Chicago Ron Santo’s love for the Chicago Cubs stretched from his days as a standout third baseman who one season even jumped and clicked his heels to celebrate victories to the two decades he spent unabashedly pulling for his team as a broadcaster.
As much as his passion for the Cubbies soothed their long-suffering fans, his play and work in the broadcast booth helped him, too, through tough times and serious ailments, including a bout with diabetes that cost him both legs below the knees. He called the Cubs, simply, his therapy.
Santo, who had finished his 21st season broadcasting the Cubs in September, died Thursday night in Arizona from complications of bladder cancer, according to the team and WGN Radio, his longtime employer. He was 70.
Source: Yankees, Jeter progressing
New York — A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees have made “significant or substantial progress” on a new contract.
The person spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.
New York also moved close to an agreement with closer Mariano Rivera on a two-year contract for about $30 million. The sides worked on final details Friday and were likely to be in position to announce a finalized deal within a few days.
In other baseball news:
— A person familiar with the talks tells The Associated Press that the San Diego Padres are having very serious discussions with Boston about trading All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox.
— The Cincinnati Reds completed a new contract with right-hander Bronson Arroyo on Friday that adds two years through 2013 and $23.5 million in new money.
— Slugger Adam Dunn has officially joined the Chicago White Sox, giving them the big left-handed hitter they were seeking.
The White Sox announced the deal on Friday, a day after word came that he had agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract. Dunn batted .260 with 38 home runs with 103 RBIs for Washington last season.
Besides landing Dunn, the White Sox also announced that free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski agreed to a two-year, $8 million deal and is staying put.
UTEP, BYU in New Mexico Bowl
Albuquerque, N.M. — Texas-El Paso has accepted an invitation from the New Mexico Bowl and will face BYU on Dec. 18 in a matchup of former Western Athletic Conference rivals.
Woods extends lead at Sherwood
Thousand Oaks, Calif. — Tiger Woods is starting to look like his old self at the Chevron World Challenge.
Woods got off to a blazing start Friday and a solid putting stroke enabled him to play bogey-free in the second round for a 6-under 66 that gave him a four-shot lead going into the weekend of his final tournament this year.
Woods was at 13-under 131, his best 36-hole score this year by six shots. And the four-shot lead over U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell had to be a refreshing change for a guy who has been at least nine shots back through 36 holes in seven tournaments this year.
Jets’ Leonhard has broken leg
Florham Park, N.J. — New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard has a broken right leg that will require surgery and likely sideline him for the rest of the season.
UK wants second look at Kanter
Lexington, Ky. — The University of Kentucky is asking the NCAA to take a second look at the eligibility of freshman center Enes Kanter.
The school and the NCAA put out a joint statement Friday saying Kentucky has asked for an opportunity to submit additional information about Kanter’s eligibility.
Baylor’s Dunn just bruised
Waco, Texas — X-rays confirmed Friday that Baylor guard LaceDarius Dunn has only a bruised left forearm.
Dunn was injured when he fell to the floor while going for a rebound in the 11th-ranked Bears’ victory over Arizona State on Thursday.