Nick Swisher makes a sliding catch for the Yankees during a game against… (Alex Gallardo / Reuters )
The Cleveland Indians' pitch to bring Nick Swisher "home" worked.
Two people familiar with the negotiations said Swisher has agreed to a $56-million, four-year contract with the Indians, who used the free-agent outfielder's deep Ohio connections to persuade him to join the club. The people spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because Swisher must take a physical before the deal can be finalized. The Indians are expected to announce Swisher's signing after Christmas, one of the people said.
The Indians will not comment until Swisher completes his physical.
Swisher's deal includes a $14-million option for 2017 that could become guaranteed based on plate appearances the previous year.
The 32-year-old Swisher spent the last four seasons with the New York Yankees, taking advantage of the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. A switch-hitter, Swisher hit .272 this season with 24 home runs and 93 runs batted in.
Ryan Freel, a former major league baseball player known for his fearless play but whose career was cut short after eight seasons by a series of head and other injuries, was found dead Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Freel, who was 36, died of what appeared to be a self-inflicted shotgun wound, sheriff's office spokesman Shannon Hartley wrote in an email Sunday. The medical examiner will make the final determination of the cause of death.
The speedy Freel spent six of his eight big league seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and finished his career in 2009 with a .268 average and 143 steals.
No progress in NHL lockout
All is quiet between the NHL and the players' association, and there is no sign the sides will talk even by phone before Christmas.
"Nothing today," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the Associated Press in an email Sunday night. "Don't know whether we will speak before the holiday."
Daly and players' association special counsel Steve Fehr spoke to each other Saturday, but nothing of note came out of those discussions. The union declined to comment Sunday, the 99th day of the NHL lockout.
The sides haven't met since Dec. 13.
All games through Jan. 14 have been called off, and if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't reached by then, the remainder of the schedule could be canceled too.
Lance Armstrong is being sued for more than $1.5 million by a British newspaper over the settlement of a libel action, which followed doping allegations against the cyclist that it published.
The Sunday Times paid Armstrong 300,000 pounds (now about $485,000) in 2006 to settle a case after it reprinted claims from a book in 2004 that he took performance-enhancing drugs.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency concluded this year that Armstrong led a massive doping program on his teams. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life.
The Sunday Times announced in an article that it has issued legal papers against Armstrong.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky maintains his innocence and tells a Pennsylvania newspaper he is "trying to learn from … the struggle and circumstances" as he focuses on an appeal of his conviction on child sex abuse charges.
The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens' Voice said Sandusky sent a note from his prison cell declining an interview, saying his attorneys have told him to stay quiet. The paper said Sandusky wrote that "there is much to learn" and that "nobody who covered the case and reported it has the time or took the time to study the allegations … Justice and fairness were not a focus."
The Dallas Mavericks signed guard-forward Chris Douglas-Roberts from their NBA Development League team.
Douglas-Roberts is leading the D-League in scoring at 22.5 points per game in 11 games.
Douglas-Roberts is filling the roster spot vacated by veteran point guard Derek Fisher, who was waived at his request because he wanted to be with his family after being sidelined by a right knee strain.