Wednesday’s Sports in Brief
SEATTLE (AP) — Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi has finalized a four-year contract with the Seattle Mariners that guarantees $56 million and includes club options that could make it worth $109 million over seven seasons.
Seattle announced the agreement Wednesday, just ahead of the deadline for the 27-year-old to sign with a major league club.
He receives a $6 million signing bonus and salaries of $8 million this year, $14 million in 2020 and $15 million in 2021. The agreement includes a $13 million player option for 2022, and Seattle has options worth $16.5 million annually for 2022-25.
Seattle has until the third day after the 2021 World Series to exercise all four team options. If the Mariners decline, Kikuchi has until the fifth day after the 2021 World Series to exercise his player option.
“Yusei’s combination of character, talent, experience and relative age made him a primary target in our roster building plans,” Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “He is an exciting young pitcher with the ability to impact the Mariners, both in the present and future.”
Kikuchi was posted by the Pacific League’s Seibu Lions on Dec. 4. Under the rules in the November 2017 posting agreement, he had until Wednesday afternoon Seattle time to sign with a major league team.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Canada and Sweden tumbled out of the world junior hockey title chase, and the United States and Russia advanced to the semifinals.
Canada fell 2-1 to Finland in overtime after giving up the tying goal in the final minute of regulation and missing a penalty shot early in the extra period. Earlier, Sweden dropped a 2-0 decision to Switzerland in Victoria.
“It’s heartbreaking for all of us and the whole country, too,” Canadian defenseman Ian Mitchell said. “You just wish that at the end of the day we are putting on the gold medal, but we weren’t able to do that.”
The Americans beat the Czech Republic 3-1 in Victoria to set up a semifinal Friday night against Russia, an 8-3 winner over Slovakia in the late game at Rogers Arena.
Josh Norris, Noah Cates and Alexander Chmelevski scored for the United States, and Cayden Primeau made 18 saves. U.S. star Jack Hughes had an assist in his return after missing three straight round-robin games with an undisclosed injury.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Eugene “Mean Gene” Okerlund, whose deadpan interviews of pro wrestling superstars like “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan made him a ringside fixture in his own right, has died. He was 76.
World Wrestling Entertainment announced Okerlund’s death on its website. Okerlund’s son, Tor Okerlund, told The Associated Press that his father died early Wednesday at a hospital in Sarasota, Florida, near his home in Osprey, Florida, with his wife, Jeanne, by his side.
Tor Okerlund said his father, who had undergone three kidney transplants, fell a few weeks ago “and it just kind of went from bad to worse.”
Okerlund started as an interviewer in the Minneapolis-based American Wrestling Association. He moved to WWE — then the World Wrestling Federation — in 1984 and hosted several shows, including “All-American Wrestling,” ”Tuesday Night Titans” and “Prime Time Wrestling.” Besides being the company’s lead locker room interviewer, he also provided ringside commentary.
Long and Gentry announced their decisions on social media.
The eighth-ranked Wolverines were without defensive end Rashan Gary and linebacker Devin Bush in their 41-15 loss to No. 10 Florida in the Peach Bowl after both juniors declared themselves eligible for the draft. Long and Gentry chose to play in the bowl while weighing their option to stay or go pro.