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UPI NewsTrack Sports

  |   Dec. 13, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Josh Hamilton agrees to deal with Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Outfielder Josh Hamilton Thursday decided to sign a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, ending his MVP tenure with the Texas Rangers.

Although the Angels did not announce the deal, Texas General Manager Jon Daniels was informed by Hamilton's agent that the career .300 hitter had decided to accept an offer reportedly worth $125 million.

Daniels was quoted on the Rangers' website as saying he had believed Texas had been moving toward being able to sign Hamilton, who became a free agent at the end of the 2012 campaign.

"Apparently not," Daniels said. "It's business and everybody has to make their own calls and he has a family to look out for. Josh has done a lot for the organization and the organization has done a lot for Josh.

"I'm a little disappointed in how it was handled, but he had a decision to make and he made it."

Hamilton was a member of the American League All-Star team in all five of the years he spent with the Rangers. He was named the league's MVP following the 2010 campaign and he was also the MVP of the 2010 AL Championship Series, during which Texas earned its first World Series trip in franchise history.

During the 2010 season he hit a league-leading .359 with 32 home runs and 100 RBI.

Hamilton has been plagued by substance abuse during his career, and the Rangers put a support system in place for him during his days with the club.

After the Rangers captured the ALCS in 2010 they celebrated with soft drinks rather than with champagne in deference to Hamilton's addiction problems.

It is the second straight year the Angels have signed a key member of the Rangers in free agency. Last season they picked up pitcher C.J. Wilson.


Big first period sends Knicks past Lakers

NEW YORK, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points in a monster first period Thursday that launched New York to a 116-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Anthony finished with 30 points, but left the game in the third quarter with a sprained left ankle. It was his third consecutive 30-point performance.

The Knicks owned a 41-27 lead after the opening period and held on from there to win their third in a row. It was New York's 17th victory of the season, three more than any other team in the Eastern Conference.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, lost its fourth straight and fell to 2-8 on the road.

Anthony had three 3-pointers in the first period and wound up 10-of-15 from the field. Robert Felton added 19 points while both Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith had 18 for the Knicks.

New York remained unbeaten in nine home games and is the only NBA team without a home loss this year.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 31 points and 10 rebounds, but he was only 10-of-24 from the field.

New York shot 53 percent to 41 percent for the Lakers. New York turned the ball over just six times


No breakthrough in mediated NHL talks

ISELIN, N.J., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- NHL contract talks took place for a second straight day Thursday, although no progress was reported in the lockout that has already cost the league 526 games.

Representatives of the owners and players met with federal mediators, and further talks were expected Friday.

The NHL was represented by legal counsel Bob Batterman. Union chief Donald Fehr and special counsel Steve Fehr appeared at the meetings on behalf of the players.

"I expect there will be contact (with league officials Friday)," Fehr said. "I'm not sure if it will be telephone or in person.

"It's good that we're talking. It's better than not talking and we'll see what happens."

Mediators have joined the discussions for a second time. After two days of mediated talks in late November, negotiations broke off.

The league has already canceled games through Dec. 30.


Tom Watson to be U.S. Ryder Cup captain

NEW YORK, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Tom Watson, a Hall of Fame golfer who won 10 Ryder Cup matches as a player, was selected to be captain of the U.S. team for the 2014 Ryder Cup.

It will be the second Ryder Cup captaincy for Watson, 63. He helped the United States to a 15-13 Ryder Cup win in 1993 in England. The U.S. team hasn't won on a foreign course since.

The next Ryder Cup competition is to be played Sept. 26-28, 2014, at Gleneagles, Scotland. It will mark the first Ryder Cup played in Scotland since 1973.

Watson was 10-4-1 in his Ryder Cup playing career, a .700 winning percentage that is second best all-time to Arnold Palmer (22-8-2). Watson was on three Ryder Cup winning teams.

Team Europe mounted a record-tying comeback on the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup for a 14.5-13.5 victory.

"I was waiting for about 20 years to get the call. I loved it the first time. It's a great honor to be able to do it again," Watson said Thursday on "The Today Show."

"This time we need 14.5 points. ... I just hope to set the table for the group of guys. I'm the stage manager. In two years, I hope to get it done."

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