Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals picked up the leadoff hitter they had been seeking, acquiring center fielder Coco Crisp from the Boston Red Sox for reliever Ramon Ramirez on Wednesday.
Kansas City was 12th among 14 AL teams in runs last season and added power last month, obtaining first baseman Mike Jacobs from Florida.
The switch-hitting Crisp gives the Royals speed at the top of the lineup and a superb defender in center field who has World Series experience.
“The speed aspect of it was very important,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.
The 29-year-old was the subject of trade rumors for much of last season following the emergence of rookie Jacoby Ellsbury.
The two split time in center, with Crisp hitting .283 with seven homers and 41 RBIs in 98 games. He also stole 20 bases in 27 attempts, the third straight season he’s reached the 20-steal mark.
Ellsbury hit .280 with nine homers and 47 RBIs last season, proving to the Red Sox that he’s ready to be an everyday player. Boston also gains financial savings by trading Crisp, who’s due to make $5.75 million next season in a deal that includes an $8 million club option for 2010 with a $500,000 buyout.
The Royals obtained Ramirez, a 27-year-old righty, in a trade with Colorado before last season. With a fastball that reaches the mid-90s mph, Ramirez is a power pitcher who seems suited for the late innings. He was one of the primary setup men for closer Joakim Soria and flourished in that spot, going 3-2 with a 2.64 earned-run average and 70 strikeouts in 712⁄3 innings.
Cubs deadline Dec. 1
New York — Bidders for the Chicago Cubs have until Dec. 1 to submit offers, Major League Baseball said Wednesday after a meeting of its ownership committee. Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer, said representatives of four bidders have met in New York in recent weeks with officials from the commissioner’s office, MLB’s Internet company and the sport’s new television network.
Wakamatsu hiring official
Seattle — Don Wakamatsu became the first Asian-American manager in major league baseball history when he was hired Wednesday by the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners’ 14th manager, Wakamatsu was bench coach for the Oakland Athletics last season. Before that he spent five years with the Texas Rangers.
The 45-year-old was among a field of seven candidates interviewed by Zduriencik. The overwhelming fan favorite was former Seattle second baseman and current Chicago White Sox bench coach Joey Cora.
Mussina expected to retire
New York — Desperate for starting pitchers, the New York Yankees expect to enter next season without 20-game winner Mike Mussina. FoxSports.com reported Wednesday that Mussina intends to retire and will make the move official this week.
U.S. blanks Guatemala
Commerce City, Colo. — Freddy Adu scored his first goal as a member of the U.S. national team, and Jozy Altidore assisted on Kenny Cooper’s sliding shot, leading the Americans to a 2-0 win over Guatemala in a World Cup qualifier Wednesday night.
Chiefs add three players
Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs added three more players on Wednesday to stabilize their hobbled roster.
Kansas City signed linebacker Curtis Gatewood and defensive end Andy Studebaker to two-year contracts, and promoted running back Jackie Battle from the practice squad. Defensive tackle Antwon Burton also was added to the practice squad.
Arlington, Texas — The NFL is giving Adam “Pacman” Jones another chance. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday the suspended cornerback had been reinstated by league commissioner Roger Goodell, but he must miss two more games — this Sunday and the following game on Thanksgiving. He’ll be back Dec. 7 at Pittsburgh.
Vikings’ Allen fined
Eden Prairie, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has been fined $25,000 for a recent spate of late hits, but he won’t be suspended.
After his summons to NFL headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Allen returned to Winter Park to continue resting and rehabilitating his sprained right shoulder. He vowed his approach to pass rushing would not change, even though he’s been fined a total of $80,000 this season — over three separate levies — for what the league has deemed unacceptable contact during games.
Heels lose Zeller for year
Chapel Hill, N.C. — North Carolina says forward Tyler Zeller will likely miss the rest of the season because of a broken wrist.
School officials say the freshman, who started in place of injured Tyler Hansbrough, had surgery Wednesday to repair his left wrist. The university’s doctors say normal recovery time for the injury is 12-16 weeks.
The top-ranked Tar Heels have won two games without Hansbrough, the reigning national player of the year who has missed roughly three weeks of practice due to a stress reaction in his right shin.
Final Fours awarded
Indianapolis — The NCAA says the men’s basketball Final Four will be played at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington in 2014. It also awarded the 2016 men’s Final Four to Houston. Those games will be played at Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. The 2012 Final Four will be played at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, with finals awarded to Atlanta’s Georgia Dome in 2013 and the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in 2015.
LPGA reduces slate
West Palm Beach, Fla. — The LPGA Tour has become the latest pro sports organization to feel the crunch of the global economic downturn. The LPGA Tour announced Wednesday that it would offer three fewer tournaments in 2009 than this year, all because of sponsorship loss. Prize money also will dip by about $5 million.