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Seahawks Sign Avril to 4-Year Extension


Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Seattle Seahawks signed defensive end Cliff Avril to a four-year contract extension Friday.

ESPN NFL Insider John Clayton reports the deal is worth $28.5 million, with $16 million guaranteed.

“I’m just happy to be in a situation where the team is as good as it is and to be a part of it and they want me to be a part of it,” Avril said.  “I’m fortunate enough to get a deal done so I can continue to be a part of it.”

Avril, who signed a two-year deal with Seattle before the 2013 season, has played in 14 games this season recording 20 tackles, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

"Cliff has been instrumental in what we've been building on the defensive side of the ball and we are excited that he'll be with us for another four years," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. "He has been relentless in his approach to the game and his passion for winning is contagious. This is another great day for the Seahawks and the 12s."

This is the second straight day the Seahawks have signed one of their core defensive players. Thursday they locked up linebacker K.J. Wright to a four-year, $27 million extension.

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ESPN: C.J. Spiller Expected to Play Sunday


Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.) -- Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller is expected to play Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan.

Spiller has been out since suffering a broken collarbone that required surgery in Week 7.

Spiller was taken off the injured reserve Friday after he was a limited participant in practice all week.

The 27-year-old Spiller rushed for 287 yards, caught 14 passes and accounted for two touchdowns in seven games this season.

Spiller is officially listed as probable for Sunday's game in Oakland.

The Bills (8-6) still are in the running for a playoff spot.

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Report: Cubs Agree to 2-Year Deal with David Ross


Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Catcher David Ross has agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to ESPN Chicago's Jesse Rogers.

The 37-year-old Ross has spent the last two seasons with the Boston Red Sox, winning the World Series in 2013.

Ross is reunited with new Cubs pitcher Jon Lester. The two played most of the last two seasons together in Boston. Ross served as Lester's catcher for 29 games. During those games, Lester had a .277 ERA.

Ross is expected to back up Miguel Montero.

The Cubs also claimed catcher Ryan Lavarnway off waivers.

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Pirates Agree to 1-Year Deal with 1B Hart


Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with first baseman Corey Hart.

The 32-year-old Hart can also earn $2.5 million in performance bonuses.

Hart has dealt with multiple injuries the past two seasons. He didn't play at all in 2013 after having surgery on both knees. In 2014, Hart played in only 68 games for the Seattle Mariners due to hamstring and knee issues.

Before the last two seasons, Hart was enjoying a productive major league career as a Milwaukee Brewer. He was selected as an All-Star twice, and in 2010 he hit .283 with 31 home runs, 91 runs scored, 102 RBIs and a .340 on-base percentage.

“We looked at what he’d done, really solid seasons from (2007) to ’12 but in particular ’10, ’11 and ’12,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “Coming off the knee surgeries, typically you don’t see a guy back to 100 percent until a year or two after. We’re working that, this is going to be year two, this is the first offseason he’ll have to truly work and get in baseball shape and not rehab.”

Hart provides the Pirates with a right-handed bat at first base. Pedro Alvarez, a left-handed hitter, plays the position as well.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 12/19/14


Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA:  Utah Jazz 101 (8-19) - Orlando Magic 94 (10-19)

Charlotte Hornets 109 (7-19) - Philadelphia 76ers 91 (2-23)

Boston Celtics 114 (10-14) - Minnesota Timberwolves 98 (5-20)

Toronto Raptors 110 (20-6) - Detroit Pistons 100 (5-21)

Cleveland Cavaliers 95 (15-10) - Brooklyn Nets 91 (10-15)

Washington Wizards 105 (19-6) - Miami Heat 103 (12-15)

Chicago Bulls 103 (17-9) - Memphis Grizzlies 97 (21-5)

NHL: New Jersey Devils 3 (11-16-6) - Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (20-10-4)(F/SO)

Ottawa Senators 6 (14-12-6, 34 pts) - Anaheim Ducks  2 (22-8-5, 49 pts)

NCAAM:  Eastern Kentucky 72 (6-4) - (18) Miami Fl 44 (9-2)

(20) St. Johns 53 (6-3) - Saint Mary's 47 (9-1)

 

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Report: Padres Acquire Outfielder Justin Upton from the Braves


Patrick McDermott/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The San Diego Padres have struck again this offseason by acquiring another big-time bat. According to reports, the team has acquired outfielder Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves.

According to reports, the Padres will send Braves pitcher Max Fried, third baseman Dustin Peterson and outfielder Mallex Smith.

Still just 27 years old, Upton hit .270 with 29 home runs and 102 RBIs in his eighth season in the big leagues. He will be a free agent following the 2015 season.

The Padres now have a completely revamped offense/outfield. Not only have they acquired Upton, they've also made trades for former All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp and former American League Rookie of the Year outfielder Wil Myers.

The Padres also recently acquired All-Star catcher Derek Norris from the Oakland Athletics, and reportedly they've acquired third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the Boston Red Sox for Ryan Hanigan.

In 2014, the Padres ranked 30th in Major League Baseball in runs scored, batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage.

San Diego hasn't made the playoffs since 2006.

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Seahawks Reward Linebacker K.J. Wright with Four-Year Extension


Scott Boehm/Getty Images(RENTON, Wash.) -- The Seattle Seahawks have locked up another key member of their dominant defense. ESPN reports they've rewarded linebacker K.J. Wright with a four-year extension, worth $27 million.

Since the team drafted him in the fourth round back in 2011, Wright has emerged as a fantastic defensive player who's a key member of the team's top-ranked defense.

"In the offseason, we identified K.J. as one of our core players moving forward and aimed to keep him as a part of the Seahawks family for a long time," general manager John Schneider said in a statement. "The timing of this signing gives us the ability to keep as many of our core players together as we possibly can. Since Day 1, K.J. has been a true professional in his daily approach and we are excited for K.J., his family and the 12s to keep him in the organization."

In 14 games this season, Wright has 96 tackles, two away from tying a career-high. He has started all three linebacker spots for the team as well.

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Giants Re-Sign Starting Pitcher Jake Peavy


Brandon Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Starting pitcher Jake Peavy enjoyed his brief time with the San Francisco Giants so much, he agreed on a two-year deal with the club on Friday morning.

ESPN reports that Peavy's deal is worth $24 million to go along with a $4 million signing bonus.

The Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins were reportedly among the teams who were also pursuing Peavy.

Peavy is a three-time All Star and former Cy Young winner who rebounded strongly after the Boston Red Sox dealt him to the Giants prior to the trade deadline.

In 20 starts with the Red Sox in 2014, Peavy went 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA. In 12 starts with the Giants after getting traded, he went 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA.

Peavy did fall apart in the postsesaon though despite the team winning the World Series. In four starts, Peavy went 1-2 with a 6.29 ERA.

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Jets Acquire Defenseman Jay Harrison from Canes


Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- Winnipeg Jets acquired defenseman Jay Harrison from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a sixth round pick in the 2015 draft -- which originally belonged to Ottawa.

The 32-year-old Harrison helps fill a void after the Jets placed defenseman Jacob Trouba on injured reserve.

Harrison was originally selected with the 87th overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by Toronto. He's played nine NHL seasons -- three with Toronto and six with Carolina. During that time, Harrison's scored 21 goals and dished out 49 assists in 337 regular season games.

Winnipeg (16-10-6, 38 pts) will host Boston (16-13-3, 35 pts) on Friday night.

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DeMarco Murray Will 'Probably' Make Decision if He Plays Sunday


NFL via Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) -- Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray says he will "probably" make the decision whether he plays Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Murray, who had surgery Monday night on his broken left hand, was a limited participant in practice for the second straight day Thursday. He's been wearing a hard plastic shell on top of his glove for protection.

"I'm a very competitive person and I want to help this team out as much I can, so whatever that portrays me doing Sunday, then we'll see," Murray said. "But I've had two good days, and we'll see how it goes."

The Cowboys (10-4) currently lead the NFC East by a game over the Philadelphia Eagles (9-5).

Murray has rushed for an NFL best 1,687 yards this season. His absence would be felt even more in Dallas' game Sunday against the Colts, which has allowed the 16th most rushing yards per game in the NFL.

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