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Sports news briefs — Feb. 4

Compiled from wire reports

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BASEBALL

Former NBA All-Star to try minor leagues

• Tracy McGrady wants to follow Michael Jordan’s path to the national pastime.

The retired seven-time NBA All-Star is aiming to become a baseball player, and plans to try pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. That’s the same team that Roger Clemens pitched for a couple of years ago.

Jordan famously played in the Chicago White Sox organization in 1994 during his first retirement from basketball, reaching the Double-A level.

A statement from the Skeeters says that it is a “lifelong dream” of McGrady’s to play baseball. 

• The Atlanta Braves have agreed to eight-year deal with first baseman Freddie Freeman that is worth about $125 million, a person familiar with the talks told the Associated Press on Tuesday. The person confirmed the agreement on condition of anonymity because the Braves haven’t announced the deal, which is subject to a successful physical. Earlier Tuesday, outfielder Jason Heyward and the Braves agreed to a $13.3 million, two-year contract. Heyward and Freeman had filed for salary arbitration last month. Freeman, 24, was an All-Star last year, when he hit .319 with 23 homers and 109 RBI. He matched his career high in home runs and set highs in batting average and RBI. He has topped 20 home runs in three straight seasons.

• Former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is being honored on the team’s Wall of Fame. The winningest manager in team history will be celebrated on Aug. 9 before Philadelphia plays the Mets. Manuel will become the 36th member of the club. Manuel led Philadelphia to five straight NL East titles and the franchise’s second World Series crown in 2008. He was fired last August, and last month accepted a job as a senior adviser to general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

• Logan Morrison and the Seattle Mariners have reached agreement on a $1.75 million contract for the 2014 season and avoided arbitration. The team announced the agreement on Tuesday. This season will be Morrison’s first with the Mariners.

HOCKEY

Detroit approves land deal for arena

• The Detroit City Council has voted 6-3 to approve transferring vacant city-owned parcels for a new hockey arena and a 45-block entertainment complex just north of downtown. Once complete, the 18,000-seat arena will become home to the Detroit Red Wings, who will move out of aging Joe Louis Arena. The transfer approved Tuesday is the third part of council action on the $650 million project. In December, the board OK’d financing for the project and broadened the boundaries of the city’s Downtown Development Authority. The authority would own the arena and event center. Olympia Development would have exclusive rights to use, manage and operate it, and hold naming rights.

College Football

UCLA to debut new form of letter signing

• UCLA football coaches can forget about the fax machine on national signing day. The school said Tuesday that for the first time, UCLA recruits will be able to sign their letters of intent electronically. Universities nationwide have for years traditionally received the documents via fax. UCLA is using a service that allows recruits and their parents to use a mouse or their fingers to sign the letters on the screen of a mobile device. Completed letters are then sent by email to the family and the school.

— From wire reports


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