Sports Extra

MLB

Red Sox close to a deal for the Pirates’ closer

PITTSBURGH – The Boston Red Sox are pursuing another burly right-hander to shore up their bullpen.

A person familiar with the talks said the Pirates and Red Sox are close to completing a trade that would send All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan to Boston for a handful of prospects.

Pittsburgh would ship Hanrahan and another player to the Red Sox in exchange for four players, including outfielder-first baseman Jerry Sands and minor league pitcher Stolmy Pimentel. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday because the trade was pending physicals and had not been finalized.

The 31-year-old, 6-4 and 250-pound Hanrahan has been one of baseball’s best closers the last two years, saving 76 games from 2011 to 2012 and making the NL All-Star team in both seasons. He made $4,135,000 this year and is eligible for arbitration, putting him in line for a hefty raise.

The proposed trade caps a busy few days for the Pirates, who have agreed in principal to sign former Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox left-hander Francisco Liriano. The $14-million, two-year deal is pending a physical.

Pending physical, Indians sign Swisher for 4 and $56M

CLEVELAND – The Indians’ pitch to bring Nick Swisher “home” worked.

Two people familiar with the negotiations said Swisher has agreed to a $56-million, four-year contract with the Indians, who used the free agent outfielder’s deep Ohio connections to convince him to join the club. The people spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because Swisher must take a physical before the deal can be finalized. The Indians are expected to announce Swisher’s signing after Christmas, one of the people said.

The Indians will not comment until Swisher completes his physical.

The 32-year-old Swisher spent the last four seasons with the New York Yankees, taking advantage of the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. A switch-hitter, Swisher hit .272 this season with 24 homers and 93 RBIs.

NHL

Two days before Christmas, and it’s quiet as a mouse

Date: Sunday, Dec. 23.

Day: 99.

Last Negotiations: In-person talks Dec. 13 in New Jersey and bargaining conference call Dec. 14.

Next Negotiations: No negotiations have been scheduled.

Games Lost: 625 (all games through Jan. 14, including the New Year’s Day Winter Classic and All-Star weekend).

Quiet as a Mouse: There was no contact Sunday between the NHL and the players’ association, and league deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press he doesn’t know if there will be any conversations between the sides before Christmas.

“Nothing (Sunday),” Daly told the AP in an email Sunday night. “Don’t know whether we will speak before the holiday.”

Daly and players’ association special counsel Steve Fehr spoke to each other Saturday, but nothing of note came out of those discussions.

Soccer

First Casey, now Cummings: Rapids trade with Dynamo

COMMERCE CITY – The Colorado Rapids traded forward Omar Cummings to the Houston Dynamo for midfielder Nathan Sturgis and allocation money.

The 30-year-old Cummings scored 39 regular-season goals since joining the Rapids and had 14 as Colorado won the league title in 2010. He has seven goals in 28 appearances with Jamaica’s national team.

After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2009, Colorado allowed Conor Casey to leave for Philadelphia and acquired Edson Buddle from Los Angeles.

Sturgis, 25, has been with Los Angeles (2006-07), Real Salt Lake (2007-08), Seattle (2009-10) and Toronto (2011) in addition to Houston.

Allocation money can be credited against the MLS salary cap or to acquire players from outside the league.

Associated Press