Cuba to allow athletes to sign abroad
Cuba announced Friday that athletes from all sports will soon be able to sign contracts with foreign leagues, a break with a decades-old policy that held pro sports to be anathema to socialist ideals. Still, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported that Cuban athletes will have to pay taxes on any earnings from foreign clubs, an apparent conflict with the 51-year-old American embargo that outlaws nearly all US transactions with Cuba unless they are specifically licensed by Washington. Under the new policy, athletes will be eligible to play abroad as long as they fulfill their commitments at home, Granma reported. For baseball players, that means being available for international competitions as well as Cuba’s November-to-April league.
Mariners’ Wedge says he won’t returnSeattle manager Eric Wedge told the Mariners he will not return next season. Wedge was hired by Seattle in October 2010. He said this week he felt he was left ‘‘hanging out there’’ on his status for 2014. Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said the club had every intention of bringing Wedge back, who went 70-89. Wedge, who missed a month with a stroke this season, said his decision was not related to his health . . . The Cardinals ruled out Allen Craig for at least the NLDS. Craig, who has 97 RBIs, has been sidelined with a mid-foot sprain since Sept. 4 . . . Former All-Star reliever Chris Perez lost his job as Cleveland’s closer. Perez allowed four runs and four hits in Thursday’s 6-5 win over Minnesota, retiring just two batters. He has 25 saves in 30 chances but has a 7.52 ERA since Aug. 1. Manager Terry Francona said he hasn’t ruled out Perez making a return to closing in the playoffs, if the Indians make it . . . The Braves expect Brian McCann to be ready for the playoffs even though the catcher is not expected to start the final three regular-season games after leaving Thursday’s game with an adductor strain . . . Gates Brown, an outfielder who played his entire 13-year career with the Tigers and was on the 1968 World Series championship team, has died. He was 74.
Kings, Cousins strike 4-year extension
The Kings and DeMarcus Cousins reached an agreement on an extension late Thursday night, a person familiar with the deal said. The Sacramento Bee reported a four-year, $62 million deal that will carry Cousins through the 2018-19 season. The 23-year-old center averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds last season, but has drawn multiple suspensions from the NBA and the Kings . . . Timberwolves swingman Chase Budinger, who only played 23 games last season because of a torn left meniscus, needs surgery on the swollen knee and is out indefinitely.
Earnhardt nabs pole with track record
Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned a track-record lap of 161.849 miles per hour to win the pole for Sunday’s AAA 400 in Dover, Del. . . . Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan will not return to KV Racing next season and is finalizing a deal to join Chip Ganassi Racing, sources said . . . Petra Kvitova beat Venus Williams, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), advancing to the Pan Pacific Open final in Tokyo. Angelique Kerber beat Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), in the other semifinal . . . The WTA said Serena Williams will finish the year with the No. 1 ranking for the third time . . . Brian Cookson was elected president of the UCI, defeating incumbent Pat McQuaid to run cycling’s governing body in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal . . . New Bedford native Peter Uihlein came within inches from the first 59 on the European Tour at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in St. Andrews, Scotland. He is two shots behind Tom Lewis (15-under-par 129.)