AP source: Hunter agrees with Tigers


AP source: Hunter agrees with Tigers

DETROIT (AP) Free agent outfielder Torii Hunter has agreed to a $26 million, two-year deal with Detroit, giving the Tigers a capable corner outfielder coming off an impressive season at age 37.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity Wednesday because no announcement had been made, confirmed the deal and said Hunter has a physical scheduled for Friday. Hunter hit a career-best .313 last season for the Los Angeles Angels with 16 home runs and 92 RBIs.

Acquiring a corner outfielder was a major offseason priority for Detroit, and Hunter won nine consecutive Gold Gloves from 2001-09 before gradually switching from center field to right. With the exception of Austin Jackson in center field, the Tigers were largely unimpressive defensively last season.

Detroit went into 2012 hoping for solid production from outfielders like Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn, but by the time the postseason started, the Tigers were primarily using Andy Dirks, Quintin Berry and Avisail Garcia alongside Jackson. Dirks had a fine season, hitting .322, but Hunter has a longer track record.

Hunter is also a .289 career hitter against left-handers. The Tigers hit a pedestrian .253 versus southpaws in 2012.

Detroit is chasing its first World Series title since 1984. The Tigers were swept by San Francisco in this year's series.

After back-to-back AL Central titles, Detroit is aggressively trying to win now. Ace Justin Verlander and sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are all in their prime, and the Tigers traded top pitching prospect Jacob Turner to Miami in the middle of the season for right-hander Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante.

Detroit seems like a sensible fit all along for an older player like Hunter, who follows his five-year tenure with Los Angeles by reaching a shorter deal with the Tigers. Detroit is not required to give up compensation for Hunter.

Sanchez is now a free agent, and the Tigers have said they'd like to take a shot at retaining him. Detroit is also ready to welcome back Victor Martinez, who will replace Delmon Young at designated hitter after missing the whole 2012 season with a knee injury.

There are still a few other questions for the Tigers, who are unlikely to bring back closer Jose Valverde. General manager Dave Dombrowski indicated Detroit has some in-house candidates for that role, but the offseason is young.

Although Hunter is now off the market, some other top free agent outfielders remain for other teams to shop for, such as Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher.

Hunter's arrival means Boesch, Garcia or Berry could be an odd man out on Detroit's opening day roster in 2013. Boesch has hit 42 home runs in three seasons with the Tigers, but his average dipped to a career-low .240 in 2012. Berry came from off the radar this year as a 27-year-old rookie and stole 21 bases without being caught. The 21-year-old Garcia hit .319 in 47 at-bats, but he may be a candidate for more seasoning in the minors.


AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins


Pernell McPhee reportedly on visit with Redskins

NFL free agency doesn't care about your brackets. 

While you were watching UMBC, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee is currently on a visit with the Redskins:

Pernell, 29, was drafted in 2011 out of Mississppi State by the Baltimore Ravens. He played there for three years before spending the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears. 

Pernell has 182 career tackles and 31 career sacks. 


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3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia


3 stars of the game: A lethargic loss in Philadelphia

Playing three games in four days takes a toll on even the fittest athletes, and it was their sluggish start that doomed the Capitals in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. 

After being noncomittal about his starting goalie all weekend, Coach Barry Trotz put Philipp Grubauer in net. Grubauer ended up making 29 saves on 34 shots. Offensively, the Caps got goals from Alex Ovechkin, Chandler Stephenson, and John Carlson. Carlson's third period goal cut the Flyers' lead to two with a little over three minutes to go, but a Jakub Voracek empty-netter a few moments later was the nail in the coffin. 

Here are your three stars from the game: 

1. Travis Boyd had the play of the game for the Capitals. Boyd carried the puck into the Flyer's zone, cut through multiple defenders and fired a slick shot to a streaking Ovechkin, who burried the puck in the back of the net. Check it out: 

Not only was the play nice on its own, but it was Boyd's first NHL point. Not a bad way to get it. 

2. Shayne Gostisbehere​ got the Flyers going with his goal in the first period. The defenseman had one goal on five shots along with being an intimidating force in the defensive zone. After going six weeks without scoring, today's goal was Gostisbehere's second goal in three games. 

3. Wayne Simmonds was the best offensive player on the ice on Sunday, scoring twice - both in the final period. It was the 22nd and 23rd goals of the season for the 29-year-old winger. It was also the first multi-goal game for Simmonds since Opening Night, when he had two against San Jose. 

The Caps hit the ice next on Tuesday, when they welcome the Dallas Stars to the Capital One Center.