SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants have reached a preliminary agreement with free-agent infielder Mark DeRosa on a two-year contract, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been finalized.
One of general manager Brian Sabean's top priorities this offseason was a big bat for the middle of the Giants' order — and DeRosa is a significant upgrade. The 12-year veteran was scheduled for a physical Monday and a formal announcement could come as soon as Tuesday.
San Francisco also is working to finalize a contract to bring back infielder Juan Uribe.
DeRosa, who turns 35 in February, has been on the Giants' radar for a while. He can play on either corner in the infield or outfield, giving San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy greater flexibility with his lineup. He likely will play third, moving slugger Pablo Sandoval to first and giving the Giants more power and offensive punch at that position.
HOUSTON — A person with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press that Tracy McGrady's representatives asked the Houston Rockets to trade him.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday night because neither side has made an official comment.
The seven-time All-Star has been asking for more playing time as he tries to come back from offseason microfracture surgery on his left knee. He left the team and returned to Houston over the weekend.
The Houston Chronicle first reported Monday night that McGrady's representatives asked for a trade. General manager Daryl Morey was not immediately available and Bob Myers, McGrady's agent, did not immediately return a phone message left by the AP.
McGrady has played in six games since his season debut on Dec. 15. Houston coach Rick Adelman had limited him to only 7-8 minutes since then.
McGrady is due to make about $23 million this season, the last year of his contract with Houston. He joined the Rockets in 2004 in a trade with Orlando.
The 30-year-old McGrady promised to team with Yao Ming and return the Rockets to prominence when he arrived in June 2004. But his five-season tenure was marked more by injuries than team success.
CHICAGO — Brett Favre cranked up and made one more impossible throw, zinging a touchdown pass in the fading seconds. Too bad for the Minnesota Vikings, that merely put them into overtime.
The Vikings lost again Monday night, beaten by the Chicago Bears 36-30 when Jay Cutler tossed a 39-yard strike to Devin Aromashodu. Minnesota fell for the third time in four games, and the defeat gave the New Orleans Saints homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
Playing for the first time since the dustup between Favre and coach Brad Childress became public, the Vikings' late rally wasn't enough. Despite Favre's stunning, fourth-down pass to Sidney Rice with 16 seconds left in regulation, Cutler threw the game-winner just over 9 minutes left in overtime to prevented the Vikings (11-4) from locking up a first-round playoff bye.
Nick Roach recovered a fumble by Adrian Peterson following a catch, setting up Cutler's fourth touchdown pass of the game.
Favre's pass to a leaping Rice capped a 68-yard touchdown drive and tied the game at 30.
BEREA, Ohio — Empowered to run an NFL team any way as he sees fit, Mike Holmgren's first major decision will hit close to home.
A coach's fate rests in his hands.
Holmgren, the Super Bowl-winning coach in Green Bay who signed a five-year contract as Cleveland's new team president, said Monday that he has not yet decided if coach Eric Mangini will return as Browns coach next year. Holmgren is waiting until Cleveland concludes its season before addressing Mangini's status.
Holmgren has spoken with Mangini over the phone on other "football" issues, but the two have not talked about the coach's future.
"It would be really unfair," Holmgren said on a 25-minute conference call from Arizona. "He's at the end of finishing his first season here and the team is doing well, clearly responding to him. That type of decision will be made once I get back there."
Holmgren will arrive in Cleveland on Monday, one day after the Browns (4-11) conclude their first season under Mangini at home against Jacksonville.
Having coached 17 seasons in the pros, the 61-year-old Holmgren has empathy for Mangini, whose turbulent first season in Cleveland is ending on a surprising uptick. The Browns have strung together a three-game winning streak for just the third time since their 1999 expansion return.
Holmgren did not provide any clues as to which way he's leaning regarding Mangini. He was diplomatic in addressing what could happen to the embattled coach. He appreciates it's difficult to transform a team into a winner in one season.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Steve Spurrier hates giving advice. Still, he had a few ideas for Florida coach Urban Meyer on how to handle the stress of leading one of the country's top football programs.
"He needs to have some outside interests," Spurrier said Monday. "Anybody that feels burn out at their job, that's the facts of life."
Meyer sent shock waves through college football Saturday, announcing his resignation because of health concerns. Meyer backed off that a day later, saying he would take an indefinite leave of absence with an eye toward returning to Florida's sidelines in time for the 2010 season.
Few know the pressure cooker of Florida football as well as Spurrier, who was the school's first Heisman Trophy winner 1966 and led the Gators to their first national championship in 1996.
But Spurrier always maintained a separation. He didn't go for late-night game-planning and escaped to the golf course — his passion — during the offseason. These days, the 64-year-old Spurrier looks trim and fit with a daily workout regimen that's kept him feeling good.
Meyer would serve himself and Florida's program if he found a similar outlet, Spurrier said.
LAS VEGAS — The head of the Nevada boxing commission ordered Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to submit to urine tests Monday as a way of trying to break the impasse that has threatened to derail their proposed March 13 megafight.
Pacquiao and Mayweather must submit to the tests within 48 hours or face possible fines or suspension by the Nevada Athletic commission.
"That at least starts the ball rolling," said Keith Kizer, the commission's executive director.
The ball may not roll very far, though, as time continues to run out on the big fight. There was no communication between the two sides Monday, and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said he planned to announce another fight for Pacquiao on Tuesday.
"There's been absolutely no movement," Arum said.
The tests, which were ordered by commission chairman Pat Lundvall, fall under an out-of-competition testing regulation which went into effect last year and allows state boxing authorities to order boxers to comply. Kizer said about 30 of the tests have been ordered in the last 18 months.
EUGENE — Michael Dunigan had 26 points and five rebounds Monday night as Oregon overcame a sluggish start to defeat winless Arkansas-Pine Bluff 73-53 at McArthur Court.
Dunigan was nearly unstoppable inside, shooting 10-of-14 from the field to lift Oregon (8-4) to its fourth straight win.
Sophomore guard Malcolm Armstead had 14 points and eight assists, and senior Tajuan Porter, who missed four of the Ducks' last six games with an ankle injury, added 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting from 3-point range.
— The Associated Press
"We didn't get off to a great start, but we managed the game and we closed out the game exceptionally," Oregon head coach Ernie Kent said. "The bigger thing is Mike Dunigan and the game he played. He just keeps getting better and better."
Most of Oregon's first-half offense went through Dunigan, who scored 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting.