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Ibanez Returning to Mariners

From Times Wire Services

Free-agent outfielder Raul Ibanez agreed Wednesday to a $13.25-million, three-year contract with the Seattle Mariners, who hope his left-handed bat can boost the offense at spacious Safeco Field.

Ibanez, who came up in Seattle’s system but played little with the Mariners from 1996 to 2000, blossomed over the last two seasons in Kansas City, where he hit .294 both years.

He drove in 103 runs in 2002 and 90 last season.

“When I first realized I was coming back here, I was ecstatic,” Ibanez said.

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The San Diego Padres hope their three-player trade with Oakland will be finalized today, after the A’s review medical information about outfielder Mark Kotsay. The deal would send Kotsay to the A’s for catcher Ramon Hernandez and outfielder Terrence Long.

“They looked at the written part, and it seemed fine with them,” Padre General Manager Kevin Towers said.

“If they’re comfortable with what we’re sending them, we should be able to announce the deal.”

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Milton Bradley agreed to a $1.73-million, one-year contract with Cleveland, avoiding salary arbitration.... Catcher Brad Ausmus decided to stay with Houston, agreeing to a $4-million, two-year contract.

College Basketball

Ben Gordon scored a career-high 37 points and Emeka Okafor grabbed 14 rebounds to lead No. 1 Connecticut (2-0) to a 93-79 victory over Nevada (1-1) and into the semifinals of the Preseason NIT at Storrs, Conn.... Andrew Bogut had 19 points and 18 rebounds as Utah (2-0) defeated Minnesota (1-1), 66-54, in a second-round Preseason NIT game at Salt Lake City.

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Tennessee Coach Buzz Peterson has had his contract extended by one year, giving him a package reportedly worth more than $900,000 a year through 2008-09.

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Illinois Coach Bruce Weber has benched two players for the first two games of the season and a third for four games for violating unspecified team rules.

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Junior Luther Head and redshirt freshman Aaron Spears already had sat out Illinois’ two exhibition games, so their suspensions will total four games. Freshman Richard McBride’s suspension will begin with Saturday against Western Illinois.

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Three Boise State players, Larry Davidson, Darius Harper and Mattias Johansson, are leaving the program for personal reasons and another, Bryan Defares, has been suspended for one game, Coach Greg Graham announced.

Miscellany

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The Long Beach Jam of the ABA has signed Rick Anderson, a 6-8 guard from Long Beach Poly and Arizona.

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The No. 1 doubles team in the world, Camarillo’s Mike and Bob Bryan, will play an exhibition against former doubles stars Jim Grabb and Rick Leach as part of a fund-raiser for the UC Santa Barbara men’s tennis team Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara.

A kids’ clinic kicks off the event. Admission for the exhibition is $100. The clinic is $25.

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Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden will be given the Nelle Reagan Award on Friday at the Sheraton Universal Hotel at Universal City.

The dinner and a silent auction will begin at 6:30.

Passings

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Howie Gershberg, a minor league pitching coach with the Angels since 1985, died of cancer. He was 67. Gershberg helped develop current Angel pitchers Troy Percival, Jarrod Washburn, John Lackey and Francisco Rodriguez.


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