Ex-Ray JASO Joins PIRATES
Free agent John Jaso and the Pirates agreed Wednesday to an $8 million, two-year deal. Jaso, 32, spent last season with the Rays, hitting .286 with five homers and 22 RBIs in 216 plate appearances. He sprained his left wrist in the first inning on opening day and did not return until July 7. He hit .321 (17-for-53) in his last 22 games. A left-handed hitter, Jaso has a .263 average with 37 homers and 204 RBIs in seven big-league seasons with Tampa Bay, Seattle and Oakland. He has played mostly catcher and in the outfield, but the Pirates plan on using him at first base, a position he has played in just two big-league games. Pedro Alvarez, who shifted from third to first last season, became a free agent when Pittsburgh declined to offer him a 2016 contract.
Cubs: Left-hander Edgar Olmos, who spent most of last season in Triple A, was claimed off waivers from the Orioles, and recently acquired infielder Brendan Ryan was released. Ryan was acquired from the Yankees in the deal that sent infielder Starlin Castro to New York for pitcher Adam Warren this month.
ORIOLES: South Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, 28, finalized a $7 million, two-year deal.
Man U coach walks out
Louis van Gaal walked out of a news conference, becoming annoyed about speculation regarding his future as Manchester United manager. Reports have spread that the Dutchman is about to be fired and replaced by Jose Mourinho, who was recently dismissed by Chelsea. "I think I was already sacked," van Gaal said sarcastically. "I read I have been sacked." After less than five minutes, van Gaal, 64, walked out. "Do you think I want to talk with the media now? I'm here only because of the Premier League rules I have to talk with you," he said. Man U, owned by the Glazer family that owns the Bucs, is fifth in the EPL and is on a six-game winless run. It was clear from the start that van Gaal, halfway through his three-year deal, was upset. "Has anybody in this room not a feeling to apologize to me? That's what I'm wondering," he snapped after being asked about Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's comments that van Gaal's treatment had been "disrespectful."
TENNIS: Two-time French Open finalist Robin Soderling, 31, is retiring due to illness. The Swede, who ended Rafael Nadal's 31-match winning streak at the French in 2009, never has fully recovered from contracting glandular fever in 2011, when he last played competitively.
YACHTING: Forecast southerly winds of up to 40 mph will create a blustery first night for 109 boats entered in the Sydney to Hobart race that begins Saturday in Australia. The race was hit by gales and huge seas on the first night in 1998 when six sailors died. The 628-nautical-mile race is across Bass Strait to the Tasmanian state capital.