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NEWSWIRE

Ken Griffey Jr. decides to return to the Mariners

Outfielder agrees to one-year deal with Seattle, where he started his career in 1989.

February 19, 2009|Ben Bolch, Grahame L. Jones | Staff and Wire Reports

Ken Griffey Jr. has decided to return to the Seattle Mariners.

"He's coming home. . . . I can't begin to tell you how ecstatic we are. He is too," Seattle General Manager Jack Zduriencik confirmed Wednesday night, calling Griffey "arguably one of the greatest athletes to ever play in the Seattle area."

The 39-year-old star's contract is for one year and believed to be worth $2 million in base salary, plus incentives.

Atlanta appeared to be Griffey's choice Tuesday for the same reason the former Mariners star left Seattle in 2000: geography. The Braves' spring training camp is about a 20-minute drive from the Griffey home in Orlando, Fla., and Atlanta is about an hour away by plane. But after conflicting reports about where Griffey would settle, he chose to follow through on his proclamation two years ago when he came to Seattle while playing with the Cincinnati Reds -- that he wanted to finish his career as a Mariner.

Utility man Willy Aybar and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a $2.6-million, two-year contract, and right-handed reliever Luis Ayala and the Minnesota Twins agreed to a one-year contract.

PRO FOOTBALL

Haynesworth to test free agency

Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth has decided to test the free-agent market, according to various media reports. The NFL Network first reported that the two-time All-Pro will become a free agent after weeks of discussions between his agent, Chad Speck, and the Titans. Free agency begins Feb. 27.

Pro Bowl punter Shane Lechler has agreed to a four-year contract to stay with the Oakland Raiders, the Associated Press reported. The deal is believed to make Lechler the highest-paid punter in NFL history.

The San Diego Chargers put the non-exclusive franchise tag on Darren Sproles, virtually assuring that the running back-returner will return. . . . The Baltimore Ravens used the franchise tag on Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs for the second straight year.

JURISPRUDENCE

Jaguars safety is arrested

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Gerald Sensabaugh was arrested last week for driving on a suspended license in his hometown of Kingsport, Tenn.

New Jersey Nets forward Sean Williams was arrested at Boston College last weekend for allegedly violating a no-trespassing order. The former BC player was arrested Sunday shortly before the Eagles played Duke for violating an order issued in May, according to the campus police report. Police did not say why he was barred from campus.

ETC.

Williams sisters advance in Dubai

Serena and Venus Williams remained on track to meet in the semifinals but Jelena Jankovic was beaten in the third round of the Dubai Championships in the United Arab Emirates. Top-seeded Serena beat Zheng Jie, 6-4, 6-2, while sixth-seeded Venus defeated Alize Cornet, 6-3, 6-2.

Third-seeded Jankovic lost to Kaia Kanepi, 6-2, 7-5.

Santa Ana Mater Dei High twin forwards Travis and David Wear, Fairfax center Renardo Sidney and Moreno Valley Rancho Verde guard Michael Snaer were among the players selected to compete for the West in the McDonald's All-American boys' basketball game April 1 in Miami.

Chatsworth forward Gennifer Brandon, Santa Ana Foothill forward Christina Marinacci, Long Beach Poly center Monique Oliver and Pasadena Muir guard Eliza Pierre were selected for the West girls' team.

UCLA signee Markel Walker, a 6-foot-2 forward from Pittsburgh Schenley High, was selected to the East team.

-- Ben Bolch

Edson Buddle scored the first goal of 2009 for the Galaxy, Jovan Kirovski added a second and that was enough to earn the Major League Soccer team a 2-0 victory over Oita Trinita of Japan in the second Pan-Pacific Championship at the Home Depot Center.

-- Grahame L. Jones

PASSINGS

Linebacker Van Pelt, 57

Brad Van Pelt, a five-time Pro Bowl player with the New York Giants who helped form one of the NFL's best linebacking corps in the early 1980s, has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 57. Section B

Mike Whitmarsh, a 1996 Olympic silver medalist in beach volleyball, was found dead in the garage of a friend's home. He was 46. Section B

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