Yankees ink 2B Walker to one-year deal

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Joining the New York Yankees caused Neil Walker to smile, despite a hefty drop in salary.

The free agent infielder agreed Monday to a $4 million, one-year contract, a 77 percent pay cut in a deal that allows New York prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar more time to mature in the minor leagues.

Walker earned $17.2 million last season, when he accepted a qualifying offer from the New York Mets.

"It's certainly a crazy offseason, but more than anything my hope was that I'd land somewhere that's going to be competitive and have a chance to win," Walker said. "I'm happy to be here, happy to be on a contending team."

Walker, a switch-hitter, likely will start at second base and Brandon Drury, acquired from Arizona last month, will play third. Walker can make $500,000 in performance bonuses: $125,000 each for 425, 450, 475 and 500 plate appearances.

"It's just another choice for the manager," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "If he takes something from somebody over time, so be it. But again, he's getting a little bit of a late start given the fact that we're probably about two weeks away from leaving Florida."

The 32-year-old Walker hit .265 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs last year for the Mets and Milwaukee Brewers, who acquired him in a trade Aug. 12. The Yankees also pursued Walker last summer but a potential deal with the Mets fell through, according to reports.

Torres, limited to 55 minor league games last year before an injury to his left (non-throwing) elbow that required season-ending Tommy John surgery, has a .130 (3 for 23) batting average in 10 spring training games.

Another second base contender, Tyler Wade, is 9 for 27 (.333) over 12 games.


INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) - Venus Williams defeated younger sister Serena 6-3, 6-4 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open, her first win in the sibling rivalry since 2014.

It was the sisters' earliest meeting since a 17-year-old Venus beat 16-year-old Serena in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. They played for the first time since last year's Australian Open final, when a pregnant Serena won her 23rd Grand Slam title.

Venus closed out the 1 -hour match on her second match point when Serena's forehand service return sailed long. It was one of Serena's 41 unforced errors, including 17 on the forehand side.


WASHINGTON (AP) - Alex Ovechkin scored twice to reach 600 goals as the Washington Capitals moved back into first place by beating the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in overtime.

Ovechkin scored in each of the first two periods to get to 42 this season. The Russian winger became the 20th player and fourth-fastest in NHL history to 600 goals and is on pace to lead the league in goals for the seventh time.

At the 5:33 mark of the second period, Ovechkin got three chances at the side of the net and put a rebound past a sprawling Connor Hellebuyck to become just the fourth player in NHL history to score 600 goals in under 1,000 games.


BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press the Buffalo Bills have moved up nine spots in the draft by swapping first-round picks with the Cincinnati Bengals, who also acquired high-priced left tackle Cordy Glenn as part of the trade.

The person spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity because teams are not allowed to announce trades until the NFL's new business year opens Wednesday. Buffalo moved up to the No. 12 spot in the draft by trading the first of its two opening-round selections, 21st overall. The Bills also have the No. 22 pick.

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