BRAVES MOVING TRIPLE-A TEAM: The daunting trip from Triple-A to the majors will soon be about 36 miles for Atlanta Braves prospects. Gwinnett County approved a plan Tuesday to build a new stadium in the booming Atlanta suburbs, allowing the Braves to move their International League team in Richmond, Va., closer to home for the 2009 season. Richmond has been the home of Atlanta's Triple-A team since the franchise moved from Milwaukee in 1966. But the Braves failed in negotiations to get a new stadium to replace The Diamond, a 22-year-old facility that was in need of major upgrades.

WHEELER, RAYS AGREE TO DEAL: Relief pitcher Dan Wheeler and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration, agreeing Tuesday to a $2,875,000, one-year contract. The 30-year-old right-hander was obtained in a trade that sent Ty Wigginton to Houston last July.

PIRATES ADD BREAM AS COACH: Sid Bream, who kept Pittsburgh out of the 1992 World Series by scoring the winning run for Atlanta in Game 7 of the NL playoffs, is rejoining the Pirates as a coach with their Class-A State College farm club. First baseman Adam LaRoche bypassed arbitration Tuesday by agreeing to a $5 million, one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates as the sides continue to discuss a multiyear deal. LaRoche overcame a slow start to hit .272 with 21 home runs and 88 RBIs.


RUIZ TRADED: FC Dallas has traded leading scorer Carlos Ruiz back to the Los Angeles Galaxy, bolstering an offense that already has English star David Beckham and American forward Landon Donovan, the top scorer in U.S. national team history. The Galaxy reacquired Ruiz for a second-round draft pick in 2009 and an undisclosed amount of allocation money.

WIZARDS ACQUIRE PICK: The Kansas City Wizards aren't standing pat as they wait to hear whether star forward Eddie Johnson is headed for the Premier League. The Wizards acquired the top pick in the MLS draft Tuesday, sending defender Nick Garcia to the expansion San Jose Earthquakes to complete the deal. The move comes after a weekend in which Johnson left the American national team's training camp amid reports he has been discussing a possible move to Fulham in England's top league.

Auto racing

NEW CAR GETS FIRST LAPS: Clint Bowyer was still coming off the corners in Texas going more than 200 mph. From the first lap Tuesday, the car stuck going low into the first turn. "There's definitely things that feel different, but I was pleasantly surprised, I really was," Bowyer said during the first of a two-day tire test, and the first time NASCAR's new cars ran at Texas Motor Speedway. While the testing is primarily to provide Goodyear the basis to determine what kind of tire to bring for the Samsung 500 in April, Bowyer and Juan Pablo Montoya are getting the first chance to see how the new car — the former Car of Tomorrow — handles on the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked track.

CHILE BACKS DAKAR RALLY BID: Chile wants to become the new host of the Dakar Rally, the grueling endurance race that was canceled because of terrorist threats along the route across the Sahara. The Chilean government gave its support Tuesday for a bid by sports and tourism officials to stage the event in 2009. The race had been run annually in Africa since 1979.

HAWAII TO ANNOUNCE COACH: Hawaii was expected to announce a new football coach to replace June Jones as early as Wednesday, with defensive coordinator Greg McMackin considered the front-runner to land the job. McMackin has been endorsed by Jones and the remaining assistant coaches. Defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said he would be "shocked" if McMackin was not hired.