Angels lose Darren Oliver but pursue Fernando Rodney

Staff And Wire Reports

The Angels lost another key player to an American League West rival when reliever Darren Oliver, who went 15-3 with a 3.09 earned-run average over the last three seasons in Anaheim, signed a one-year, $3-million contract with the Texas Rangers.

But the Angels do appear poised to replace Oliver’s production.

According to, the Angels are in “serious” negotiations with former Detroit closer Fernando Rodney, who saved 37 of 38 games for the Tigers last season but had a 4.40 ERA, the highest among AL relievers with 20 or more saves.

Oliver’s deal with the Rangers includes a vesting option that will guarantee the 39-year-old left-hander $3.5 million in 2011 if he makes 59 appearances in 2010.

The right-handed Rodney, who held opposing hitters to a .207 average last season, would add considerable depth, giving Manager Mike Scioscia another closing option should Brian Fuentes falter or be unavailable.

-- Mike DiGiovanna Pitcher Javy Vazquez has been traded back to the New York Yankees by Atlanta in a swap that sent Melky Cabrera to the Braves. New York also gets left-hander Boone Logan as part of the deal, and the Braves obtained pitching prospects Mike Dunn, a lefty, and right-hander Arodys Vizcaino, and about $500,000. . . . Major League Baseball and its umpires have completed negotiations for a new labor contract and are likely to announce an agreement today, a person familiar with the talks told the Associated Press. The sides worked into Tuesday evening to reach the deal. Owners and umpires hope to ratify the agreement next month.


Williams wins AP athlete award

Playing her best at the most important events, Serena Williams re-established herself as the top player in women’s tennis in 2009 and was a landslide choice as female athlete of the year by members of the Associated Press.

Williams received 66 of 158 votes cast by editors at U.S. newspapers that are members of the AP. No other candidate got more than 18 votes in the tally.

Clearly, Williams’ most infamous on-court episode -- a tirade directed at a line judge after a foot-fault call near the end of her U.S. Open semifinal loss -- didn’t hurt her standing in the eyes of the voters.


Namath sued over dog attack

A former UPS driver has sued Joe Namath, alleging he was attacked by the Hall of Fame quarterback’s dogs while making a delivery at his Florida home.

Attorneys for David Gunter say he hasn’t been able to work since the 2007 incident in Tequesta, about 90 miles north of Miami. Lawyer Steven Slootsky says Gunter required four surgeries after suffering injuries to his neck, back and knee.

A woman has pleaded not guilty to new charges, including retaliating against a witness, related to an alleged extortion attempt of University of Louisville basketball Coach Rick Pitino. Karen Cunagin Sypher’s attorney, James Earhart, entered the not guilty plea, a month after a federal grand jury handed up a second indictment against her.


Hundreds mourn Bengals’ Henry

The Cincinnati Bengals and hundreds of others mourned the unexpected loss of receiver Chris Henry, who was killed when he fell out of a pickup truck bed during what police described as a domestic dispute.

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and Coach Marvin Lewis delivered eulogies at the service, which was held in Westwego, La.

Real Madrid has signed NBA player Marko Jaric for the remainder of the Spanish league season. The 6-foot-7 guard has not played for the Memphis Grizzlies this season. . . . Bode Miller will skip the upcoming downhill in Bormio, Italy, and head back to the United States to let his sprained ankle heal and concentrate on his fitness. . . . Landon Donovan has been given the work permit he needs to play in Britain during his loan at Premier League club Everton.