Former Red Sox lefthander Rich Hill, now a free agent after completing a three-year, $48 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, had surgery on his pitching elbow and is likely to miss the first half of next season, a person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press Monday. Hill eschewed Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament and underwent primary revision surgery, which usually requires a shorter recovery time. Hill, who turns 40 in March and went 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA in 13 starts last season for the Dodgers, is expected to start throwing by the end of April . . . The Tampa Bay Rays re-signed catcher Mike Zunino to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with a club option for 2021 worth $4.5 million.
Zunino, who was acquired last offseason from the Mariners, hit just nine home runs with a .165 batting average in his first season for Tampa Bay, which lost free agent catcher Travis d’Arnaud to the Braves earlier this week . . . The Mariners finalized a $24 million, six-year contract with 23-year-old first baseman Evan White, an unusually large deal for a player who was the 17th overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft out of Kentucky but hasn’t appeared in a game above Double-A . . . The Minnesota Twins hired Edgar Varela, 39, as their hitting coach, replacing James Rowson, who left to become a bench coach with the Marlins. Varela had been the club’s minor league field coordinator the past two seasons after spending 10 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Flames to probe racial charge vs. coach
Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the team is looking into an accusation head coach Bill Peters directed racial slurs toward Akim Aliu, a Nigerian-born hockey player who played for Peters a decade ago in the Chicago Blackhawks minor league system, then arranged for the player’s demotion when he complained . . . Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot was suspended two games by the NHL for his cross-check hit on Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson in Saturday’s game in Denver. Kerfoot, who will lose more than $37,000 in salary, will be eligible to return when Toronto hosts Buffalo on Saturday.
Kerfoot, who has five goals and three assists in 22 games this season, was assessed a minor penalty for boarding after he cross-checked Johnson from behind and sent him crashing into the boards behind the Colorado goal in the second period of Saturday’s game . . . The Washington Capitals expressed an interest in playing a regular-season game in Russia, perhaps as soon as next season, in what would be a first for the NHL and a homecoming for team captain Alex Ovechkin. The league has announced two overseas games next season as part of its 2020 Global Series: the Boston Bruins vs. the Nashville Predators in the Czech Republic and the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Colorado Avalanche in Finland.
Duke men, Oregon women top polls
The Duke Blue Devils (6-0) solidified their tight grip on the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press men’s basketball poll, receiving 53 first-place votes from the 65-member media panel. Louisville remained No. 2, receiving seven first-place votes. No. 3 Michigan State, which was upset by Virginia Tech at the Maui Invitational, 71-66, garnered four No. 1 votes while Kansas was fourth, with Maryland rounding out the top five . . . In the women’s poll, Oregon remained entrenched at No. 1, with 28 out of 30 first-place votes. Baylor was second, receiving the two other No. 1 votes, while Stanford, UConn, and South Carolina rounded out the top five.
Arizona, meanwhile, earned its first ranking in 15 years after cracking the women’s poll at No. 24 . . . Iowa’s 6-foot-11-inch sophomore forward Jack Nune is out for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee. Nunge suffered the injury while driving to the basket late in the first half of Sunday’s 85-59 win over Cal Poly. Nunge sat out the rest of the game, and an MRI later showed the injury.
UConn sets 2020 dates as independent
UConn announced its 2020 football schedule, its first season as an FBS independent. The Huskies (2-9, 0-7 American Athletic Conference), who close their final season in the AAC on Saturday at Temple, will travel to Ole Miss, Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina and San Jose State and host games against Massachusetts, Indiana, Old Dominion, Maine, Liberty, Middle Tennessee and Army . . . Former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie agreed to step aside as New Mexico’s coach at season’s end, ending his eight-year run with the Lobos.
. . . UNLV coach Tony Sanchez was fired after going 19-40 in five seasons with the Rebels, including 3-8 this season and 12-27 in the Mountain West.Sanchez made the leap to the college ranks when he was hired by UNLV in December 2014 after six years as the coach at Las Vegas prep powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School. He has two years remaining on a contract that pays him a base salary of $300,000 per year . . . In settlement of a wager he lost on last year’s Army-Navy game with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, a West Point graduate, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modley said the next Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, DDG-135, will be named the USS Jeff Monken in recognition of the Army football coach.
Mickleson to host former Bob Hope
Phil Mickelson, 49, will become host of a tournament played over three courses in La Quinta, Calif., with a long history that dates to 1960 when it was originally known as the Bob Hope Classic . . . Alabama authorities have “good reason” to believe human remains found in a wooded area in Macon County, Ala., belong to Aniah Blanchard, the 19-year-old missing stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight fighter Walt Harris . . . Boston College men’s soccer coach Ed Kelly, 71, retired after 32 seasons, capping a 35-year college coaching career that included three seasons at Seton Hall.
. . . American basketball player LaMelo Ball, 18, became the youngest player in the history of Australia’s National Basketball League to record a triple-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists, achieving the feat as his Illawarra Hawks defeated the Cairns Taipans, 114-106, in overtime . . . New Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho ruled out signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, saying it “doesn’t make sense” because the club already has one of the best strikers in the world in Harry Kane. The 38-year-old Ibrahimovic is a free agent following his exit from the Los Angeles Galaxy and has previously played under Mourinho at Inter Milan and Manchester United.