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Dec. 4, 2012 at 11:32 PM
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Wright, Mets announce 8-year, $138M deal

NASHVILLE, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Third baseman David Wright has returned to the New York Mets after signing a $138 million, eight-year deal, the team announced Tuesday.

The Mets said Wright, a six-time all-star, has exercised a $16 million players option for 2013 and inked a seven-year, $122 million extension with the team following a standout 2012 campaign.

"I've grown up in this organization and made life-long friendships with teammates, uniform personnel and front office staff," Wright said in a statement. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to finish what I've started and help bring the Mets and our fans a World Series title."

The infielder, soon to turn 30, batted .306 with 21 home runs, 41 doubles and 93 RBI last season, garnering a sixth career all-star selection.

Over his nine-year career -- all with New York -- Wright has become the franchise leader in hits (1,426), doubles (322), RBI (818), runs scored (790) and walks (616).

Malzahn returns to Auburn as head coach

AUBURN, Ala., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn is back with the team as the Tigers' new head coach, school officials announced Tuesday.

Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs welcomed back Malzahn, who was the Tigers' offensive coordinator from 2009-11 and played a key role in helping them claim the 2010 national championship behind quarterback Cam Newton.

"Coach Malzahn was the clear unanimous choice of our search committee, and I am pleased that (president) Dr. (Jay) Gogue has accepted our recommendation," Jacobs said. "This is a great day for Auburn football and Auburn University."

Malzahn's direction of the Tigers' powerful offense in 2010 earned him the Broyles Award recognizing the top assistant coach in college football, but he will inherit a program that has fallen far in two years.

The Tigers this season posted a 3-9 mark -- including 0-8 in the SEC -- leading to the firing of Coach Gene Chizik.

Arkansas hires Bielema away from Wisconsin

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- University of Wisconsin head football Coach Bret Bielema has been hired to lead Arkansas in the same capacity, school officials said Tuesday.

Bielema's surprise move came only three days after he led the Badgers into their third straight Rose Bowl with a 70-31 shellacking of Nebraska in the Big Ten championship game.

"Coach Bielema has led his team to a historic run of championships while seeing a record number of student-athletes recognized for academic achievement," Arkansas Athletics Director Jeff Long said.

"His tough, aggressive style of play has been successful and will be appealing to student-athletes and Razorback fans."

Bielema, 42, racked up a 68-24 record in seven seasons at Wisconsin, compiling an 8-5 mark this year.

He replaces John L. Smith, who was let go in the wake of a 4-8 season after taking over in April for the fired Bobby Petrino.

It remained unclear if Bielema would be on the sidelines during the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl, in which Wisconsin will take on Pac-12 champion Stanford.

Reports: Red Sox ink Victorino to contract

NASHVILLE, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Free agent outfielder Shane Victorino has agreed to a three-year contract with the Boston Red Sox, MLB.com and ESPN reported.

Citing unnamed sources, the sports news outlets said Victorino will get somewhere around $40 million under the contract, which is to become effective after a physical exam.

The two-time all-star is coming off a come-down 2012 campaign, which was split between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Victorino managed a .255 batting average with 11 home runs, 55 RBI, 72 runs scored and 39 stolen bases in 154 combined games, compared with the .279 average he posted with the Phillies in 2011.

The most likely spot for Victorino with the Red Sox will be in right field, seemingly decreasing the chances of Cody Ross returning to Boston.

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