Olympic champion

Lindsey Vonn

has been named the 2010 female athlete of the year by the Associated Press. Vonn received 77 of 175 votes in the tally announced Saturday.

Among Vonn's accomplishments: a gold medal in the Olympic downhill; a bronze medal in the Olympic super-G; three overall World Cup titles in a row; and 11 World Cup race victories in the 2009-10 season, breaking her own U.S. record of nine.

Finishing second with 32 votes was the racehorse Zenyatta. It was the 6-year-old mare's second consecutive year in which she finished No. 2 in the balloting. Zenyatta retired with a 19-1 career record and a North American earnings record for mares or fillies.

Connecticut basketball player Maya Moore finished third with 29 votes, followed by tennis star Serena Williams with 14. Moore led UConn to its second straight unbeaten season and NCAA championship in April. Williams, the 2002 and 2009 female athlete of the year, won two Grand Slam titles this year despite being limited to six tournaments because of injuries.

BASEBALL: The Minnesota Twins signed Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka of the Chiba Lotte Marines to a $9.25 million, three-year contract that includes a club option for the 2014 season. Nishioka, 26, led the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball last season with a .346 batting average.

The Boston Red Sox signed righthander Dan Wheeler, an 11-year veteran, to a $3 million, one-year contract with a club option for 2012. Wheeler, 33, went 2-4 with a 3.35 ERA and three saves in 64 relief outings for Tampa Bay last season.

Phil Cavarretta, 94, the 1945 National League MVP who led the Chicago Cubs to their last World Series appearance, died Friday night in Lilburn, Ga., of complications from a stroke, according to a grandson, Jeffrey Brown.

A first baseman and outfielder, Cavarretta broke into the major leagues in 1934 and spent the first 20 of his 22 seasons with the Cubs before moving across town to play for the White Sox.

The three-time all-star led the NL with a .355 batting average and a .449 on-base percentage in 1945, when the Cubs lost to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. He finished with a .293 batting average, 95 home runs, and 920 RBIs in more than 2,000 big-league games.

Walt Dropo, 87, of Peabody, Mass., who played 13 seasons in the majors and in 1950 won the American League rookie of the year award with the Boston Red Sox, died Friday, the University of Connecticut said in a statement. Dropo beat out New York Yankees pitcher Whitey Ford for the award after batting .322 with 34 home runs and a league-best 144 RBIs in 136 games. He also made his only all-star team that year.

- Wire reports