their $850,000, one-year contract. The deal includes $900,000 in performance bonuses for the oft-injured right-hander, who missed last season because of an elbow injury.
Outfielder Jack Cust, 33, agreed to a $600,000, one-year contract with the Houston Astros after getting released by the Seattle Mariners and Philadelphia Phillies last year.
Marty Springstead, who at age 36 in 1973 became the youngest umpire crew chief in World Series history, was found dead at his Florida home Tuesday night. He was 74. Springstead was an American League umpire from 1966 to 1985 and worked three World Series.
Smith hits milestone, sparks
Lady Rebels to first win at TCU
Jamie Smith scored 16 points and reached another milestone in UNLV’s 72-57 victory over Texas Christian in a Mountain West Conference women’s basketball game at Fort Worth, Texas.
Smith, a senior forward, needed five points to become the second player in Mountain West history to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in her career. Earlier this season, she became the conference’s all-time leading rebounder.
The Lady Rebels (13-5, 1-1 MWC) closed the first half on a 21-7 run and led 38-21 at halftime. They led by 25 in the second half before TCU cut the deficit to 56-48 with 7:28 to play. UNLV then scored 16 of the final 25 points to win for the first time ever at TCU.
Forward Lenita Sanford (15 points), guard Kelli Thompson (12) and center Sandrine Nzeukou (10) joined Smith in double figures.
The Rebels hit 9 of 18 3-point attempts and outrebounded the Frogs 44-30. Markiell Styles finished with nine rebounds, and Smith, Sanford and Nzeukou had seven apiece. Thompson had eight of the Lady Rebels’ 20 assists.
TCU, the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West, fell to 8-10 and 1-2.
Also: Utah Utes point guard Josh “Jiggy” Watkins was dismissed from the team for an undisclosed team rules violation. He was the only senior on Utah’s roster and was leading the team with 15.6 points and 4.8 assists per game.
California Bears forward Richard Solomon was ruled academically ineligible for the remainder of the season, a major setback to a team expected to be a Pac-12 contender. He started eight of 13 games this season, averaging 6.0 points and 6.2 rebounds, and anchoring the middle on defense.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who became one of the franchise’s most popular players in 12 seasons with the team, was named a special assistant to general manager Chris Grant. Ilgauskas’ job responsibilities will include evaluating amateur and pro talent.
Beckham to stay in U.S., signs
two-year contract with Galaxy
Resisting the lure of Paris for the sake of his family, David Beckham pledged his future to America’s Major League Soccer by signing a new two-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The 36-year-old midfielder had been courted by leading clubs across Europe in the months before his initial five-year Galaxy deal ran out in December, with Paris Saint-Germain’s wealthy Qatari owners offering the most lucrative deal.
But Beckham turned down about $12 million a year with the glamorous French capital club for a less lucrative base salary with the Galaxy, who were previously paying him at least $6.5 million a year.
Also: Lamont Peterson’s camp submitted an appeal to the WBA asking it to overturn a decision ordering a rematch against Amir Khan, the British boxer who lost his WBA and IBF belts in a hotly disputed bout Dec. 10 in Washington, D.C.
Khan’s camp withdrew an appeal Tuesday to the IBF over the split decision loss, saying it feared he wouldn’t receive a fair hearing.