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Updated Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 09:18 PM

Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians reportedly agree on $56 million, 4-year deal | Baseball

Baseball

Report: Swisher, Indians agree

on $56 million, 4-year contract

The Cleveland Indians' pitch to bring Nick Swisher "home" seemingly has worked.

Two people familiar with the negotiations said Swisher has agreed to a $56 million, four-year contract with the Indians, who used the free-agent outfielder and first baseman's deep Ohio connections to convince him to join the team.

The sources spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because Swisher, 32, must take a physical before the deal can be finalized. Indians officials are expected to announce Swisher's signing after Christmas, one of the sources said.

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

Swisher's deal includes a $14 million option for 2017 that could become guaranteed based on plate appearances the previous season. He was born in Columbus and played at Ohio State.

Swisher, a switch-hitter, spent the last four seasons with the New York Yankees. He hit .272 with 24 home runs and 93 runs batted in this year, though he hit .167 (5 for 30) with two RBI in eight postseason games. Swisher's career postseason average is .169 (26 for 154).

Swisher is projected to play right field for the Indians, replacing Shin-Soo Choo — who went to Cincinnati in a three-team trade this month.

Cleveland will lose its second-round pick in next year's amateur draft as compensation for signing Swisher, and the Yankees will get an extra selection after the first round.

Cycling

Newspaper sues Armstrong

Lance Armstrong is being sued for more than $1.5 million by a British newspaper over the settlement of a libel action that came after doping allegations against Armstrong it published.

The Sunday Times paid Armstrong 300,000 pounds (now 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 Armstrong led a massive doping program on his teams. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life.

The Sunday Times announced in an article it has issued legal papers against Armstrong, 41.

"It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent," the paper said in a letter to Armstrong's lawyers. "Your representations that you had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false."

The paper, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., said its total claim against Armstrong is "likely to exceed" 1 million pounds (about $1.62 million).

"The Sunday Times is now demanding a return of the settlement payment plus interest, as well as its costs in defending the case," the letter said.

Soccer

Man U settles for a draw on road

English Premier League leader Manchester United dropped points in the title race with a 1-1 draw at Swansea and third-place Chelsea routed Aston Villa 8-0.

Patrice Evra put Man U ahead in the 16th minute when he headed Robin van Persie's corner kick past goalkeeper Michel Vorm. Michu closed out scoring in the 29th minute.

Manchester United (14-3-1) leads defending champion Manchester City (11-1-6) by four points and Chelsea (9-3-5) by 11 points.

Tempers flared late when Swansea captain Ashley Williams cleared the ball and hit van Persie in the head while the Man U player was on the ground. Van Persie reacted angrily and squared up to Williams, with referee Michael Oliver giving yellow cards to both players.

"The van Persie situation, you can clearly see that he could have been killed," Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "He (Williams) should be banned for a long time because that was the most dangerous thing I've seen on a football field for many years. It was absolutely deliberate. The whistle has gone, the game has stopped and he has done that right in front of the referee. He could have killed the lad."

Ferguson thought his team deserved a victory.

"We've thrown two points away, really," he said. "We absolutely battered them."

Colorado acquires Sturgis

The Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer traded forward Omar Cummings to the Houston Dynamo for midfielder Nathan Sturgis and allocation money.

Sturgis, 25, played for Sounders FC in 2009 and 2010. Cummings, 30, scored 39 regular-season goals in six seasons for Colorado.

Elsewhere

• World champion Kelsey Serwa of Canada won her first ski-cross race since returning from a knee injury, ending Swiss rival Fanny Smith's run of three straight victories to open the World Cup season.

In the men's final in San Candido, Italy, Switzerland's Alex Fiva posted his first victory this season.

Seattle Times news services


ELSA / GETTY IMAGES
Nick Swisher, shown batting for the New York Yankees on Oct. 11, reportedly has agreed on a $56 million, four-year contract with Cleveland.




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