- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

BASEBALL

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) - Ralph Kiner, who slugged his way into the baseball Hall of Fame and enjoyed a half-century career as a popular broadcaster, died Thursday. He was 91.

The Hall said Kiner died at his home in Rancho Mirage with his family at his side.

Kiner hit 369 home runs during his 10-year career, mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He made his debut in 1946 and his power quickly became the talk of baseball - he won or tied for the National League lead in homers in each of his first seven seasons.

Kiner’s Korner” was already a fixture on the New York Mets’ airways when he was inducted into the Hall in 1975 with just one vote to spare in his 15th and final year of eligibility.

The six-time All-Star still ranks sixth all-time with a home run every 14.1 at-bats. He averaged more than 100 RBIs per season and hit .279 with the Pirates, the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland. He began his big league career after serving as a Navy pilot in World War II.

SEATTLE (AP) - The Seattle Mariners reached agreement on a $14 million, two-year deal with reliever Fernando Rodney, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a physical. The deal, first reported by ESPN, also includes performance bonuses.

BALTIMORE (AP) - Catcher Matt Wieters and the Baltimore Orioles avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a $7.7 million, one-year contract, a raise of $2.2 million.

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Diamondbacks avoided arbitration with Mark Trumbo by agreeing Thursday to a $4.8 million, one-year contract with the outfielder.

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PRO BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Portland’s Damian Lillard will become the first player to compete in three events during All-Star Saturday night in New Orleans, including a slam dunk contest that features three All-Stars for the first time in 26 years.

Indiana’s Paul George and Washington’s John Wall also will take part in the night’s marquee event Feb. 15. There haven’t been three All-Stars in the dunk contest since the famed 1988 duel, when Michael Jordan beat Dominique Wilkins on his home floor in Chicago, in a field that also included Clyde Drexler.

Lillard, the reigning Rookie of the Year, will play in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night before defending his Skills Challenge title and competing in the 3-point contest.

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