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Beckett, Red Sox agree to one-year deal


The Red Sox and pitcher Josh Beckett settled their arbitration case yesterday, agreeing to a one-year contract for $4,325,000. Beckett, acquired in a seven-player trade on Thanksgiving, made $2,425,000 last season when he went 15-8 with a 3.38 ERA for the Florida Marlins. He filed for arbitration and asked for $4.9 million, while the Red Sox offered $3.75 million. He can become a free agent after the 2007 season. The Red Sox traded four prospects to Florida for Beckett, third baseman Mike Lowell, and reliever Guillermo Mota. Mota was later traded to the Cleveland Indians as part of a package that brought outfielder Coco Crisp to Boston. Crisp is the only Red Sox player still in arbitration.

Horse racing

High Limit beats Giacomo in Strub

High Limit won the $300,000 Strub Stakes for 4-year-olds at Santa Anita, spoiling the return of 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo in Arcadia, Calif. Sidelined for eight months after finishing seventh in the Belmont Stakes, Giacomo made a run from near the back of the 11-horse field, but finished 5 lengths back in third. High Limit sat third on the backstretch under jockey Patrick Valenzuela, took the lead at the top of the stretch, and held off challenges from Top This and That and Giacomo to win by 4 1/2 lengths, covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:49. Earlier in the day, heavy favorite Bob and John dominated four opponents in the $102,500 Sham Stakes, giving trainer Bob Baffert his best prospect for this year's Kentucky Derby.

Jockey Santos rides his 4,000th winner

Jose Santos got his 4,000th career victory, winning the fifth race at Aqueduct Race Track. The 44-year-old Santos reached the milestone aboard Melodeeman. He became the 47th rider to reach that mark in North America, according to Equibase Company, the recordkeeper for thoroughbred racing . . . Keyed Entry outran heavily favored First Samurai by 1 1/4 lengths on a sloppy track to win the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Miami. Ridden by John Velazquez, Keyed Entry finished the 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:27 in the Grade II race.


Hingis advances to final at Pan Pacific

Martina Hingis defeated top-seeded Maria Sharapova, 6-3, 6-1, to advance to the final of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Hingis, who entered the tournament as a wild card, will face second-seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia in today's final. Dementieva beat compatriot and fourth-seeded Anastasia Myskina, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, in the other semifinal . . . Top-seeded Ivan Ljubicic defeated teenager Novak Djokovic of Serbia-Montenegro, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-4, to advance to the Zagreb (Croatia) Indoors final. Ljubicic will face qualifier Stefan Koubek, who upset Tim Henman, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, in the other semifinal . . . Tommy Haas moved into his first final since 2004 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Vince Spadea at the International Tennis Championships in Delray Beach, Fla. Haas will face defending champion Xavier Malisse, who beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1.


Davis expected back with Raptors

Antonio Davis is expected to suit up for the Toronto Raptors early this week, returning to a team that traded him three years ago. Davis, acquired Friday in a deal that sent Jalen Rose, a first-round draft pick, and cash to the New York Knicks, took a physical yesterday morning. The Raptors said they expect him back tomorrow or Tuesday . . . Indiana Pacers forward Jonathan Bender retired after he was unable to recover from a series of knee injuries . . . New Orleans and Philadelphia have agreed to extend until tomorrow the deadline to complete a physical on center Steven Hunter, who was part of a trade from the 76ers to the Hornets last week.


Ohio State will await ruling from NCAA

Ohio State likely will be waiting 3-5 weeks to find out if its athletic program will face more sanctions over alleged NCAA violations after a hearing to determine whether self-imposed punishments were adequate. Ohio State banned the men's basketball team from postseason play last year and fired coach Jim O'Brien. The university has conceded to nine violations, seven in the men's basketball program . . . Former University of Mississippi football coach John Vaught, who led the Rebels to six conference championships and 18 bowl games in 24-plus seasons, primarily from 1947-70, died in Oxford, Miss., at 96.


Bergqvist breaks high jump mark

Sweden's Kajsa Bergqvist broke the world indoor record in the women's high jump by clearing 6 feet 9 3/4 inches in Arnstadt, Germany. The previous mark of 6-9 1/2 was set by Heike Henkel of Germany Feb. 8, 1992. Yaroslav Rybakov of Russia won the men's competition by jumping 7-9 1/4, the best in the world this year . . . Michael Phelps, winner of six gold medals in the 2004 Olympics, lowered his American record in the 200-meter freestyle to 1:42.78, then earned his fourth victory of the FINA World Cup meet by taking the 200 individual medley in 1:55.28 in East Meadow, N.Y.

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