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Brantley finalizes deal with Houston...Panthers shut down Newton...Williams gets extension

December 19, 2018

HOUSTON (AP) — Free agent outfielder Michael Brantley and the Houston Astros have finalized a $32 million, two-year contract. The 31-year-old had spent his entire 10-year career with the Cleveland Indians, where he was a three-time All-Star. Brantley is a career .295 hitter and gives Houston an upgrade to an outfield anchored by center fielder George Springer.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers are shutting down quarterback Cam Newton for at least one game and possibly the remainder of the season due to a lingering right shoulder problem. Coach Ron Rivera said Taylor Heinicke will make his first career start when Carolina hosts the Falcons on Sunday. Newton will be inactive.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina has given basketball coach Roy Williams an eight-year contract extension that runs through the 2027-28 season. Williams’ deal headlined the list of 11 contracts or extensions for Tar Heels head coaches announced by athletic director Bubba Cunningham.

UNDATED (AP) — Five-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin is retiring from swimming at age 23. She cites chronic shoulder pain that has affected her for the last 2½ years. She announced her plans in a letter posted on ESPN.com. Franklin’s success and bubbly personality made her a darling of the 2012 London Olympics. At age 17, she became the first woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympics in any sport.

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle Mariners will play at T-Mobile Park beginning next year under a new 25-year naming rights deal. The team today announced the agreement, which takes effect Jan. 1 and runs through December 2043. The Mariners’ ballpark has been known as Safeco Field since it opened in 1999 as part of a 20-year agreement.

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