Rangers reportedly paid record price for Darvish

The Texas Rangers have 30 days to reach a contract agreement with Yu Darvish after winning negotiating rights for the Japanese pitcher.

While the Rangers didn’t disclose the amount of the winning bid to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Yahoo Sports said it was a record $51.7 million. The highest previous negotiating fee for a Japanese player was the $51.1 million the Boston Red Sox bid in 2007 for Daisuke Matsuzaka.

The Rangers, who were beaten in the World Series the past two seasons, lost their top starting pitcher, C.J. Wilson, as a free agent to the Angels earlier this month.

Darvish, 25, had a 1.44 ERA last season while leading Japan’s Pacific League with 276 strikeouts in 232 innings. His fastball usually reaches 95 mph, according to Ben Badler, an analyst for Baseball America.

“He has better stuff and projects better going forward than any pitcher who is a free agent this year,” Badler said.


ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Abby Wambach’s dramatic performance at the World Cup made her the clear choice for the 2011 Female Athlete of the Year in the U.S., selected by members of The Associated Press. The U.S. forward received 65 of the 214 votes cast, while teammate Hope Solo (38) was a distant second.

Wambach is the first individual soccer player — man or woman — to win one of the AP’s annual sports awards, which began in 1931.

The U.S. women’s team won in 1999, when its World Cup triumph at the Rose Bowl transfixed the nation.

Wambach, 31, scored four goals in the tournament, giving her 13 in three World Cup appearances. That’s the most by an American, topping Michelle Akers by one, and puts her third on the all-time World Cup scoring list behind Brazil’s Marta and Germany’s Birgit Prinz.

MLS: David Beckham’s management company says reports out of France that he has agreed to a deal with Paris Saint-Germain are premature.

XIX Entertainment confirmed the 36-year-old has been in talks with the French club, but said he may also stay with Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Galaxy.


NBA: Reigning MVP Derrick Rose has agreed to a five-year extension with the Chicago Bulls worth about $94 million, according to a person familiar with the situation.

In three seasons Rose has gone from Rookie of the Year to All-Star to MVP, becoming the youngest player ever to win that award.


AHL: Portland Pirates left wing Ryan Hollweg has been suspended for one game following two 10-minute penalties Sunday against the St. John’s IceCaps.

With 1:50 left in the third period, Hollweg received a 10-minute misconduct penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute game misconduct for abuse of officials.

Hollweg will miss Monday night’s game against the Worcester Sharks.

NHL: The Los Angeles Kings have named Darryl Sutter as head coach, replacing the fired Terry Murray.

Sutter, 53, takes over an underachieving 15-14-4 team that began Tuesday three points out of a playoff spot with the second-fewest goals in the league.

This will be Sutter’s 13th season as an NHL head coach. He has a career record of 409-320-131 in the regular season and 47-54 in the playoffs.

Marian Gaborik snapped a third-period tie with the first of his two goals and then sealed New York’s win with an empty-netter as the visiting Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils, 4-1.

Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom scored first-period goals, Alexander Semin added a third-period goal, and Michal Neuvirth stopped 20 shots as the Capitals defeated the Predators 4-1 in Washington.

Erik Condra combined with newly acquired Ottawa center Kyle Turris on the first of Condra’s two goals and lifted the Senators over the Sabres 4-1 in Ottawa.

Evgeni Malkin had three assists to move into a tie for the NHL scoring lead and the Penguins snapped the Blackhawks’ five-game winning streak with a 3-2 win in Pittsburgh.

Radim Vrbata and Ray Whitney scored to lift the visiting Coyotes over the Panthers 2-1 and give Phoenix a second win in six games.

— From news service reports