Sports briefs 11/18/05

Friday, November 18, 2005

Baseball

* Jason Bay, coming off two of the best career-starting seasons in Pittsburgh Pirates history, agreed Thursday to an $18.25 million, four-year contract that covers his arbitration-eligible seasons.

Bay, 27, made $355,000 last season after failing to reach terms with the team and having his contract automatically renewed. He was not eligible for arbitration until after next season and could not become a free agent until after 2009.

His contract calls for a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $750,000 next year. $3.25 million in 2007, $5.75 million in 2008 and $7.5 million in 2009.

Bay followed his 2004 NL Rookie of the Year season by hitting .306 with 32 homers, 101 RBIs, 110 runs scored, 21 stolen bases and a .402 on-base percentage in 2005 despite playing on a team that lost 95 games. He finished 12th in the NL MVP voting after playing in all 162 games.

In 2004, Bay hit .282 with 26 homers and 82 RBIs in 120 games while becoming the first Rookie of the Year in club history. He won the award despite missing the first five weeks of the season after shoulder surgery.

The Pirates acquired Bay from the San Diego Padres, for whom he played briefly in 2003.

* Free-agent reliever Scott Eyre agreed to terms on a two-year, $11 million contract with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.

Financial terms of the deal, which includes a player option for the 2008 season, were still being negotiated.

Eyre led the league with 86 appearances pitching for San Francisco last season, going 2-2 with a career best 2.63 ERA. He struck out 65 batters and walked 26 in 68 1-3 innings, holding opponents to a .200 batting average.

Hockey

* St. Louis Blues defenseman Eric Brewer was added to the injured reserve list for an estimated four to eight weeks, the club said Thursday.

Brewer, 26, was injured during a hit late in the first period during Wednesday's 2-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on the road.

Team physician Dr. Rick Wright found Brewer had a separation of the AC joint in his right shoulder, the Blues said.

Brewer, 6-3, 220 pounds, has played in all 18 games this season. He's had 4 goals and 2 assists.

Soccer

The referee who took bribes to fix soccer games in Germany was convicted of fraud Thursday and sentenced to 29 months in prison.

The prosecution had recommended a suspended two-year sentence for Robert Hoyzer, but judge Gerti Kramer sent the former referee to prison.

Ante Sapina, a Croatian gambler, was convicted of fraud and given 35 months in prison for masterminding the match-fixing scheme. The judge handed down the sentence requested by the prosecution in his case.

Another former referee, Dominik Marks, was given a suspended 18-month sentence, although the prosecution had asked for a two-year prison term.

Ante Sapina's brothers, Milan and Filip, also were given suspended sentences -- Milan for 16 months and Filip for 12.

Tennis

* Roger Federer overcame a set-second lapse against Guillermo Coria at the Tennis Masters Cup to claim his 34th consecutive victory and move within two of a 21-year-old record.

Federer had a stop-start 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 win over fourth-seeded Coria on Thursday, topping the Red Group ahead of the semifinals.

Argentina's David Nalbandian joined Federer in the semis with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ivan Ljubicic in 67 minutes, serving out at love in the last game.

Federer, already assured of a semifinal spot after two earlier victories, mixed flashes of brilliance with 33 unforced errors as he improved to 80-3 this year, two wins shy of John McEnroe's Open era record (82-3) for best winning percentage in a season.

Two-time defending champion Federer next faces either Gaston Gaudio or Fernando Gonzalez.

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