Former all-star closer

Ugueth Urbina

was released unexpectedly from a Venezuelan prison after serving more than 51/2 years for attempted murder, ESPN.com reported.

Urbina, 38, received a 14-year sentence in March 2007 after being accused of attacking workers with machetes and pouring gasoline on them at his family's ranch in October 2005.

The prison said that Urbina, who last pitched for the Phillies in 2005, was released Saturday for good behavior.

The Seattle Mariners on Wednesday officially announced their $2.75 million, one-year deal with outfielder Raul Ibanez, returning the veteran to where he began his major-league career in 1996.

Seattle needed to clear a roster spot before making the deal with the former Phillie official. It designated for assignment righthanded pitcher D.J. Mitchell, who was acquired from the New York Yankees in July for Ichiro Suzuki.

Outfielder Matt Diaz, 34, agreed to a minor-league deal with the Yankees, according to the New York Times. Atlanta released Diaz in October.

Boston acquired all-star closer Joel Hanrahan from Pittsburgh in a six-player deal. The Red Sox completed the trade Wednesday, receiving infielder Brock Holt. They gave up righthanders Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr., and first baseman-outfielder Jerry Sands.

Former New York Mets righthander John Maine, 31, signed a minor-league deal with Miami. He last pitched in 2010 before shoulder surgery.

HOCKEY: Two players with local ties - defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and forward Johnny Gaudreau - will try to help the United States open the IIHF World Junior Championship tournament with a win Thursday against Germany in Ufa, Russia.

Gostisbehere, a sophomore at Union College (N.Y.), was a Flyers third-round draft pick in June. Gaudreau, a fourth-round selection by Calgary in 2011, played three years at Gloucester Catholic and stars for Boston College.

The 9 a.m. game will be televised live on the NHL Network. Germany opened with a 9-3 loss to Canada on Wednesday.

During the NHL lockout, Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges, 28, extended an invitation to his followers on Twitter to join him at a Montreal rink Wednesday, during the Boxing Day holiday.

Dozens of players, ranging widely in age and skill level, packed the outdoor rink for a chance to skate alongside an NHL player.

HORSE RACING: Linda Toscano, who trained horse of the year award-winner Chapter Seven and became the first female trainer to win the Hambletonian with 3-year-old trotter Market Share, was named trainer of the year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association.

Toscano, 57, of Freehold, N.J., is the first female trainer to win the award. Her stable set a career high for purses, with $6.71 million, and was home to three divisional champions.

COLLEGES: Joe Krivak, 77, Maryland's football coach from 1987 to '91, died after battling leukemia.

Former Michigan State football defensive standout Reggie Garnett, 38, died of complications from diabetes.

Central Michigan outlasted Western Kentucky, 24-21, in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.

SOCCER: Manchester United's Wayne Rooney will miss up to three weeks with a knee-ligament strain suffered in practice. The England star missed United's 4-3 win over Newcastle.

- Staff and
wire reports