Angels, Joe Saunders agree to one-year deal

Staff And Wire Reports

The Angels and left-hander Joe Saunders avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a one-year, $3.7-million contract Friday.

Saunders, 28, the winningest left-hander in the American League over the last two seasons with a 33-14 record, had asked for $3.85 million when he and the club exchanged arbitration figures last week. The Angels countered with a $3.6-million offer.

Saunders’ new deal also includes a $25,000 bonus for 180 innings pitched and another $25,000 if he reaches 200 innings. An All-Star in 2008, Saunders averaged 192 innings over the last two seasons. He made $475,000 last season.

With the loss of right-hander John Lackey to free agency and the Boston Red Sox, Saunders and right-hander Jered Weaver will be counted on to anchor the Angels’ rotation this season in what has suddenly become a competitive AL West.


The agreement between Saunders and the Angels leaves two arbitration-eligible players -- shortstop Erick Aybar and catcher Jeff Mathis -- still without a contract. Aybar, who hit a career-best .312 in 137 games last season, is asking for $2.75 million, nearly a million more than the club’s offer. Mathis, a standout defensively, is seeking $1.3 million, nearly double what the Angels want to pay.

-- Kevin Baxter Texas Rangers right-hander Scott Feldman, a 17-game winner last season, agreed to a one-year contract worth $2,425,000 and avoided an arbitration hearing.


White wins his third straight title


Shaun White successfully landed his most difficult trick to win his third straight title at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., only about an hour after clipping his face against the top of the halfpipe while trying the same move in practice.

The 2006 Olympic gold medalist pulled off his newly patented Double McTwist 1260 in the first run of the superpipe finals to score a 95.33 -- 1.67 points better than Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland.

In practice for the finals, White hit his face on the halfpipe as he was trying to complete the trick, snapping his head back and sending his helmet flying. He left the pipe under his own power, suffering an abrasion to the left side of his face.

Lindsey Vonn extended her lead in the overall World Cup standings, skiing a cautious slalom run to finish third in a super combined won by Sweden’s Anja Paerson at St. Moritz, Switzerland.


Vonn earned 60 World Cup points to build a 116-point lead over Germany’s Maria Riesch.

Ted Ligety won a World Cup race for the first time this season, capturing a giant slalom at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

The American finished the Pokoren 3 course in a combined time of 2 minutes 22.02 seconds to win the event for a third straight year. It was the fifth victory of his career.



Cox suspended over doping at Athens

A member of the 1,600-meter gold-medal relay team at the Athens Olympics accepted a four-year suspension and disqualification of her results for doping.

Crystal Cox, who ran in the preliminaries for the American team led by Sanya Richards, admitted to using anabolic steroids and agreed to the penalty Friday, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said.

She almost certainly will have her gold medal stripped, while the consequences for her teammates aren’t yet known.


Richards ran the final along with Dee Dee Trotter, Monique Henderson and Monique Hennegan. Moushaumi Robinson joined Cox in the preliminary heat.

Mike Fagan earned top qualifier honors for Sunday’s stepladder finals of the PBA’s One A Day Dick Weber Open at Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley. Also advancing were Walter Ray Williams Jr., Pete Weber, Ryan Shafer and Bill O’Neill.