Pirates sign seven free agents
PITTSBURGH — First baseman Travis Ishikawa and left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth were among seven players who agreed Wednesday to minor league contracts with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Ishikawa is a career .260 hitter with 19 home runs and 111 RBIs in 382 games with San Francisco, Milwaukee, Baltimore and the New York Yankees. He went 2-for-19 with one RBI last season while playing for both Baltimore and New York.
Pittsburgh is looking for competition at first base, where Gaby Sanchez and Andrew Lambo are expected to be in the mix after Garrett Jones and Justin Morneau signed elsewhere.
Schlereth is 5-6 with a 4.36 ERA in 94 games with Arizona and Detroit.
The Pirates also agreed with right-hander Kyle McPherson, who is recovering from right elbow ligament-replacement surgery, on a minor-league contract, as well as outfielder/infielder Michael Martinez, left-handed pitchers Brandon Mann and Adam Wilk and right-handed pitcher Elvin Ramirez.
Browner suspended indefinitely
RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The suspension is the second in two seasons for Browner. He was suspended four games last season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
He’s the second Seahawks player to be suspended for violating the substance abuse policy this season. Fellow cornerback Walter Thurmond is serving the final week of a four-game suspension.
Families make deal in race crash
SANTA ANA, Calif. — An agreement has been reached to pay $5.8 million to the families of eight people killed and 12 injured in a desert off-road race crash in 2010 on federally owned land in California, a lawyer said.
The crash occurred when a truck competing in the California 200 race sailed off a jump and slammed into the crowd in the Mojave Desert.
Olympic medalist fails drug test
AIGLE, Switzerland — Olympic bronze medalist and three-time world time trial champion Michael Rogers of Australia has tested positive for clenbuterol after racing in China.
The International Cycling Union said that Rogers is provisionally suspended while his national federation investigates the case.
Rogers tested positive for clenbuterol, which helps build muscle and burn fat, at the Japan Cup on Oct. 20.
Texas forms search committee
AUSTIN, Texas — Members of the Texas search committee that helped select athletic director Steve Patterson also will assist in finding a successor to football coach Mack Brown.
The university announced an eight-member advisory panel that includes billionaire donor Robert Rowling and two current University of Texas regents. The panel will assist Patterson in his biggest decision since being hired from Arizona State in November.
In other news involving the program, Forbes magazine rates Texas as the most valuable college football team in the country for the fifth straight year.
The magazine values the Longhorns at $139 million, almost 20 percent more than Notre Dame at No. 2. The Irish are valued at $117 million. Alabama rose from sixth to third at $110 million, followed by SEC West rival LSU. Michigan is fifth.
UW looking into allegations
SEATTLE — The University of Washington confirmed Wednesday night that it is looking into recruiting allegations against an assistant football coach following a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The Times said Wednesday on its website that Washington and Southern California, which recently hired head coach Steve Sarkisian away from Washington, are investigating whether Huskies defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi violated NCAA rules by paying for private tutoring and online classes for a recruit.
The newspaper said the allegations involve Andrew Basham, a former defensive lineman and shot putter at Lynnwood High School in Washington.
Basham signed a letter of intent with Washington in February, but didn’t qualify academically to enroll at the university.
Bowling Green hires Babers
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Bowling Green has hired Eastern Illinois’ Dino Babers to become the Falcons’ new football coach.
Babers led Eastern Illinois to a 12-2 record and the Football Championship Series quarterfinals this season.
Raiders’ QB named D3’s best
SALEM, Va. — Mount Union junior quarterback Kevin Burke won the Gagliardi Trophy on as the top all-around player in NCAA Division III.
Burke has led Mount Union (14-0) to a spot in the national championship game Friday night against Wisconsin-Whitewater in Salem.
Djokovic hires Becker as coach
MONACO (AP) — Novak Djokovic is turning to Boris Becker for help in 2014.
The second-ranked Serb said Wednesday that Becker will join his staff for next season as head coach.
The 46-year-old Becker, a six-time Grand Slam champion, will travel with Djokovic and other coaches to tournaments, including next month’s Australian Open.
Djokovic won his fourth Australian Open title last year and finished the 2013 season ranked No. 2 in the world behind Rafael Nadal.
Becker will join a coaching staff that also includes Marian Vajda, Miljan Amanovic and Gebhard Phil-Gritsch.
“I will do my best to help him reach his goals, and I am sure we can achieve great things together,” said Becker, who became the youngest man to win Wimbledon when he was 17 in 1985.
Vajda, who has been working with Djokovic since 2006, said the Serb needed a new head coach to continue improving.
“Becker’s assignment will not affect much my position in the team, since I will do all I can for Novak, just like I did before,” Vajda said. “On the other hand, choosing Boris as the head coach is a good solution, I am sure we will get along very well, and that Novak will continue to progress.”