Diamondbacks reach new deal with Snyder

Looking to lock up another regular, the Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a three-year contract with catcher Chris Snyder.

The deal is worth a reported $14.5 million and runs through 2011 with a club option for the 2012 season. It follows Arizona’s multiyear contracts with players such as center fielder Chris Young and pitcher Dan Haren, infielder Chad Tracy and outfielder Eric Byrnes.

Snyder batted .202 in 2005, his first full season in the big leagues. He hit .277 in 2006, but his average has dipped to .252 and then to .237 a year ago.

His home runs and RBIs have increased over that span, and his on-base percentage has been steady, in the .340 to .350 range.

Also: Right-handed reliever Joe Nelson signed a $1.3 million, one-year contract with the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays.

Nelson, who agreed to terms last week, was 3-1 with one save in 59 appearances for the Florida Marlins last season. His 2.00 ERA was third-best among National League relievers, behind Hong-Chih Kuo’s 1.69 and Brad Lidge’s 1.95.


WBA reviewing tape of Valuev-Holyfield fight

The WBA is reviewing Nikolai Valuev’s win over Evander Holyfield by majority decision in a Dec. 20 heavyweight title bout in Switzerland.

The organization said in a statement on its Web site dated Monday that it has ordered a panel of judges to study the video of the fight. The WBA says it “always cares about and respects the fans’ and the media’s opinion.”

One judged scored the bout a draw, and the others had Valuev winning 116-112 and 115-114. Holyfield, 46, was attempting to become the oldest heavyweight to win a major belt.


Sharapova might not play in Australian Open

Defending Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from a Hong Kong exhibition tennis tournament because she is still recovering from a shoulder injury, just weeks ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year.

The three-time Grand Slam winner started playing again just over two weeks ago and isn’t in proper condition, organizers of the Jan. 7 to 10 Hong Kong event said in a statement on their Web site.

“I remain hopeful for Australia, where I’m the defending champion,” Sharapova said in a statement.

The Australian Open begins Jan. 19.

Sharapova has not played competitively since pulling out of the Rogers Cup at Montreal in late July.

Also: Wranglers defenseman Jeff May and center Jeff Taylor were named to the National Conference squad for the ECHL All-Star Game.

The game will be played Jan. 21 in Reading, Pa.

May, a rookie who was just loaned to the American Hockey League’s Providence Bruins, has four goals and six assists in 23 games with Las Vegas. Taylor has eight goals and seven assists in 16 games for the Wranglers.

The team also announced that left wing Tim Spencer has been loaned to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

The Vancouver Canucks, still missing top goalie Roberto Luongo, added some netminder insurance by acquiring Jason LaBarbera from the Los Angeles Kings for a seventh-round pick in the 2009 draft.

LaBarbera, 28, went 5-8-4 with a 2.83 goals-against average, an .893 save percentage and two shutouts in 18 games with the Kings this season. He became expendable for Los Angeles because of the improved play by Jonathan Quick, who recorded two shutouts last week.

Former Centennial High School star Italee Lucas went 4-for-5 on 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 18 points to lead No. 2 North Carolina (14-0) past Austin Peay 93-61 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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