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Originally published February 4, 2014 at 9:06 PM | Page modified February 4, 2014 at 10:40 PM

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Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman gets 8-year deal worth $135 million

The Atlanta Braves agreed to an eight-year contract with first baseman Freddie Freeman that reportedly is worth $135 million.

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Braves, Freeman agree on 8-year deal for a reported $135 million

The Atlanta Braves and first baseman Freddie Freeman agreed on an eight-year contract Tuesday. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the deal is worth a franchise-record $135 million.

Earlier, outfielder Jason Heyward and the Braves agreed to a $13.3 million, two-year contract. Freeman and Heyward, who are 24-year-olds, had filed for salary arbitration last month.

Freeman was an All-Star last year, when he hit .319 with 23 homers and drove in 109 runs. He matched his career best in home runs and set highs in batting average and RBI. He has surpassed 20 home runs in each of the last three seasons.

“Freddie has established himself as one of the best young talents in the game,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said.

Heyward hit .254 with 14 homers and 38 RBI in a career-low 104 games during his fourth season with the Braves. He had an appendectomy April 22 and suffered a broken jaw Aug. 21 when he was hit by a pitch from Jon Niese of the New York Mets.

Heyward was happy to avoid arbitration.

“In my head, it basically says to me, let’s go play some baseball,” he said.

McGrady wants to try pitching

Tracy McGrady wants to follow Michael Jordan’s path to the national pastime.

The retired seven-time NBA All-Star is aiming to become a baseball player, and plans to try pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. That is the team Roger Clemens pitched for a couple of years ago.

Jordan, perhaps the greatest NBA player of all time, played in the Chicago White Sox organization in 1994 during his first retirement from basketball, reaching the Class AA level.

A statement from the Skeeters said it is a “lifelong dream” of the 34-year-old McGrady’s to play baseball.

“McGrady has demonstrated skill, determination and diligence during his training program,” the statement said. “We look forward to monitoring his progress.”

McGrady scored 18,381 points and retired from the NBA in 2012, ending his career with the Atlanta Hawks.


Woods’ 10 birdies aren’t enough

American Tiger Woods, the top-ranked player in the world, made 10 birdies and one bogey at Delhi Golf Club in India but failed to win a skins game, according to a golf website. reported Woods and Hero Motors chairman Pawan Munjal lost the charity skins game to Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri. Kapur played college golf at Purdue.

Woods made his first visit to India as a guest of Munjal. Woods reportedly received about $2.5 million for playing.


Sparks reportedly to be bought

Retired NBA superstar Magic Johnson is part of a group buying the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, according to multiple media reports.

Johnson teamed with a group of investors to buy baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 for a record $2.15 billion. It will be the same group owning the Sparks, minus Peter Guber, who owns a stake in the NBA Golden State Warriors.


Fulham’s struggles continue

Fulham’s miserable season reached a new low when Shaun Miller scored on a header in the 120th minute, giving third-tier Sheffield United a 1-0 victory in an English FA Cup fourth-round replay.

American midfielder Clint Dempsey, on loan from Sounders FC, played the entire match for the relegation-threatened Cottagers, who are last in the English Premier League at 6-17-1.

Sheffield United will play a fifth-round match against the winner of Wednesday’s replay between Nottingham Forest and Preston North End.

British fans to get warning

Videos warning soccer fans against paying for sex with children at this year’s World Cup will be played on Brazil-bound flights from Britain.

“Please help to protect our kids,” Brazil defender David Luiz says in the video to air in June and July on British Airways.

Fearing an influx of fans will fuel the illicit child-sex market in Brazil, the “It’s a Penalty” campaign will alert fans about the legal consequences of paying underage prostitutes. The warning messages also are set to be played on stadium screens at England’s matches in Brazil.

“This campaign is an important one to raise awareness for something abhorrent that still occurs,” England coach Roy Hodgson said.

Britain’s National Crime Agency is supporting the charities-led campaign that highlights how the impoverished Brazilian children might have had their appearances manipulated to look older by criminal gangs seeking to profit from them.

Those paying for sex with children age 17 or under could be lining the pockets of organized criminals who are exploiting Brazilians, and fans are at risk of prosecution back in England, said Johnny Gwynne, director of the NCA’s child protection division.


• Doctors gave Rafael Nadal of Spain high marks on his back-injury recovery, with the world’s No. 1 tennis player seemingly ready to travel to South America for ATP play in the coming days.

Nadal was bothered by back pain in last month’s loss to Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland in the Australian Open final.

• Tommy Baldwin Racing has hired 27-year-old Reed Sorenson to drive the No. 36 Chevrolet this season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

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