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Sports briefs

Published: Friday, Dec. 24 2010 7:24 p.m. MST

Marlins ink Nolasco to 3-year deal

MIAMI — Right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco has signed a three-year, $26.5 million contract with the Florida Marlins.

The team announced the signing Friday. In a statement from the team, Marlins owner and CEO Jeffrey Loria called Nolasco "an outstanding competitor."

Nolasco is expected to earn $6 million in 2011, $9 million in 2012 and $11.5 in 2013.

He made $3.8 million last season, when he went 14-9 with a 4.51 ERA. The 28-year-old missed the final month after undergoing arthroscopic right knee surgery.

In a conference call with reporters, Nolasco said he has been running and exercising without any setbacks. "I should be 100 percent by spring training," he said.

He said he was grateful for the job security the deal give him and his family.

"I couldn't ask for anything else from these guys," Nolasco said. "It helps to just go out there and not worry about the arbitration process."

Nolasco is 54-39 with a 4.45 ERA in five years with the Marlins, and his strikeout-walk ratio of 638-169 over that time is among the best in baseball.

ESPN hires former Cavaliers coach

CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown has been hired by ESPN as an analyst.

Brown, who was fired in June after the Cavs lost to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals, will begin his TV stint on Christmas Day for the New York-Chicago telecast on ESPN 3D, the network said Thursday. Brown will also contribute as an ESPN studio analyst throughout the season.

Brown was the most successful coach in Cavs history. He went 314-177 in five seasons and was the league's coach of the year in 2009. But Cleveland's failure to win a title despite having the league's best record and LeBron James the past two seasons led to Brown's dismissal. Brown would like to return to coaching one day. He helped coach one of his son's football teams this fall and has been enjoying more time with his family since being fired.

USGA'S Fay stepping down top post

David Fay is retiring from the U.S. Golf Association, his two decades as executive director marked by a steady push for golf's return to the Olympics and for the U.S. Open to be held on golf courses that anyone could play at a reasonable price.

Fay's announcement Friday was somewhat of a surprise, although he turned 60 two months ago and said it was an important milestone for cancer survivors. He joined the USGA in 1978 and became its sixth executive director in 1989, serving under 12 presidents.

Mike Butz, the deputy executive director since 1995, will take over Jan. 1 until a national search to find Fay's replacement.

"Things are in good order," Fay said in a statement. "Our senior staff leaders, each of whom I have put into place, are highly talented and motivated. And looking ahead, there are a number of multiyear projects on the drawing board ... which makes this, for me, a good time to move on. Leave on a high note, as Seinfeld would say."

WNBA's Taurasi tests positive for stimulant

NEW YORK — WNBA standout and former UConn star Diana Taurasi tested positive for a mild stimulant while playing in a pro league in Turkey, her lawyer told The Associated Press.

Howard Jacobs said Thursday that Taurasi's "A" sample came back positive from a lab in Turkey last week. Jacobs said the substance "was not a steroid or recreational drug," and that Taurasi has asked that her "B" sample be tested.

The Turkish basketball federation said Friday that the substance in Taurasi's positive test was modafinil.

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