The Boston Red Sox, hampered last season by a lack of outfield speed, signed free agent Otis Nixon to a $7-million, two-year contract Tuesday.
Nixon, a switch-hitter who had been with the Atlanta Braves for three seasons, was third in the National League with 47 stolen bases last season.
Nixon, who will turn 35 next month, can earn $9.25 million over three years if the Red Sox exercise their 1996 option. He will receive a $500,000 signing bonus, $3 million in 1994 and $3.15 million in 1995. The option is for $2.6 million with a $350,000 buyout.
In other signings, pitcher Mark Gubicza returned to the Kansas City Royals for a $550,000, one-year contract. Reliever Edwin Nunez re-signed with the Oakland Athletics for a $430,000, one-year deal. Houston re-signed outfielder Kevin Bass for $400,000, a cut of $100,000.
Thirty-eight major league players, among them Rafael Palmeiro and Chris Sabo, said goodby to their former clubs when they were not offered arbitration by the midnight deadline. As of Tuesday night, only 17 players had been offered arbitration, including former Dodger pitcher Fernando Valenzuela by the Baltimore Orioles; outfielder Tim Raines and designated hitter Bo Jackson of the Chicago White Sox; pitcher Bob Ojeda, catcher Junior Ortiz and second baseman Jeff Treadway of Cleveland; Detroit pitcher David Wells; third baseman Gary Gaetti and outfielder Hubie Brooks of Kansas City; Oakland outfielder Dave Henderson; Colorado pitcher Bruce Hurst, Montreal second baseman Randy Ready, St. Louis first baseman Gerald Perry and Florida shortstop Walt Weiss.
Among the other players not offered arbitration were Dodger second baseman Jody Reed, Chicago White Sox pitcher Tim Belcher, Minnesota catcher Brian Harper, New York Yankee reliever Lee Smith, Seattle catcher Dave Valle, Texas pitcher Charlie Leibrandt, Toronto shortstop Tony Fernandez and Cincinnati second baseman Bip Roberts.
Players offered arbitration have until Dec. 19 to accept or reject, and can continue negotiating with their old teams through Jan. 8. Players who weren't offered arbitration can't re-sign with their former clubs before May 1.
The average baseball salary rose only 4.6% this year to $1,076,089, the smallest increase since the collusion season of 1987.
Salaries had risen by 20.8% last year, 42.5% in 1991, 20.2% in 1990 and 13.3% in 1988, the Major League Baseball Players Assn. said.
A Feb. 1 trial date was set for Ram cornerback Darryl Henley and four others charged with participating in a ring that shipped cocaine to cities across the country. Henley, 27, and former Ram cheerleader Tracy Ann Donaho, 20, have pleaded not guilty to federal drug and conspiracy charges. Henley is free on $200,000 bail and Donaho was released Monday on $25,000 bail.
Heavyweight boxer Tommy Morrison pleaded not guilty to charges of public intoxication and punching a 20-year-old student he said was staring at him at a restaurant in Iowa City, Iowa.
Iowa City Police Sgt. Craig Lihs said Morrison and an unidentified friend and their dates were in the restaurant at 2:19 a.m. Tuesday when Morrison approached and hit William Strout from behind.
Florida Marlin slugger Gary Sheffield was charged with reckless and drunken driving in Orlando, Fla. He had been stopped Sunday for driving his Ferrari at more than 110 m.p.h.
A man who wore a hockey puck costume as the New Jersey Devils' team mascot will not face charges that he molested three female vendors if he completes a one-year program that includes counseling. Brad Ebben, the 24-year-old former mascot, was admitted into the pretrial program.
Unseeded Wayne Ferreira upset Boris Becker in the first round of the Grand Slam Cup at Munich, Germany, 7-5, 6-4. Meanwhile, tennis sources said, Becker, a three-time Wimbledon champion whose career is in a slump, has left coach Eric Jelen.
Arbitrator Tim Bornstein ruled in Toronto that holdout defenseman Steve Duchesne should be paid $1.12 million Canadian by the Quebec Nordiques for each of the next two seasons. The Nordiques had sought a salary of $920,000 and Duchesne requested $1.7 million.
Craig Johnson scored two third-period goals, lifting the United States a 5-4 exhibition victory over the Russian national team at Greensboro, N.C.
Forward Charles Smith of the New York Knicks underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to be sidelined six weeks.
Golden State guard Tim Hardaway, sidelined for the season, underwent surgery to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee seven weeks after being injured in practice.
The Washington Redskins will build a new stadium between Washington and Baltimore, owner Jack Kent Cooke said, abandoning an on-off-on-again effort to keep the team in the nation's capital.
The International Amateur Boxing Assn. will allow women to compete in the ring, the organization's president said.