Thursday Sports in Brief
NEW YORK (AP) — The average salary in the major leagues rebounded to $4.4 million on opening day, boosted by a frenzy of free agent signings before and after the 99-day lockout, according to a study of baseball contracts by The Associated Press.
New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer set a season record at $43.3 million, topping the previous mark established last year by Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer at $38 million. Scherzer earns more than all the current players on the Baltimore Orioles combined.
The average of $4,414,184 was up 5.9% from the $4,167,164 at the start of last season and just below the record of $4,451,508 set in 2017, before the salary slide that angered players during the labor contract that expired last December.
Major League Baseball projects opening-day payrolls at about $4.5 billion, up almost 10% from the previous high of approximately $4.1 billion.
CLEVELAND (AP) — All-Star third baseman José Ramírez is guaranteed $141 million under his seven-year contract with the Cleveland Guardians.
Ramirez agreed in March 2017 to a $26 million, five-year contract, a deal that included an $11 million team option for 2022 with a $2 million buyout and a $13 million option for 2023.
The superseding contract, announced Thursday, calls for salaries of $22 million this season, $14 million in 2023, $17 million in 2024, $19 million in 2025, $21 million in 2026, $23 million in 2027 and $25 million in 2028.
Ramirez turns 30 in September and would have been eligible for free agency after the 2023 season.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates and All-Star center fielder Bryan Reynolds have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a two-year deal worth $13.5 million.
The agreement, announced Thursday, will pay Reynolds $6.75 million per season.
Reynolds and the Pirates were scheduled to go to arbitration after failing to come to an agreement on a one-year deal for 2022. Reynolds asked for $4.9 million, with Pittsburgh countering with $4.25 million.
The 27-year-old Reynolds has blossomed with the Pirates after coming over in the January 2018 trade that sent center fielder Andrew McCutchen to San Francisco. Reynolds reached the majors in 2019 and moved to center field in 2021, hitting .302 with 24 homers and 90 RBIs and becoming a finalist for a Gold Glove.
DENVER (AP) — When former members of the U.S. snowboarding team wanted to report sex-abuse allegations against a longtime coach, they received conflicting information that left them unsure of where to turn — or whether they wanted to pursue the cases at all.
An Instagram post during the Olympics by a former U.S. team member led to allegations that coach Peter Foley had molested them, coerced them into taking naked pictures, crawled into bed with them and nurtured an atmosphere in which women were treated as sex objects.
The episode has raised questions as to whether the reporting system for sex-abuse cases in Olympic sports, redesigned in the wake of former gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse of hundreds of athletes, is working the way it should some five years since the overhaul.
Foley has denied wrongdoing. His attorney, Howard Jacobs, said that as of March 30 — 10 days after Foley was fired by the U.S. Ski & Snowboard federation and more than seven weeks after the allegations began surfacing — the 56-year-old coach had not been contacted by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the organization formed to investigate claims such as those involving Foley.
KETTERING, Ohio (AP) — Bryson DeChambeau says he had surgery on his left wrist Thursday for a fracture hamate that has been bothering him for the last two months and likely will keep him out of the PGA Championship.
DeChambeau said on Instagram the surgery at The Kettering Medical Center was for the fractured hook of the hamate.
The former U.S. Open champion says he slipped on a marble floor in Saudi Arabia while playing table tennis and landed on his hip and hand.
DeChambeau said he would take appropriate time off to rest and recover and he looked forward “to competing at the highest level within the next two months.”
TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — American figure skater Ilia Malinin shattered the world record in the short program at the junior world championships on Thursday, scoring 88.99 points with his program set to David Cook’s “Billie Jean” to take a big lead into the free skate.
The 17-year-old Malinin, dubbed the “QuadGod” for his dynamic leaping ability, easily surpassed the previous record of 84.87 points that current world champion Shoma Uno set at the junior championships in 2015.
Malinin, who finished ninth at senior worlds last month, finished second to Olympic gold medalist Nathan Chen at the U.S. championships in January. But Malinin was passed over for the team that went to Beijing in favor of veteran Jason Brown, and is now considered a favorite to medal at the 2026 Winter Games in Italy.
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Jack Newton, who lost to Tom Watson in a 1975 British Open playoff and tied for second behind Seve Ballesteros at the 1980 Masters before his professional golf career ended in a near-fatal aircraft propeller accident, has died. He was 72.
Newton, who had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, died early Friday due to “health complications,” his family said in a statement.
Newton won the PGA Tour’s Buick Open in 1978 and the Australian Open in 1979 and three tournaments in Europe before his career —- and nearly his life — ended when he walked into the propeller of a small plane he was about to board at Sydney airport on July 24, 1983.
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Freddy Rincón, a former captain of the Colombian national soccer team who played in three World Cups, has died after being injured in a car crash. He was 55.
Rincón was injured Monday when his vehicle collided with a bus in Cali, Colombia.
The Colombian soccer federation posted news of Rincón’s death on its website on Wednesday, saying it deeply regrets his passing and sends a message of support and encouragement to his family, friends and relatives.
Rincón played at the World Cup in 1990, 1994 and 1998. Besides playing for Colombian and Brazilian clubs during his career, the midfielder also played for Real Madrid and Napoli.
JERUSALEM (AP) — Alex Gilady, an Israeli media pioneer and longtime International Olympic Committee member, has died. He was 79.
Gilady was a former sport executive at U.S. network NBC and was the first Israeli journalist to report from Egypt in 1977 ahead of the signing of a landmark peace treaty with its Arab neighbor. He received the Israeli Broadcasting Association’s “Man of the Year” award that year.
He died at a hospital in London from cancer late on Thursday, according to Israeli business paper The Marker.
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