Pujols makes choice... and it's not St. Louis

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Pujols makes choice... and it's not St. Louis

From Comcast SportsNet

DALLAS (AP)Three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols agreed Thursday to a 254 million, 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, leaving the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals after more than a decade for a new baseball life in southern California.

Pujols contract, which is subject to a physical, is the second-highest in baseball history and only the third to break the 200 million barrier, following Alex Rodriguezs 252 million, 10-year deal with Texas before the 2001 season and A-Rods 275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees before the 2008 season.

This is a monumental day for Angel fans and I could not be more excited, Angels owner Arte Moreno said.

In addition to the Pujols signing, the Angels agreed to a five-year contract with left-hander C.J. Wilson, a deal worth 77.5 million that raised their spending for the day to 331.5 million.

People familiar with the deals told The Associated Press the terms of each contract, speaking on condition of anonymity because those details were not made public.

Pujols had spent all 11 of his major league seasons with the Cardinals, hitting .338 with 445 home runs and 1,329 RBIs to become a franchise icon second only to Stan Musial. He is fourth in career slugging percentage at .617, trailing only Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (.690), Ted Williams (.634) and Lou Gehrig (.632).

Pujols numbers in nearly every major offensive category are on a three-year decline. He had his poorest season in 2011 and at 31 is likely to spend the majority of his career with the Angels at designated hitter rather than first base.

We understand that players will go through peaks and valleys of sort, new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. Albert has spent many years operating at peak, and if we want to call a decline going from superhuman to just great, I dont think weve seen the last great days of Albert Pujols, obviously, or we wouldnt be sitting here today.

Some have speculated he is older than his listed age. Albert Pujols age to me is not a concern, Dipoto said. Im not a scientist. I cant where he is, but I can tell you he hits like hes 27.

St. Louis also offered the slugger a 10-year deal, but he chose to leave the Gateway City for the freeway life.

We are disappointed, Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen.

The Angels, who finished 10 games behind pennant-winning Texas in the AL West, made the move as the financially troubled Los Angeles Dodgers are in the process of being sold by Frank McCourt in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, a deal that could give the regions NL team a new, wealthy owner. The Dodgers could aggressively bid for talent a year from now, giving them a boost in the regional competition for fans attention.

Winning breeds interest, and we are setting ourselves up to start next season with an opportunity to get good, Dipoto said.

Pujols led the Cardinals to a seven-game World Series victory over Wilsons Rangers, his second title with the team in the last six seasons. He also had been pursued by the Miami Marlins, but they dropped out Wednesday after agreeing to a deal with left-hander Mark Buehrle that raised their free agent-spending to 191 million for three players following deals with closer Heath Bell and shortstop Jose Reyes. The Angels and Marlins committed 522.5 million to just five free agents.

I think baseball needs to have a steroid-testing policy for owners, said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economics professor at Smith College.

Pujols agreed in 2004 to a 100 million, seven-year contract, a deal that with a 2011 option and bonuseswound up paying him 112.55 million over eight years.

He left a pretty good impact over there. I dont think fans will soon forget what his contributions were, said former Cardinals manager and star Joe Torre, now an executive with Major League Baseball. I still think the St. Louis fans are going to be more appreciative than angry.

Pujols agent, Dan Lozano, split off last year from the Beverly Hills Sports Council to form his own agency, and Pujols negotiations seemed like an attempt to surpass A-Rods landmark 252 million contract, agreed to at the same hotel 11 years earlier.

Pujols rejected a multiyear extension last offseason that was said to include a small percentage of the franchise. He cut off negotiations on the first day of spring training.

This is a footprint contract, because it follows the footprint laid by other great players, said agent Scott Boras, who negotiated Rodriguezs deals. Putting a hitter like Albert Pujols in a big market, where he can be a DH, I think its a win-win for everybody.

Pujols hit 37 home runs last season, running his 30-homer streak to 11 years, and batted .299 with 99 RBIs. He led the Cardinals improbable late-season surge and became only the third player to hit three home runs in a World Series game following Ruth and Reggie Jackson.

Reaction around the major leagues was swift.

For 2012, two wilds cards and no Albert Pujols. Im happy, said Sandy Alderson, general manager of the Cardinals NL rival New York Mets.

Said former Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty, now GM of the NL Central rival Cincinnati Reds: Im a little surprised, I guess. I really thought hed go back to St. Louis. Its certainly good for our division.

Patrick Nyarko haunts former team, Fire settle for draw against D.C. United

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Patrick Nyarko haunts former team, Fire settle for draw against D.C. United

Patrick Nyarko has made a number of big plays in Toyota Park over the years. He added another one Saturday, but did so for the visiting team.

Nyarko, who played eight seasons with the Chicago Fire, scored on a header following a corner kick in the 65th minute to deny the Fire three crucial points at home.

Jonathan Campbell's first professional goal had given the Fire the lead, but the match finished 1-1.

The Fire (1-2-4, 7 points) needed to get some points before heading into a three-game road trip that will take place over the span of eight days. A draw at home isn't what the team needed heading into that road trip.

Campbell's goal came following an Arturo Alvarez free kick in the 41st minute. Alvarez curled in a quality delivery that Campbell flicked into the goal with the outside of his foot. D.C. (2-3-4, 10 points) goalkeeper Travis Worra got a hand on it, but wasn't able to keep it out.

Nyarko's goal was the only serious threat for either team in the second half.

Entering the match, the Fire had to deal with a number of injuries leading up to the match. David Accam is still out with a knee injury. Rookie Alex Morrell, who was been used as a substitute the past two matches, was ruled out with a calf injury late in the week. On Friday John Goossens suffered a sprained LCL in training and is expected out 1-4 weeks. Matt Polster was a gameday scratch due to a calf injury of his own.

All those injuries led to the Fire having just 15 healthy field players to choose from. Accam made the sub list to fill out the lineup, but was likely never going to play.

With all that working against them the Fire weren't able to hold onto the win in wet and windy conditions. Razvan Cocis returned to the attacking midfield position and Nick LaBrocca made his first start with the Fire. LaBrocca was subbed out for Joey Calistri in the 53rd minute, who had his longest appearance of the season.

The Fire return to action Wednesday, May 11, in Vancouver.

Complete list of 47 Big Ten players selected in 2016 NFL Draft

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Complete list of 47 Big Ten players selected in 2016 NFL Draft

A total of 47 players from Big Ten schools were selected during this year's NFL Draft.

As expected, a large number of those 47 players were Ohio State Buckeyes, with Urban Meyer's program boasting a whopping 12 draftees, five of which were selected in the first round, one off an NFL Draft record.

Every Big Ten school was represented in this year's draft, with all 14 teams claiming at least one draftee.

Here's a complete list of the Big Ten products taken in this year's draft.

First round

3. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (Chargers)
4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (Cowboys)
8. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Titans)
10. Eli Apple, CB, Ohio State (Giants)
16. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (Lions)
20. Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (Jets)

Second round

43. Austin Johnson, DT, Penn State (Titans)
44. Jihad Ward, DE, Illinois (Raiders)
47. Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (Saints)
48. Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana (Packers)
51. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State (Jets)
58. Sean Davis, CB, Maryland (Steelers)
61. Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State (Saints)

Third round

65. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State (Browns)
67. Maliek Collins, DT, Nebraska (Cowboys)
69. Yannick Ngakoue, DE, Maryland (Jaguars)
75. Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State (Raiders)
80. Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State (Bills)
85. Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State (Texans)
86. Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers (Dolphins)
94. Nick Vannett, TE, Ohio State (Seahawks)
95. Graham Glasgow, C, Michigan (Lions)
96. Vincent Valentine, DT, Nebraska (Patriots)

Fourth round

99. Joe Schobert, LB, Wisconsin (Browns)
100. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (Raiders)
102. Joshua Perry, LB, Ohio State (Chargers)
106. Eric Murray, CB, Minnesota (Chiefs)
115. De'Vondre Campbell, LB, Minnesota (Falcons)
130. Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska (Ravens)
132. Willie Henry, DT, Michigan (Ravens)
137. Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern (Packers)
139. Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State (Bills)

Fifth round

147. Quinton Jefferson, DT, Maryland (Seahawks)
150. Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana (Bears)

Sixth round

176. Andy Janovich, FB, Nebraska (Broncos)
187. Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana (Redskins)
189. Anthony Brown, CB, Purdue (Cowboys)
191. Jake Rudock, QB, Michigan (Lions)
197. Dan Vitale, FB, Northwestern (Buccaneers)
198. Derek Watt, FB, Wisconsin (Chargers)
202. Anthony Zettel, DT, Penn State (Lions)
204. Jordan Lucas, S, Penn State (Dolphins)
213. Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State (49ers)
221. Ted Karras, OG, Illinois (Patriots)

Seventh round

224. Donavon Clark, OG, Michigan State (Chargers)
245. Clayton Fejedelem, S, Illinois (Bengals)
248. Austin Blythe, C, Iowa (Colts)

Two from Northwestern, two from Illini taken on Day 3 of NFL Draft

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Two from Northwestern, two from Illini taken on Day 3 of NFL Draft

Two Northwestern players and two Illinois players were selected on Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

Northwestern defensive end Dean Lowry and superback Dan Vitale were drafted in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively, giving the Wildcats a pair of draftees for the second straight year after safety Ibraheim Campbell and quarterback Trevor Siemian were drafted in 2015.

Lowry went at pick No. 137 to the Green Bay Packers, and Vitale was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at No. 197.

After three Cats were drafted in 2006, no Northwestern product heard his name called until 2010, when three more were drafted. Two Cats were drafted in 2012 before the selections of Campbell and Siemian last year.

Illinois defensive end Jihad Ward became the first Illini drafted since 2013 when he was selected in the second round Friday night. Saturday, two more Illinois products were picked, with offensive lineman Ted Karras going to the New England Patriots at pick No. 221 and safety Clayton Fejedelem going to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 235.

The Illini went two years without seeing a player selected in the NFL Draft, but the three-player draft class this year gives Illinois yet another featuring multiple players. At least three Illini went in the NFL Draft for five straight years from 2009 to 2013.