Friday’s Sports in Brief

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) The Yankees have picked ESPN broadcaster Aaron Boone to succeed Joe Girardi as manager, a person familiar with New York’s decision told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced by the team.

Now 44, Boone has never been a manager or even a coach at any level since retiring as a player after the 2009 season. His 11th-inning home run off Boston’s Tim Wakefield won Game 7 of the AL Championship Series for the Yankees against Boston.

Boone was a big league third baseman from 1997-2009 and an All-Star in 2003, when New York acquired him from the Reds at the trade deadline.

Boone was among six people interviewed for the job and won out over Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge, San Francisco bench coach Hensley Meulens, Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward and former Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran, who retired as a player after winning his first World Series this year with Houston.

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously to approve a new posting agreement with their Japanese counterparts, a move that allowed bidding to start for coveted pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani.

Following the deal with Nippon Professional Baseball, Ohtani was put up for bid by the Pacific League’s Nippon Ham Fighters for the maximum $20 million posting fee. That opened a window for the 23-year-old to reach agreement on a contract with an MLB team until 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 22.

Under MLB’s new collective bargaining agreement, Ohtani is limited to a minor league contract subject to a team’s signing bonus pool. Texas has the most available at $3,535,000, followed by the New York Yankees ($3.5 million), Minnesota ($3.07 million), Pittsburgh ($2,266,750), Seattle ($1,557,500), Miami ($1.49 million) and the Los Angeles Angels ($1,315,000).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee has turned to its familiar past to comfort its uneasy fan base in an attempt to rescue what has been a tumultuous and embarrassing football coaching search.

The man Volunteers faithful blamed for the chaos: John Currie. Chancellor Beverly Davenport, who watched as the search was bungled seemingly at each turn, finally had enough.

So she turned everything over Friday to Phillip Fulmer, naming the College Football Hall of Famer Tennessee’s athletic director. Fulmer replaces Currie, who was suspended and placed on paid leave just eight months after taking the job.

The chancellor said at a news conference that Fulmer will be Tennessee’s athletic director ”for the foreseeable future” and ”take the reins of our search.” In the meantime, the school is investigating whether it can fire Currie for cause.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Jimbo Fisher is leaving Florida State for Texas A&M, four years after leading the Seminoles to their third national title.

Fisher told university President John Thrasher that he was resigning to accept Texas A&M’s offer.

Fisher leaves Florida State after going 83-23 in eight seasons. Besides the national championship, he also led the Seminoles to three Atlantic Coast Conference titles and four ACC Atlantic Division crowns. He will replace Kevin Sumlin, who was fired last weekend after going 51-26 in six seasons at Texas A&M. The Houston Chronicle reported that Fisher is expected to earn between $7 million and $7.5 million over at least five years.

Fisher’s buyout from Florida State is the sum remaining on the contracts of his assistants who are not retained, which would be in the range of $7 million.

Fisher goes to a program that has lofty hopes amid a drought: Texas A&M last won a conference championship in 1998, when it was in the Big 12. The school’s only national title came in 1939. Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said after Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting that expectations were ”nothing serious. We just want him to win a national championship.”

UNDATED (AP) – Mississippi’s football program won’t participate in the postseason this year or in 2018 as part of the NCAA’s sanctions levied against the school in the long-running rules violation case that included a charge of lack of institutional control.

In the latest development in the more than five-year ongoing case, the Committee on Infractions Friday came down fairly hard on Ole Miss. Most notably, the NCAA decided the one-year self-imposed postseason ban was not enough for the Rebels, who finished the regular season with a 6-6 record.

Ole Miss had hoped to avoid a postseason ban in 2018, but was hit with another year and plans to appeal the decision.

”We wish that this were over,” Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork said. ”But there is more work to be done and that work has already started.”

SOCCER

MOSCOW (AP) – A World Cup shrouded in corruption controversies and struggling to attract sponsors could have the dreariest of starts.

Host Russia and Saudi Arabia play June 14 at Moscow in an opener lacking global appeal, but things pick up the next day when 2010 champion Spain and defending European champion Portugal meet in Sochi.

The Iberian neighbors were drawn into Group B at a Kremlin ceremony Friday. Morocco coach Herve Renard hoped to avoid the ”two ogres” but will face them along with Iran.

”It’s a complicated group,” Spain coach Julen Lopetegui said. ”It will be tough. Portugal is a great team. It is the defending European champion and has a squad filled with top players.”

None more so than Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently joined Argentina’s Lionel Messi as the only five-time winners of FIFA’s player of the year award. Messi’s quest for his first World Cup title begins the following day when Argentina takes on Iceland – at 334,000 the least-populous country to qualify for the World Cup.