The Washington Nationals beat Monday's deadline by coming to an agreement with pitcher Stephen Strasburg, the top pick in this year's MLB draft.
While terms were not disclosed, multiple reports have it as a four-year deal worth more than $15 million -- much more than the previous record of $10.5 million that pitcher Mark Prior received from the Cubs in 2001.
Strasburg was the top pick in this year's MLB draft after a lot of hype, as his fastball has been clocked at 102 MPH. The 20-year-old went 13-1 with a 1.32 earned run average in 15 starts this year for San Diego State en route to being named the Golden Spikes Award winner as the nation's top collegiate player. In 109 innings, he struck out 195 batters and walked only 19.
The team had until Monday night at midnight (et) to sign Strasburg.
The Boston Red Sox released John Smoltz on Monday, formally ending his stint with the club. A Boston newspaper reported the Red Sox were forced to release Smoltz after failing to trade the veteran pitcher. Smoltz was designated for assignment on August 7, less than 24 hours after he was shelled in a start against the New York Yankees, tagged for nine hits and eight runs with four walks over 3 1/3 innings. The loss dropped him to 2-5 on the season, and raised his earned run average to 8.33. The 42-year-old hurler had signed a one-year deal with Boston back in January, ending a run of more than two decades with the Atlanta Braves. Only twice in eight starts this season did he allow fewer than five earned runs, and only twice did he pitch six innings. Once Smoltz clears unconditional waivers on Wednesday, he is free to negotiate with any other team.
The Detroit Tigers acquired infielder Aubrey Huff from the Baltimore Orioles on Monday for minor league pitcher Brett Jacobson. Huff, 32, has played in 110 games this season and is batting .253 with 13 home runs and 72 RBI. Over his 10 seasons in the majors, which has included stints with Tampa Bay and Houston, he is a .284 hitter with 201 homers and 739 RBI over 1,282 games. Jacobson, 22, was Detroit's fourth-round pick in the 2008 draft out of Vanderbilt.
The Atlanta Braves placed outfielder Nate McLouth on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a sore left hamstring. McLouth suffered the injury on August 8, then after trying to play over the weekend, had more discomfort while testing the hamstring Monday morning. The 28-year-old is hitting .258 with 15 homers and 56 RBI with Pittsburgh and Atlanta this season.
Brett Favre's return to the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings is still a possibility, as a national web site report indicates that unnamed players in Vikings camp believe it will be when, not if, Favre will join the team. Favre told Vikings head coach Brad Childress in late July that he was not ready to make another comeback, despite undergoing surgery in the spring for a torn biceps tendon. The three-time MVP spent the 2008 campaign with the New York Jets, then announced his retirement for the second time in as many years. He first retired as a Green Bay Packer following the 2007 season.
St. Louis Rams quarterback Marc Bulger suffered a fracture of the pinky finger of his throwing hand Monday, and will miss the next two weeks. Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo called it a "small fracture," that was shown to be non- displaced. He added Bulger won't wear a cast and instead will have it taped. Kyle Boller steps in as the Rams' starting quarterback in Bulger's absence, which will include this Friday's preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis was suspended for one game and fined $100,000 for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Ellis will miss the 2009 season-opener against Houston on September 13. In November, Ellis was arrested and charged with marijuana possession in New Jersey. He was also cited for speeding and driving without insurance. Ellis, a 2003 Pro Bowl selection in his 10th season with the Jets, has 61 1/2 career sacks -- fourth on the team's all-time list.
The Kansas City Chiefs have signed wide receiver Ashley Lelie to an undisclosed contract. Lelie has played 107 games, including 59 starts, during his seven-year NFL career with Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco and Oakland. He has 217 receptions for 3,749 yards with 15 touchdowns. His best year was 2004 with the Broncos, posting 54 catches for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns. Lelie caught just 11 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games last season with the Raiders.
The New York Rangers on Monday agreed to terms with free agent forward Vinny Prospal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a New York paper reported Sunday that the contract is for one year. The native of the Czech Republic posted 19 goals and 45 points in 82 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008-09, his third tenure with the club. A veteran of 12 NHL seasons with the Flyers, Senators, Panthers, Lightning and Ducks, Prospal has collected 198 goals and 599 points in 874 contests, while adding nine goals and 34 points in 60 postseason games.
Eight members of the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal winning women's basketball team will be back for a run at the next Olympic title. USA Basketball has selected WNBA stars Sue Bird of Seattle, Indiana's Tamika Catchings, Phoenix's Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter, Minnesota's Seimone Augustus, Chicago's Sylvia Fowles, Sacramento's Kara Lawson and Los Angeles' Candace Parker as the first eight members of the 2009-12 Women's National Team. Four more players will be added to the 12-member roster that is expected to play for the United States at the 2010 World Championship and, if the Americans qualify, the 2012 Olympics