Josh Hamilton thought back to the days when his career was derailed by drugs and alcohol.
"I would say a 99% chance that this would never happen," he said. "I mean, honestly, I think a lot of people would agree with that."
In one of baseball's most inspirational turnarounds, the Texas Rangers outfielder was a runaway winner of the American League's Most Valuable Player award Tuesday. Hamilton received 22 first-place votes and 358 points from the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America.
Hamilton overcame eight trips to rehabilitation for addiction to lead the major leagues in batting average (.359) and slugging percentage (.633) and help the Rangers reach their first World Series. He had 32 homers and 100 RBIs despite missing time nearly all of September because of two broken ribs.
After going on the disabled list in 2001 while in the minors, he became addicted to alcohol and cocaine. He didn't play from 2003 to 2005.
As expected, the Angels did not offer salary arbitration Tuesday to free-agent designated hitter Hideki Matsui, who batted .274 with 21 home runs and 84 runs batted in this past season. Reliever Scot Shields, the team's only other free agent, is not expected to be offered salary arbitration either.
Tuesday's decision does not prevent the Angels re-signing Matsui, who led the major leagues with a .371 average (43 for 116) from Aug. 14 through the end of the season. But the chances of the 36-year-old slugger returning to Anaheim appear remote.
— Mike DiGiovanna
The Dodgers declined to offer arbitration to their three Type B free agents — outfielder Scott Podsednik, pitcher Vicente Padilla and catcher Rod Barajas. Though the Dodgers passed an opportunity to receive compensatory draft picks if any of the three players sign elsewhere, they also eliminated the possibility of retaining any of them on costly one-year contracts determined by the arbitration system. In arbitration, the players would likely have received significant raises from their 2010 salaries — $1.65 million for Podsednik, $5.025 million for Padilla and $500,000 for Barajas.
— Dylan Hernandez
Martinez hit .302 with 20 homers in 127 games last season with Boston. He started 106 games at catcher and also can play first base. The Tigers might use him as a designated hitter.
Aubrey Huff agreed to a $22-million, two-year deal to stay with San Francisco Giants. The first baseman receives $10 million in each of the next two seasons, and the Giants have a $10 million club option for 2013 with a $2-million buyout.
The Yankees declined to offer salary arbitration to captain Derek Jeter.
Heat signs Dampier to replace injured Haslem
Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem may miss the remainder of the regular season after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left foot, and free agent Erick Dampier has been signed to help fill the void that creates.
Haslem had surgery Tuesday, the same day Dampier took a physical with the Heat
To make room for Dampier, the Heat waived guard Jerry Stackhouse.
The Ducks acquired forwards Stefan Chaput and Matt Kennedy from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for center Ryan Carter. Carter, who made his NHL debut during the Ducks' 2007 Stanley Cup championship playoff run, was placed on waivers Monday for the second time in four months. He had cleared waivers before the trade was announced.
— Austin Knoblauch
Playing like the Roger Federer of old, the 16-time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland easily beat Andy Murray, 6-4, 6-2, at the ATP World Tour Finals.
The second-ranked Federer stretched his record to 2-0 at the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world, but has still not advanced to the semifinals from Group B.
Murray dropped to 1-1 and will have to improve if he is to reach the semifinals. He will face Ferrer in his final match Thursday while Soderling takes on Federer.
Joe Paterno plans to return as Penn State coach next season, ending the latest round of speculation about retirement.
Major college football's winningest coach said Tuesday at Beaver Stadium he hadn't even given thought to leaving a job he's held a record 45 seasons. He turns 84 on Dec. 21.
Pacquiao still packs a ratings wallop
Manny Pacquiao's record eighth weight-class world title drew 1.15 million pay-per-view buyers, HBO announced, giving the Filipino star boxer a million-seller in three consecutive years.
Pacquiao's Nov. 13 unanimous decision over Tijuana's Antonio Margarito in a junior-middleweight bout at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, created $64 million in pay-per-view revenue, on top of gate sales generated by the 41,000 in attendance.
Pacquiao's last five fights have resulted in 5.1 million buys, including his 2008 ninth-round stoppage of Oscar De La Hoya (1.25 million buys) and his November 2009 victory over Miguel Cotto (1.2 million buys).
— Lance Pugmire
Miami of Ohio beats Temple, 23-3
Thomas Merriweather scored on a 96-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as Miami of Ohio blew out Temple 23-3 on in Mid-American Conference action and clinched a share of the Eastern Division title.