San Francisco — The Big Unit is heading home to the Bay Area.
Randy Johnson and the San Francisco Giants agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract Friday, meaning the 45-year-old pitcher will go for his 300th win with a new team.
Johnson, a 21-year big-league veteran who spent the past two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, was born in Walnut Creek, Calif., about 30 minutes from the Giants’ waterfront ballpark. He grew up in nearby Livermore.
The five-time Cy Young Award winner has 295 victories after going 11-10 with a 3.91 earned-run average in 30 starts last season. He can earn an additional $5 million in performance bonuses.
The Giants offered several things on Johnson’s wish list: spring training in the Phoenix area and a chance to stay on the West Coast and in the NL West so he can pitch near his current home in Arizona.
Johnson joins fellow Cy Young winners Tim Lincecum (2008) and Barry Zito (2002) in an intriguing rotation that also features promising right-hander Matt Cain. San Francisco becomes the first team with three Cy Young Award recipients since the 2002 Atlanta Braves with Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz.
Johnson has 4,789 strikeouts, second on the career list to Nolan Ryan (5,714). The 6-foot-10 lefty made $16 million last season, when he struck out 173 and walked 44.
Jockey dies from fall
Los Alamitos, Calif. — Jockey Sam Thompson Jr. died Christmas Day, five days after he was thrown from a quarter horse following a race at Los Alamitos. The 36-year-old rider had been on life support at Los Alamitos Medical Center since the Dec. 20 accident. Thompson’s family had him taken off life support Thursday, medical center spokesman Orlando Gutierrez said.
Jazz forward sidelined
Salt Lake City — Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap will miss seven to 10 days because of a sprained knee ligament. He injured his left knee Tuesday night in Milwaukee.
Army taps Cal Poly coach
West Point, N.Y. — Cal Poly’s Rich Ellerson was hired as Army’s football coach Friday, joining a team that hasn’t had a winning record since 1996.
He replaces Stan Brock, who was fired Dec. 12 after a pair of 3-9 seasons. This season concluded with a 34-0 loss to Navy.
Under Ellerson, Cal Poly made it to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs four times and was ranked as high as No. 3 this season. He was 56-34 in his eight years at Cal Poly. Ellerson was defensive coordinator at Arizona from 1997 to 2000. His nearly 30 years of college coaching includes a stint as head coach at Southern Utah.
Kansas University offensive coordinator Ed Warinner reportedly was a finalist for the position.
“I will never receive, nor have I ever received a finer compliment professionally or personally than to be entrusted with the Army football program at this point in its history,” Ellerson said in a statement.
Ellerson grew up with Army football — his father and two brothers were West Point graduates. His brother John was captain of the 1962 team that went 6-4.
Huskers arrive for bowl
Jacksonville, Fla. — Though the Nebraska football team arrived to sunshine and warm weather here Friday and with the anticipation of playing in its first Gator Bowl, the mood was less than festive.
The Cornhuskers arrived without head coach Bo Pelini and his brother Carl, the team’s defensive coordinator, who were in Youngstown, Ohio, for their father’s funeral. Anthony Pelini died Tuesday after an extended illness. He was 85.
Spartans, Dantonio agree
Orlando, Fla. — Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio got a new contract Friday, a deal that will pay him a $2 million bonus if he remains with the program into 2016. The revised contract was announced in Florida, where the No. 19 Spartans (9-3) are preparing to play No. 16 Georgia (9-3) on New Year’s Day in the Capital One Bowl.
Cowboys coach returning
Irving, Texas — Wade Phillips will be back as coach of the Dallas Cowboys next season, and Jason Garrett will remain in charge of the offense, regardless of whether the team makes the playoffs, club owner Jerry Jones said Friday.
“The coaches are in place. I’ve said that. How can I be any clearer?” Jones said. “Look, I’ve said that our coaching staff, as far as I’m concerned, is in place. I just want to make the statement rather than answer questions, because your questions imply certain things that I don’t want to imply.”
Romo ‘ready to go’
Irving, Texas — Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo seems to be over the midweek illness that caused him to miss a day of practice. “I think he’s feeling all right now,” coach Wade Phillips said Friday. “He was maybe a little weak yesterday, but he’s doing a lot better today. I think he’ll be ready to go.”
Vikings’ Griffin ailing
Eden Prairie, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin missed practice Friday due to flulike symptoms.
Coach Brad Childress said he wasn’t sure how Griffin’s health would affect his status for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the New York Giants.
Bears place safety on IR
Lake Forest, Ill. — Chicago Bears safety Mike Brown will miss the rest of the season due to a calf injury, leaving the defense without one of its emotional leaders heading into Sunday’s game at Houston that could decide whether they make the playoffs.
Bruschi to miss game
Foxborough, Mass. — New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is expected to sit out again Sunday against Buffalo because of a knee injury, and defensive end Richard Seymour is questionable due to a sore back.
Miami LB says he’ll play
Davie, Fla. — Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder expects to play against the New York Jets on Sunday, despite a knee injury that limited his practice time this week.