Dodgers strengthen bullpen, also keep Uribe
The Los Angeles Dodgers bolstered their bullpen Tuesday, announcing deals with J.P. Howell, Chris Perez and Jamey Wright. They also brought back third baseman Juan Uribe.
Howell returns to Los Angeles for a two-year contract that includes a third-year vesting option. He held opponents to a .193 batting average last season and had a 2.03 ERA, both career bests.
Howell, who went 4-1 in 67 appearances in his first year with the team, was especially tough on lefthanded hitters, holding them to a .164 batting average.
General manager Ned Colletti said Howell’s demeanor and competitiveness were “real positives” in the clubhouse.
Coming off his best season with Los Angeles, Uribe received a two-year deal. He batted .278 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs in 132 games. He also had a big postseason homer that helped the Dodgers clinch their NL division series against Atlanta.
Perez, a five-time All-Star, signed a one-year deal two months after he was released by Cleveland. Colletti said Perez expressed interest in joining the Dodgers and pitching in any role asked of him.
Perez’s addition doesn’t change the Dodgers’ plans to have Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson serve as the primary closers. Colletti said he couldn’t pass up the chance to add another reliever who has had success late in games.
Wright, who turns 39 today, was mostly a starter for the first 10 seasons of his 18-year major league career. He’s made 22 relief appearances of at least two innings during the last three seasons. He is 9-4 with a 2.50 ERA in 42 games at Dodger Stadium.
Child on the way for Federer • Already in the swing of parenting, Roger Federer is getting ready for a larger family.
The tennis star says on Twitter that he and his wife, Mirka, are expecting another child next year.
Twins Charlene and Myla were born in July 2009, and Federer wrote Wednesday, “Mirka and I are very happy to share the news” that the couple’s daughters “will be big sisters in 2014!”
Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick, confirmed to The Associated Press the tweet is legitimate.
Russian official not worried about Obama • A top Russian political and sports official said that President Barack Obama ‘s decision not to attend the 2014 Sochi Olympics will have no real effect on the competition.
“Obama can’t come? Well, he hasn’t been to a single Games during his time in the presidency,” Alexander Zhukov was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news service. “It doesn’t reflect on the quality of the Games in any way.”
In addition to Obama, the presidents of France and Germany are also expected to skip the Olympics.
Their absences add further emphasis to widespread criticism of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law.
Coach is battling leukemia • Sylvia Hatchell is fighting to get back to her North Carolina women’s basketball program as quickly as possible.
The recently inducted Naismith Hall of Fame coach has been away from sideline duties since October while receiving treatment for leukemia. She spent a month in the hospital for the first round of chemotherapy with more ahead as she holds out hope of getting back by conference tournament time.
“You don’t realize, especially after all this time, how much something means to you until you don’t have it,” Hatchell said.
Hatchell, 61, said she feels great and even attended Saturday’s win against High Point, the first time she watched her No. 10 Tar Heels play in person this year. She returns to the hospital Friday for her next five-day round of chemotherapy.