BASEBALL Looking to fortify their World Series-winning lineup after the departure of Albert Pujols, the Cardinals agreed last night to a two-year contract, reportedly worth $26 million, with Carlos Beltran, pending results of a physical. A formal announcement is expected shortly after the holidays. The 34-year-old outfielder batted .300 with 22 home runs, 84 RBIs, and a .385 on-base percentage for the Mets and Giants last season . . . The Twins signed Jason Marquis to a one-year, $3 million deal. The 33-year-old righthander went 8-5 with a 3.95 ERA for the Nationals last season before being traded to the Diamondbacks on July 30. Marquis went 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA in three starts for Arizona before missing the last month and a half of the season with a broken right leg after he was hit by a line drive . . . The Mets agreed to a minor league contract with catcher Rob Johnson and invited him to spring training. The 28-year-old batted .190 (34 for 179) with 6 doubles, 1 triple, a career-high 3 homers and 16 RBIs in 67 games for the Padres last season.
Bonds officially appeals conviction
Barry Bonds’s attorneys paid $455 and filed a one-sentence notice to the federal trial court saying Bonds was asking the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal to toss out his felony obstruction conviction. The case will be randomly assigned to a three-judge panel. Bonds was sentenced last Friday to 30 days of house arrest, two years of probation, and a $4,000 fine for giving evasive answers to a grand jury investigating a Northern California-based steroids distribution ring. US District Judge Susan Illston delayed imposition until the appeal is resolved. Bonds appellate attorney Dennis Riordan estimated it could take as long as 18 months for a decision . . . A federal judge in Delaware is weighing a request by Fox Sports to halt a process for selling television rights to future Dodgers games while Fox appeals a bankruptcy court order approving the sales process. After yesterday’s hearing the judge did not immediately rule on Fox’s request for an emergency stay. Fox said the sale process violates its rights under an existing contract with the Dodgers, and that it will suffer irreparable harm if the process is allowed to proceed. Attorneys for the Dodgers said Fox hasn’t met the requirements for an emergency stay, and that granting the stay could torpedo plans to sell the team and the media rights by the April 30 deadline called for in a settlement between the Dodgers and Major League Baseball.
Feilhaber invited to National Team camp
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SOCCER Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber was among 20 players called in by United States men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the team’s annual January training camp, which will begin Jan. 3 in Phoenix. Feilhaber has made 38 appearances with the national team and was a member of the 2010 US World Cup squad and the 2008 US Olympic team. He has scored two international goals with the senior team, including the winner in the 2007 Gold Cup final against Mexico in Chicago. Included in the three-week camp itinerary are international friendlies against Venezuela in Glendale, Ariz., Jan. 21, and Panama in Panama City, Jan. 25 . . . Aldo Rebelo, Brazil’s sports minister, promised the country will be ready to host the 2014 World Cup and that it will be the “best World Cup ever.’’ His predictions come after a recent audit found that urban transit projects in the 12 host cities are behind schedule. Rebelo said the projects have begun, with some already running, and the construction of stadiums and the renovation of existing ones are on schedule.
IndyCar schedule will have different look
AUTO RACING IndyCar announced its long-awaited 2012 schedule, delayed during an investigation into the October crash that killed two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas. Some critics contended it was too dangerous for the series to race on ovals and only four - Indianapolis, Texas, Iowa, and Fontana, Calif. - appear on this year’s calendar. The season will begin with the traditional opener at St. Petersburg, Fla., March 25. The series will make its third consecutive trip to Brazil April 29 in Sao Paulo, the lead-in to the series’ top event, the Indianapolis 500 May 27. IndyCar also returns to Asia, but not its usual stop in Japan. Instead, the race will be held in Qingdao, China, Aug. 19, on the season’s longest street course, 3.87 miles. The agreement with title sponsor Izod requires at least 16 races each season, but only 15 are on the schedule. CEO Randy Bernard said he’s contemplating the addition of two races. Chevrolet and Lotus have joined Honda as engine manufacturers, marking the first time since 2006 the series will not have a sole engine-maker . . . Kurt Busch will drive the No. 51 car for Phoenix Racing and owner James Finch for the entire 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
Fine accuser felt he ‘owed’ ex-coach
Bobby Davis said the indebtedness he had for Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine made it hard to break from the man he claims molested him as a teenager. Davis, now 39, is the prime accuser in the sexual abuse scandal at Syracuse University. Davis and three others say Fine forcibly touched them. Davis was a ball boy for Syracuse during the 1980s. “I wanted to be around basketball so bad,’’ Davis told the Associated Press. “As I got older, I understood more that Bernie had this power. You almost feel it’s like a cult in a sense. You don’t know how to get away. And as more and more time went on, you feel indebted to him. You feel like you owe him. He’d always remind me of all the good things he did for me: ‘I’m the first one who got you a steak dinner . . . I took you to these restaurants. I took you to these hotels.’ ’’ . . . A bench warrant was authorized for sports agent Leigh Steinberg, the inspiration for the movie “Jerry Maguire,’’ after he failed to appear in court in a case involving a $1.4 million debt he was ordered to pay last year to the Irvine Company in a default judgment for office space he leased in Newport Beach, Calif. . . . Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland was suspended for three games for an illegal check to the head of Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger Tuesday . . . Westborough’s Ashley Walden, a member of the US luge team since 1996, retired. The 30-year-old finished eighth at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Her best World Cup finish was a bronze medal at Winterberg, Germany, in 2005. She also won silver medals in team events at the 2004 and 2005 World Championships . . . David Boudia won the men’s 10-meter competition and Kelci Bryant and Abby Johnston captured the women’s synchronized 3-meter title to close out the USA Diving Winter National Championships in Knoxville, Tenn. . . . Former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik was arrested in Canfield, Ohio, and charged with misdemeanor drunken driving for driving an all-terrain vehicle into a lamppost and telephone pole. Pavlik was treated for alcoholism at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., earlier this year . . . World poker champion Jonathan Duhamel told police he was tied up, beaten in the face and head, and told he was going to be killed during a brutal home invasion Wednesday in Montreal. Duhamel said he’s hurting all over but he didn’t sustain any major injuries. He is upset, however, that the robbers took his World Series of Poker champion’s bracelet.