Almost exactly 12 months after agreeing to stay with the Washington Nationals on a one-year deal, Ryan Zimmerman did so again Friday — for $1 million plus incentives — according to three people with knowledge of the terms. He helped the franchise win its first World Series title in 2019, but did not play last year, opting out of the season because of concerns about his family’s health amid the coronavirus pandemic. Zimmerman’s mother has multiple sclerosis; he and his wife had their third child last year. The first baseman has been with the Nationals since they drafted him in June 2005. At 36, Zimmerman will back up Josh Bell and provide a righthanded bat off Manager Dave Martinez’s bench. He signed for one year and $2 million this past January before opting out of the season because of coronavirus concerns. Then he became a free agent for the second straight winter, and only the second time in his 15-year career . . . Jurickson Profar is staying with the San Diego Padres, agreeing to a $21 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press. Profar, who turns 28 on Feb. 20, was acquired by San Diego from Oakland in December 2019 and hit a career-best .278 in the pandemic-shortened season with seven homers and 25 RBIs. He mostly split time at second base and left field. He earned $2,111,111 in prorated pay from a $5.7 million salary . . . Catcher Jason Castro and the Houston Astros finalized a $7 million, two-year contract. This will be the 33-year-old Castro’s second stint with the team after he was selected in the first round of the 2008 and spent his first six MLB seasons with the team . . . The Blue Jays finalized a $5.5 million, one-year contract with righthander Kirby Yates and a $3 million, one-year deal with righthander Tyler Chatwood. Yates, who turns 34 on March 25, is coming off surgery in August to remove bone chips from his right elbow. He led the major leagues in saves in 2019 with 41 for San Diego and earned a place on the National League All-Star team. Chatwood, 31, went 2-2 with a 5.30 ERA in five starts with the Cubs last year. He missed most of 2014 and all of 2015 following Tommy John surgery . . . The Cubs added a veteran catcher, agreeing to a $1.5 million, one-year contract with 32-year-old Austin Romine, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told the AP.
Hatton cruising in Abu Dhabi
Tyrrell Hatton moved five shots ahead of Rory McIlroy in the second round of the Abu Dhabi Championship. The Englishman eagled the second hole and later added four consecutive birdies before play was halted because of fading light after his tee shot on the 14th. He was at 12 under overall when play was stopped. McIlroy, at 7 under overall and 1 over on the day, birdied the first and third holes but double-bogeyed the par-4 fifth to go with three other bogeys. The second round will restart Saturday morning with McIlroy and Romain Langasque tied for second with finishers Jason Scrivener (70) and Jazz Janewattananond (69) . . . Danielle Kang continued to sail along at the LPGA Tour’s season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, shooting a 6-under 65 to stretch her lead to two shots in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Kang has yet to make a bogey as she finished at 13-under 129. Nelly Korda, at No. 4 the top-ranked player in the 25-woman, winners-only field, was second after a 66. In Gee Chun and defending champion Gaby Lopez were four strokes back at 9 under . . . Sungjae Im shot a 7-under 65 at The American Express to take a one-stroke lead over first-round leader Brandon Hagy and four others in La Quinta, Calif. Im, the 22-year-old South Korean who was the PGA Tour’s rookie of the year in 2019, had seven birdies in the bogey-free round, highlighted by three in four holes around the turn. Hagy was in position to join Im at 11 under, but he bogeyed his final hole with a tee shot into the fairway bunker to finish his 70. Nick Taylor (66), Si Woo Kim (68), Tony Finau (66), and Abraham Ancer (65) also were 10 under. Tournament host Phil Mickelson made 18 pars for the first time in his 2,201 rounds of PGA Tour play. The 50-year-old missed the cut at 2 over.
Cavaliers ship Porter to Houston
Kevin Porter quickly went from being a future star with the Cavaliers to part of their past. Cleveland completed its trade with Houston on Friday, sending Porter to the Rockets for a second-round draft pick, a deal the Cavaliers had no choice to make after running out of patience with a player they once viewed as a possible franchise cornerstone. The teams agreed to the swap Thursday night, less than a week after Porter’s outburst in Cleveland’s locker room convinced the team it had to part with the 20-year-old. “After careful and thoughtful evaluation, we made the very difficult and collective decision to make this trade,” Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman said. “Given the culture and environment we have worked to cultivate here in Cleveland, we feel this move is in everyone’s best interest.” The Cavaliers positioned themselves to draft Porter in 2019, selecting with with the No. 30 pick after he slid past numerous teams who were scared off by his issues while at USC. Porter was accused of punching a woman in August, and two months later sent the Cavaliers looking to help him after a cryptic Instagram posting. Porter was arrested on gun and marijuana possession charges in November following a single-car accident. Those charges were eventually dropped . . . The Washington Wizards resolved at least one of their major headaches and bolstered a thin frontcourt by reaching a deal with Alex Len. The 27-year-old center, whom Toronto released Tuesday, will sign a one-year minimum deal, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. The Wizards are Len’s fourth team in the past two seasons. The 7-footer gives Washington much-needed depth after the team lost starter Thomas Bryant for the season after a partial ACL tear.
Thornton sidelined by rib injury
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joe Thornton will miss at least four weeks because of a fractured rib. He was hurt during Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Oilers. He has been placed on long-term injured reserve, a move that helps the team’s salary-cap situation . . . The Winnipeg Jets placed forwards Patrik Laine and Nate Thompson on injured reserve. Laine has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury. Laine, the second overall pick in the 2016 draft, had two goals and an assist in the Jets’ season-opening game before being sidelined. Thompson suffered a lower-body injury Thursday in a win over the Senators.
Crashes mar World Cup downhill
After four second-place finishes, Swiss skier Beat Feuz finally got his first win in the classic men’s World Cup downhill on the Streif course in Kitzbuhel, Austria. His victory, however, was bittersweet because teammate Urs Kryenbühl crashed badly on the final jump and was taken to the hospital by helicopter and American skier Ryan Cochran-Siegle also was injured in an accident. The Swiss ski team said Kryenbühl sustained a concussion, a broken right collarbone, and torn ligaments in his right knee. Cochran-Siegle, who hails from Starksboro, Vt., crashed a bit higher up the course. The US ski team said he has “a minor cervical fracture.” Cochran-Siegle, who won his first World Cup race in Italy in December, posted the fastest time in training on the Streif on Wednesday . . . Olympic champion Sofia Goggia won the World Cup downhill race and emerging American star Breezy Johnson was third in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. The two downhill standouts of this season have now shared a podium in all four of the marquee speed races so far. Goggia raced through swirling winds at Crans-Montana to seal her third straight downhill win 0.20 seconds ahead of Ester Ledecka, who is an Olympic champion in Alpine skiing and snowboarding. Three-time overall champion Mikaela Shiffrin is skipping the three speed races in Crans-Montana to focus on her favored slalom and giant slalom events.
NBCSN to be switched off
NBC will shutter its cable sports network by the end of this year, NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua wrote to employees in a memo Friday, altering the cable sports landscape as cord-cutting upends traditional sports viewership and media companies pivot to streaming. NBC Sports Network broadcasts the NHL, Tour de France, and Premier League, among other live sports. Key programming from the network will be moved to USA Network, another NBC-owned cable network, as well as the company’s new streaming service, Peacock, according to the memo. NBC Sports Network will continue operations through this summer and and will air the summer Olympics, if they take place. The current NHL rights agreement expires at the end of this season. The negotiations to extend those rights are ongoing . . . The Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference halted its plan to hold its fall sports this spring. The eight MASCAC presidents cited the high risk of COVID-19 spreading through campuses as the main reason for the cancellation . . . Jordan Morris of the US men’s team was loaned from Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders to the Welsh club Swansea of the second-tier English Championship for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. Morris joins a team that is second place, 7 points behind Norwich — but the top two clubs at the end of the season receive automatic promotion to the Premier League. Swansea was last in the Premier League during the 2017-18 season. Morris, the MLS newcomer of the year in 2016, has 41 goals 23 assists in 121 appearances for the Sounders since signing with the club in 2016 . . . Five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray withdrew from the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, saying he could not figure out a workable quarantine that would allow him to compete amid the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement comes a little more than a week after Murray, who has won three Grand Slam singles titles elsewhere, said he tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before he was due to board a charter flight to Melbourne.