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AP Sports Digest

Associated Press

Giants finalize deal with OF Pat Burrell

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Pat Burrell had earned more than enough money in his 11-year big-league career to know that playing for a contender with teammates he’s close to was far more important than maximizing his value on the free-agent market.

Burrell signed a $1 million, one-year contract with the World Series champion Giants on Friday, taking a below-market deal to remain in San Francisco.

“The truth of it is that 10 years ago it would probably be a different situation,” he said. “At this point in my career, playing somewhere special is more important than testing out free agency and all that goes along with that.”

The deal does not include any incentives.

Athletics sign Sweeney to $1.4M, 1-year deal

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – The Oakland Athletics agreed Friday to a $1.4 million, one-year contract with outfielder Ryan Sweeney.

Sweeney hit .294 with one homer and 36 RBIs in 82 games last season before being sidelined in July by a right knee injury.

UTEP to face BYU at New Mexico Bowl

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Texas-El Paso has accepted an invitation from the New Mexico Bowl and will face BYU on Dec. 18 in a matchup of former Western Athletic Conference rivals.

UTEP (6-6), which is returning to the postseason for the first time since 2005, currently is a Conference USA member. The Miners will be the first team from outside the Mountain West and Western Athletic Conference to appear in the Albuquerque bowl game, which started in 2006.

Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo dies at 70

CHICAGO (AP) – Ron Santo’s love for the Chicago Cubs stretched from his days as a standout third baseman who one season even jumped and clicked his heels to celebrate victories to the two decades he spent unabashedly pulling for his team as a broadcaster.

As much as his passion for the Cubbies soothed their long-suffering fans, his play and work in the broadcast booth helped him, too, through tough times and serious ailments, including a bout with diabetes that cost him both legs below the knees. He called the Cubs, simply, his therapy.

Santo, who had finished his 21st season broadcasting the Cubs in September, died Thursday night in Arizona from complications of bladder cancer, according to the team and WGN Radio, his longtime employer. He was 70.