Sports in brief

BASEBALL

Indians land Swisher

CLEVELAND — A pitch to bring Nick Swisher "home" worked, the former Yankees outfielder agreeing to a $56 million, four-year contract with the Indians, who used the free agent's deep Ohio connections to convince him to join the club, the Associated Press reported Sunday.

Swisher, 32, must take a physical before the deal can be finalized, and an announcement is expected after Christmas.

"Wow! What a crazy few weeks. Hey Cleveland! Are you ready? Because I'm coming home!" he wrote on Twitter.

Swisher, who is expected to play rightfield, was born in Columbus and played at Ohio State. When he visited Progressive Field last week, he saw a video presentation that featured messages from Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer and basketball coach Thad Matta, who urged him to sign with the Indians.

More Baseball

Freel had a history of head injuries

Ryan Freel, who was found dead Saturday in his Jacksonville home with a gunshot wound, had his career cut short after eight seasons because of injuries that included concussions.

Authorities are investigating Freel's death as a possible suicide. A medical examiner will make the final determination of the cause of death.

The 36-year-old Florida native, who played with five major-league teams and was with the Rays' Triple-A Durham affiliate in 2002, once estimated he'd sustained up to 10 concussions.

Freel drew attention in 2006 when he was quoted by the Dayton Daily News as saying he had an imaginary friend, Farney. "He's a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him," Freel was quoted as saying. "Everybody thinks I talk to myself, so I tell 'em I'm talking to Farney."

More Indians: The club agreed to terms with former Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir on a minor-league deal, pending a physical.

CYCLING

British paper sues Armstrong for $1.5M

Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life, is being sued for more than $1.5 million by London's Sunday Times over the settlement of a libel action, which followed doping allegations against the cyclist that it published.

The newspaper paid Armstrong about $485,000 in 2006 to settle a case after it reprinted claims from a book in 2004 that he took performance-enhancing drugs. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency concluded this year that Armstrong led a doping program.

The newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., wants a return of the settlement payment plus interest, as well as its court costs.

ET CETERA

Soccer: Chelsea, undergoing a revival since Rafa Benitez took over as manager last month, moved to third in the English Premier League standings as seven players scored against American goalkeeper Brad Guzan in an 8-0 win over Aston Villa. … Manchester United's five-game Premier League winning streak ended when Swansea earned a 1-1 tie.

Times wires

Sports in brief 12/23/12 [Last modified: Sunday, December 23, 2012 10:06pm]

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