The Chicago Cubs said they have agreed to a one-year contract with outfielder Nate Schierholtz.
The team announced the agreement Friday. The deal calls for Schierholtz to earn $2.25 million plus an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses.
Schierholtz was traded from San Francisco to the Phillies last season in the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Giants. He batted .257 with six homers in 114 games. The Phillies declined to tender Schierholtz a 2013 contract offer, making him a free agent.
The Pirates agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract with free-agent lefthander Francisco Liriano. General manager Neal Huntington would not confirm the deal, which is pending a physical that may not be completed until after the holidays.
Liriano was 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA last season between Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox.
The Twins signed injury-hampered righthander Rich Harden to a minor-league contract with an invitation to compete for a spot on the staff in spring training.
Free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski passed a physical, clearing the way for a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers.
GYMNASTICS: When gymnast Gabby Douglas allowed herself to dream of being an Olympic champion, she imagined having a nice little dinner with family and friends to celebrate. Maybe she'd make an appearance here and there.
She says it's gotten far crazier than she ever thought it would.
Now the teenager who became the first African American gymnast to claim gymnastics' biggest prize - the all-around Olympic title - has a new honor. She is the Associated Press' 2012 female athlete of the year, edging out swimmer Missy Franklin in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors.
NCAA: An NCAA committee is recommending changes that would affect recruiting in all college sports.
One proposal would allow coaches in all sports to begin contacting potential high school recruits after July 1 of their sophomore year. There would still be no-contact periods, but a second proposal would remove limitations on how or how often coaches contact recruits when they're allowed.
The changes are expected to be voted on Jan. 19 at the NCAA convention near Dallas.
TRACK & FIELD: The Big Ten isn't talking about the future of the Suzy Favor Athlete of the Year Award, named after three-time Olympian who revealed this week she lived a double life as an escort in Las Vegas.
Suzy Favor Hamilton posted her confession on her Twitter account Thursday after a report on The Smoking Gun website detailed her life as a prostitute.
In the wake of the news, Disney canceled an appearance by Favor Hamilton, who won 23 conference and nine NCAA titles, the Orange County Register reported. The Big Ten Conference and Wisconsin, where Favor Hamilton starred, declined comment.
SOCCER: The Iraqi Football Association denies it is negotiating with Argentine great Diego Maradona to take over as a coach of the national team.
Deputy IFA head Abdul-Khaliq Masoud told the Associated Press the association isn't in talks with Maradona "and doesn't have any intention to hire him."
Masoud's comments came a day after an Argentine soccer official was quoted saying Maradona was a leading candidate to take over as Iraq coach.
- Inquirer wire services