Padres' Bud Black, Twins' Ron Gardenhire voted baseball's top managers

Bud Black hung on to win this race. Ron Gardenhire became a first-time Manager of the Year, too, after so many near misses.

A month after his San Diego Padres were knocked out of the playoff chase on the final day, Black edged the Cincinnati Reds' Dusty Baker by one point for the National League award Wednesday.

"I guess this vote was sort of like our season, it came down to the wire," Black said.

Gardenhire was the clear choice in the American League, earning the honor after five times as the runner-up. He led Minnesota to its sixth AL Central title in nine seasons.

Black was selected after guiding San Diego to a 15-game turnaround despite the second-lowest payroll in the majors. The Padres finished 90-72 and led the NL West until a late 10-game slump and then a loss to the San Francisco Giants on the last day of the season eliminated them.

Black drew 16 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America and got 104 points. Baker had 13 first-place votes and 103 points.

Bruce Bochy of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, the Atlanta Braves' Bobby Cox, who retired at the end of the season, and the Philadelphia Phillies' Charlie Manuel got the other first-place votes.

Gardenhire drew 16 first-place votes and 108 points, and he was the only AL manager listed on all 28 ballots.

Ron Washington, who started the year with a cocaine admission and ended it with the Texas Rangers' first trip to the World Series, was next in the AL with 10 first-place votes and 81 points. The Tampa Bay Rays' Joe Maddon and the Toronto Blue Jays' Cito Gaston, who retired after the season, drew the other first-place votes.

Black moved the Padres within one win of a playoff berth for the second time in his four seasons. In his first season as manager, in 2007, the Padres lost a 13-inning wild-card tiebreaker game at Colorado.

All-Star catcher John Buck and the Florida Marlins finalized an $18-million, three-year contract.

Buck passed his physical Wednesday and the deal was completed a day after the sides agreed to terms. He gets a $1.5-million signing bonus, $4.5 million next season and $6 million each in 2012 and 2013.

Buck was a first-time All-Star this year, when he hit .281 with 20 home runs and 66 runs batted in for Toronto.

A person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press that reliever Joaquin Benoit and the Detroit Tigers reached a preliminary agreement on a $16.5-million, three-year contract.

The 33-year-old right-hander was 1-2 with a 1.34 earned-run average and 75 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings this year as setup man for Rafael Soriano, who also became a free agent.

Hockey: Calgary trades Brett Sutter and Ian White to Carolina for Anton Babchuk and Tom Kostopoulos

The Carolina Hurricanes acquired forward Brett Sutter and defenseman Ian White from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Anton Babchuk and forward Tom Kostopoulos.

Sutter was traded roughly a week after he got into a fight outside an Arizona bar and was jailed briefly on suspicion of assault. He is the son of Flames General Manager Darryl Sutter, the nephew of Calgary Coach Brent Sutter and the cousin of Carolina alternate captain Brandon Sutter — Brent's son.

Brett Sutter was sent Monday to the Flames' American Hockey League affiliate in Abbottsford, Canada. The Hurricanes said he will report to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte, N.C.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender J.S. Giguere is expected to sit out one to two weeks because of a groin strain. Giguere pulled himself from Tuesday's 5-4 victory over Nashville after experiencing discomfort.

NBA: Portland's Greg Oden to have knee surgery, will sit out season

Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden will have microfracture surgery on his left knee and will not play this season.

Oden has not played since last December because he needed surgery on a broken left kneecap.

The Blazers said the microfracture surgery will repair damaged cartilage and is unrelated to the kneecap injury.

Oden, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, sat out his rookie season because of microfracture surgery on his right knee. The 7-footer has played in 82 games over parts of two seasons, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.

Horse racing: Zenyatta to retire in Kentucky

Zenyatta is headed to retirement in Kentucky. The 6-year-old mare whose narrow loss in the Breeders' Cup Classic left her with a 19-1 career record will be boarded at Lane's End Farm near Versailles, Ky. She is expected to arrive in early December. The farm said in a statement that breeding plans have not been finalized for the mare, who was based in California during her career.

Zenyatta won 19 of 20 races with her lone defeat to Blame by a head in the Classic at Churchill Downs. She set a North American earnings record for female horses with more than $7.3 million and won Eclipse Awards as champion older mare in 2008 and 2009.

Swimming: Mark Schubert says he was fired as U.S. swim team coach, doesn't say why

Fighting back tears, Mark Schubert said he was totally caught off guard by his firing as coach of the U.S. national swim team and is "ready to go back to work."

He still isn't saying why he was dismissed.

Schubert and his attorney, Michael Bernstein, held a news conference at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that cleared up one thing — the coach was definitely given a pink slip by USA Swimming — but left many questions unanswered.

Most notably, why was Schubert fired?

The governing body has steadfastly maintained that Schubert's departure is a private personnel matter. In fact, USA Swimming has never said directly that he was fired.

In mid-September, Schubert was placed on a 60-day leave, with no reasons given for the surprising move. The AP reported last week that Schubert would not return to his post, and the organization confirmed Tuesday in a news release it was "parting ways" with Schubert.

Boxing: Antonio Margarito out of hospital after surgery

Antonio Margarito was released from Methodist Hospital in Dallas, where he had surgery on the orbital bone of his right eye that was broken during his loss Saturday to Manny Pacquiao.

Margarito had surgery Tuesday and was released from the hospital early Wednesday. He planned to fly home to Los Angeles.

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