Moustakas, Royals agree to two-year, $14.3 million deal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas agreed Thursday to a $14.3 million, two-year contract that not only avoids arbitration this year but also buys out his final year.

The 27-year-old hit .284 last year with 34 doubles, 22 homers and 82 RBIs while also setting career highs in on base percentage and slugging as he made his first All-Star appearance.

Kansas City offered $4.2 million and Moustakas countered with $7 million. The sides settled on $5.6 million this season and $8.7 million next season, keeping General Manager Dayton Moore's streak of never having taken a case to an arbitration hearing intact.

All of the Royals' arbitration eligible players are under contract for this season.

Moustakas has been considered one of the franchise cornerstones ever since he was a first-round pick in the 2007 draft. But after a rapid rise to the major leagues, he went through long periods of disappointment, culminating with a .212 average, 15 homers and 54 RBIs two years ago.

Rather than sulk, Moustakas spent much of the offseason making minor adjustments to his swing, and he was rewarded with easily the best offensive season of his career.

His new contract only solidifies what many view as a two year window for the Royals to win another World Series.

Moustakas will be a free agent in 2018, along with first baseman Eric Hosmer, center fielder Lorenzo Cain, shortstop Alcides Escobar, starting pitcher Jason Vargas and closer Wade Davis.

In other news:

The Braves signed former Mets reliever Carlos Torres to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

The Pirates signed former Padres pitcher Cory Luebke to a minor league contract.

San Diego also hired Hideo Nomo as an adviser to baseball operations to help expand its presence in the Pacific Rim.

Nomo was the first Japanese player to permanently move to the big leagues, leading the way for more than 50 other players to follow.


Raiders agree to stadium lease for 2016 season

OAKLAND, Calif. — Four weeks after being stymied in their effort to move to Los Angeles, the Raiders agreed to a one-year lease extension on Thursday to remain at the Coliseum through the 2016 season — and possibly beyond.

Raiders owner Mark Davis, who had been mulling multiple options to move his team since being passed over by the NFL's other owners to relocate to Southern California, called the deal a "win-win" for both sides.

"It gives us an opportunity to work on a permanent facility for the Raiders here in Oakland," Davis told reporters. "It gives us some certainty for this season as well as flexibility for the following two seasons."

The agreement with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority guarantees that the Raiders will play the 2016 season in the same stadium they have called home since 1995. It also carries two one-year team options.

The deal still needs approval of the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Both are expected to meet to discuss the terms of the agreement within the next two weeks.

In other news:

Colts coach Chuck Pagano completed his revamped coaching staff, promoting Tim Berbenich to offensive assistant and assistant quarterbacks coach and naming Jim Hostler tight ends coach.

The Lions signed linebacker Jerry Franklin.

The Giants hired former Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew as their director of football operations/special projects.


Rose has strong showing in Pebble Beach debut

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Justin Rose, a U.S. Open champion and the No. 7 player in the world, shot a 6-under 66 his first time playing Spyglass Hill and spent a gorgeous day listening to the fans call out his name. Except they weren't calling for him, and he knew it.

His partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is Justin Timberlake.

"I've never seen a demographic like that on a golf course where you're sort of running the gauntlet from one tee to the other. Everyone was under 21 and 80 percent female," Rose said. "I said, 'OK, that moved the needle a little bit there.'"

Rose did OK himself Thursday.

He got off to a strong start in his debut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where Chez Reavie had the low score at a tournament that needs three days to sort out because of the variety of courses.

Reavie made an eagle on the 16th hole and shot 8-under 63 at Monterey Peninsula, which played just more than 1 1/2 strokes under par and was the easiest of the three courses.

Freddie Jacobson made five birdies in a six-hole stretch and shot 7-under 65 at Pebble Beach, the only course to play over par (72.06) on Thursday.

Cameron Smith and Bronson Burgoon each had a 7-under 64 at Monterey Peninsula.

Rose is among six players from the top 10 in the world, and the only one of them to break 70. This is his first time playing the Pebble Beach ProAm, partly because he chose not to play in the Middle East swing on the European Tour, and partly because of a partner (Timberlake) whom he has come to know over the years.

In other news:

Justin Harding shot a 7-under 63 to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the European Tour's Tshwane Open at Pretoria, South Africa.


NASCAR creates 'overtime line' in new rules for finish

DAYTONA, Fla. — NASCAR has revamped its overtime procedure, moving to an unlimited green-white-checkered finish and establishing an "overtime line" to determine the race winner.

The arbitrary OT line will vary by track. If the race leader passes the overtime line on the first lap under green before a caution comes out, it will be considered a valid green-white-checkered attempt. If a caution comes out before the leader passes the overtime line on the first lap under green, it will not be a valid attempt.

The race will continue until there is valid attempt. NASCAR previously had a limit of three tries to complete the race.


Bluejays open season with split at tournament

TEMPE, Arizona — The Creighton softball team opened its season Thursday by splitting a pair of games at the Kajikawa Classic, falling 5-0 to No. 8 Tennessee before bouncing back for a 9-6 win against Boise State.

In the win against the Broncos, The Bluejays (1-1) jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings.

Blake Ringles had a two-run double during the early outburst, and, after Boise State had closed within 7-6, Allie Reinhart added a two-run single in the fifth to seal the victory.

Sydnee Eck earned the win for the Bluejays, allowing one earned run in two innings.

Against Tennessee, Creighton was held to three hits by Vols starter Erin Gabriel.

The Jays continue play at the Kajikawa Classic on Friday, facing Cal State Northridge at 10 a.m. and UC Riverside at 12:30 p.m.

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