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Wednesday Sports in Brief

December 2, 2021 GMT

MLB

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball plunged into its first work stoppage in a quarter-century when the sport’s collective bargaining agreement expired Wednesday night and owners immediately locked out players in a move that threatens spring training and opening day.

The strategy, management’s equivalent of a strike under federal labor law, ended the sport’s labor peace after 9,740 days over 26 1/2 years.

Teams decided to force the long-anticipated confrontation during an offseason rather than risk players walking out during the summer, as they did in 1994. Players and owners had successfully reached four consecutive agreements without a work stoppage, but they have been accelerating toward a clash for more than two years.

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets and Max Scherzer have finalized a $130 million, three-year deal, a contract that shattered baseball’s record for highest average salary and forms a historically impressive 1-2 atop New York’s rotation with Jacob deGrom.

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The 37-year-old Scherzer will earn $43.33 million per year, 20% higher than the previous mark, the $36 million that Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole is averaging in his $324 million, nine-year contract signed prior to the 2020 season.

Scherzer has the right to opt out after the 2023 season and become a free agent again.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Notre Dame is working on a deal to promote defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to head coach to replace Brian Kelly, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because nothing had been finalized, though the first piece of Notre Dame’s plan to regroup after Kelly left for LSU earlier this week had already fallen into place.

Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees informed Notre Dame he would remain with the Fighting Irish instead of joining Kelly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Notre Dame released a video on Twitter of Rees telling the team he was staying put.

— By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo.

DALLAS (AP) — The latest meeting on expanding the College Football Playoff wrapped up without an announcement Wednesday as the people involved agreed to keep talking.

CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said there remains a strong consensus to expand the four-team field among the management committee, comprised of the 10 major college football conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director.

A proposed 12-team model remains at the heart of the discussions and there is still hope it can be implemented for the 2024 season. How teams would qualify and be selected are topics still under discussion.

TENNIS

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The head of the women’s professional tennis tour announced Wednesday that all WTA tournaments would be suspended in China because of concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former high-ranking government official in that country of sexual assault.

Peng dropped out of public view after raising the allegations about former vice premier Zhang Gaoli in a Nov. 2 social media posting that was quickly taken down by Chinese authorities.

WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon repeated his call for a “full and transparent investigation — without censorship” into Peng’s accusations and took an unusually strong stand against China, which was supposed to be the site of several tennis tournaments next year, including the prestigious season-ending WTA Finals.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn star freshman Azzi Fudd will be sidelined for at least the next two weeks with an injured right foot, coach Geno Auriemma said Wednesday.

Auriemma, speaking after practice, said Fudd has been struggling with an apparent stress injury since the summer and recent medial scans showed it was time to shut her down for a while.

Fudd, a former national player of the year, was the consensus top recruit in the nation coming out of high school in Washington. She has averaged 7.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in her first four games for the Huskies.

SWIMMING

LONDON (AP) — Three-time Olympian Hannah Miley of Britain retired from competitive swimming on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Scottish individual medley specialist is a former world, European and Commonwealth Games champion.

Miley was a finalist for Britain at three consecutive Olympics, most recently the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, where she finished fourth in the 400-meter individual medley.

FIGURE SKATING

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Two-time world bronze medalist Tiffany Chin, Miami (Ohio) University synchronized skating coach Vicki Korn, and two-time Olympic judge Lucy Joyce Brennan have been elected to the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Their inductions will take place Jan. 9 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which serve as the trials for the Beijing Olympics. In addition, class of 2021 members Johnny Weir, Sandy Lamb and Gale Tanger will be inducted after COVID-19 restrictions placed on the 2021 national championships in Las Vegas prohibited their formal enshrinement.

SOCCER

CARY, N.C. (AP) — Interim coach Sean Nahas has been named permanent head coach of the North Carolina Courage.

Nahas replaced Paul Riley, who was fired in September after two former players accused him of sexual harassment and coercion. Riley denied the allegations.

The revelations by Mana Shim and Sinead Farrelly led to the resignation of National Women’s Soccer League Commissioner Lisa Baird. It also spurred independent investigations by the NWSL and U.S. Soccer.

OBITUARY

CHICAGO (AP) — LaMarr Hoyt, who won the 1983 AL Cy Young Award with the Chicago White Sox, has died. He was 66.

The White Sox announced his death on Wednesday. The team said he died Monday in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina, following a lengthy illness.

Hoyt went 98-68 with a 3.99 ERA in eight years in the majors. He also had 48 career complete games, including eight shutouts, and 10 saves.

The 6-foot-3 right-hander was the 1985 All-Star Game MVP, pitching three innings of one-run ball in the National League’s 6-1 victory over the AL. That year with San Diego was the only All-Star selection of his career.

COURTS

NOVI, Mich. (AP) — No criminal charges will be filed in the fireworks-related death of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks at a Detroit-area home during a July 4 celebration, the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday.

The death has officially been ruled accidental, and the case is now closed, the office said.

The accident occurred Sunday, July 4, at the Novi home of Manny Legace, who was Kivlenieks’ goalie coach with Columbus.

Kivlenieks, 24, died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast.

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