Originally Published: January 11, 2018 10:10 p.m.
NEW YORK — Jay Bruce and his proven bat are headed back to the New York Mets.
The free-agent outfielder is set to return to the Big Apple after agreeing to a $39 million, three-year contract, according to two people familiar with the negotiations. The people spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday night because the deal is pending a physical and no announcement had been made.
Bruce will get $10 million this year and $14.5 million in each of the following two seasons. He can designated five teams each year that he cannot be traded to without his consent.
A three-time All-Star, Bruce hit a combined .254 with 36 home runs and 101 RBIs for the Mets and Cleveland Indians last season. After falling out of playoff contention, New York traded him to the AL Central champions on Aug. 9 for minor league pitcher Ryder Ryan.
Bruce, who turns 31 on April 3, fills a hole in the outfield and brings back some much-needed power to a Mets team trying to rebound from an injury-ravaged 70-92 season. His return in right field would likely mean Michael Conforto is ticketed for center once he recovers from shoulder surgery.
With slugger Yoenis Cespedes coming off a hamstring injury in left, the Mets plan to have their top three outfielders from last year back intact. They have the potential to form a very productive trio for years to come — if they're healthy.
Kirk, Zach Johnson lead Sony Open, Spieth takes late tumble
HONOLULU — Zach Johnson and Chris Kirk kept clean cards on a gorgeous day and each shot 7-under 63 to share the lead after the first round of the Sony Open.
Jordan Spieth wasn't as fortunate.
Spieth hit four trees with four shots on the par-4 eighth hole — his 17th of the round — an episode that began with his tee shot caroming off a trunk and into a ditch. He wound up with a quadruple-bogey 8, marring his eight-birdie round for only a 69.
Defending champion Justin Thomas opened with a 67, but he was all smiles on the 17th hole. Thomas, an Alabama alum, won a bet that required Georgia graduate Kevin Kisner to wear a Crimson Tide jersey from the tee box to the green.
Donnie Yantis to remain at Arizona State in expanded role
TEMPE — Donnie Yantis will remain at Arizona State in an expanded role.
New coach Herb Edwards said Thursday that Yantis will serve as an offensive assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Yantis was the Assistant Athletics Director for Football Recruiting the last two seasons under former coach Todd Graham.
Yantis was the head coach at Paradise Valley High School in Phoenix for 14 seasons and at Arizona Christian University for two years before joining the Sun Devils.
He starred at Paradise Valley as a quarterback, wide receiver, defensive back, linebacker and punter and played for Glendale Community College and Southern Utah University.
Amazon looks to build on 1st season of NFL streaming
SAN FRANCISCO — Amazon had a mostly successful debut into live streaming of major sports events, with increased audience and an improved viewing experience in its first season showing NFL games.
The question looking ahead is how aggressively will Amazon be in the sports streaming landscape?
"It's too soon to say," said Jim DeLorenzo, the head of Amazon Sports. "We're just in the early stages here. We were definitely pleased with the way things played out. It was great to partner with the NFL on this and we were really happy with how our customers reacted to it. But it's too soon to say this impacts our strategy going forward."
Amazon.com Inc. already had smaller deals with the ATP Tour to air last year's Next Gen ATP Finals and the rights to show some men's tennis tournaments to customers in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as an upcoming deal to show beach volleyball events.
But the NFL is the biggest endeavor Amazon has made so far after paying $50 million for the rights to stream 10 Thursday night games and an additional one on Christmas.
Amazon built on the audience Twitter had in 2016 in the first year of streaming on Thursday nights, with the averaging per-minute audience for the 11 games hitting 310,000, a 17 percent increase from Twitter's numbers.
On a per capita basis, the biggest audience was in the District of Columbia, followed by Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Utah. Prime members in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota and North Carolina watched for the longest amount of time.
Viewers who already are used to watching movies and scripted shows on Amazon's various platforms stayed longer on the NFL, with the average viewer watching for 63 minutes.
Utah athletic director apologizes for postgame tirade
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah athletic director Chris Hill has apologized for a tirade directed at a Pac-12 official following Sunday's basketball game against No. 11 Arizona State.
Coach Larry Krystkowiak had to stop mid-sentence during his postgame news conference as a man could be heard shouting and swearing from another room.
The man turned out to be Hill and he was yelling at Pac-12 coordinator of men's basketball officiating Bobby Dibler.
"I have had a few days to reflect on a heated conversation I had with an individual following our men's basketball game against Arizona State on Sunday," Hill said in a statement. "While my emotions were high and I thought our meeting was private, there is no excuse for the inappropriate language I used. I have apologized to the person involved, who is someone I have known for years and greatly respect. I also regret any discomfort to others as a result of my cursing. As the leader of this department, I expect more of myself and I am sincerely sorry."
The Sun Devils won 80-77 thanks to a pair of go-ahead free throws with 21.7 seconds remaining. Arizona State had three players foul out and the Utes shot 13 more free throws.