Sports briefs for Friday, Dec. 7, 2012

Posted Dec. 07, 2012, at 8:38 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 07, 2012, at 9:14 p.m.

Pats’ Brady, wife welcome daughter

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady welcomed his first daughter into the world on Wednesday.

Brady’s wife, model Gisele Bundchen, gave birth to a baby girl named Vivian Lake.

Bundchen delivered the news through Facebook.

“We feel so lucky to have been able to experience the miracle of birth once again and are forever grateful for the opportunity to be the paretns of another little angel. Vivian Lake was born at home on December 5. She is healthy and full of life.

“Thank you all for your support and well wishes. We wish you and your families many blessings.”

The couple has a son, Benjamin, 3, and Brady has another son, John, 5.

Brady, meanwhile, is preparing for the Patriots’ home game on Monday night against Houston.

Wizards remain uncertain about John Wall’s return

WASHINGTON — Ten weeks after the Wizards announced that John Wall would miss “approximately” eight weeks because of a stress injury in his left patella, the injured point guard is still unable to practice, scrimmage or even elevate to shoot.

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld and Wall both referred to the injury as a “bump in the road” that wouldn’t keep him down for long, but the team now has no timetable for his return. His extended absence has raised concerns, but Coach Randy Wittman acknowledged Thursday that the original estimate was actually eight-to-12 weeks. Wittman began to panic when a reporter asked if Wall would return this season.

“I hope so. What the heck is that? You’re scaring me,” Wittman said before cursing a few times. “I just talked to my mother again today. I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not looking at it like that”

He added, “We’re not hiding anything here.”

Grunfeld said that the team is following orders from the medical staff and will put Wall on the court when he receives clearance, and not a minute sooner.

Johnson returns to Braves with one-year deal

Outfielder Reed Johnson will be back with the Atlanta Braves next season after reaching agreement on a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

The deal includes a $1.6 million club option for 2014.

Johnson, 35, came to the Braves on July 30 from the Chicago Cubs. He hit .290 with three home runs and 20 RBI for the two teams and batted .419 as a pinch hitter.

The well-traveled veteran has a career .284 batting average with Toronto, the Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta.

Average baseball salary climbs to $3.2 million

Not surprisingly, major-league baseball players are making more money than ever.

The average salary rose to $3.2 million this year, an increase of 3.8 percent over 2011, according to figures released Friday by the Major League Baseball Players’ Association. It was the biggest increase since 2007, fueled in part by a rise in the minimum salary from $414,000 to $480,000.

The New York Yankees led the way with the highest average at $6.88 million. Next was the Los Angeles Dodgers at $5.55 million

At the bottom was the Houston Astros at $685,000, which was the lowest figure since the 2006 Florida Marlins.

In the past 20 years, the average player salary has risen almost $1 million, from 2,372,189 in 2003 to $3,213,479 in 2012. Likewise, the minimum salary has climbed $180,000 from 2003 when it was $300,000.

Yankees reach one-year deal with outfielder Gardner

The New York Yankees have agreed to a one-year contract with speedy outfielder Brett Gardner that avoids salary arbitration, the Major League Baseball team said on Friday.

Though no financial details were disclosed, the deal is estimated to be worth $2.85 million, according to local media.

Gardner, a World Series champion with the Yankees in 2009, was limited to just 16 games last season because of a right elbow strain, batting .323 with two doubles and three RBIs.

The 29-year-old, who led the American League with 49 stolen bases in 2011, is a career .266 hitter in the majors after playing in 475 games spread over five seasons.

Andruw Jones agrees to play in Japan

Andruw Jones has reached an agreement with the Rakuten Golden Eagles on a one-year deal worth about $3.6 million to play in Japan, Nikkansports.com reported Friday.

If the report is accurate, Jones would become one of the biggest Major League Baseball stars to play in Japan.

Jones, 35, hit just .197 with 14 homers and 34 RBIs in 233 at-bats for the Yankees last season.

Jones won 10 straight Gold Gloves from 1998 through 2007, but his offensive production has dropped significantly over the past five seasons. He hit .158 with three homers in 75 games with the Dodgers in 2008, and he has not hit better than .247 or hit more than 19 homers in any season since.

NHL, players’ union not planning to meet

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association are not planning to meet this weekend but might correspond in some fashion, according to Sportsnet.

The two sides will reportedly use a cooling-off period after negotiations broke down on Thursday.

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr thought that an agreement was reached over money but owners rejected the proposal and denied that the deal was close to being agreed on.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL put an additional $100 million — for total of $300 million — on the table along with other concessions and the players were unwilling to give.

The commissioner said the league had made concessions on five-year player contracts, a longer collective bargaining agreement and the “make whole” to help teams with long player contracts transition to the new collective bargaining agreement.

Bettman said when the union returned with a counter proposal rather than a decision on the league’s offer, the NHL rejected the NHLPA proposal. He said the league has pulled many of its concessions made in the last few days off the table.

Fehr said the league balked at the union’s proposal for an eight-year collective bargaining agreement with an opt-out after six years. The owners wanted a 10-year contract, with the ability to opt out after eight seasons.

Jets’ Tebow may have idle homecoming

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — This much is known about Tim Tebow’s status for his homecoming game Sunday in Jacksonville: The Jets did not practice the Wildcat this week as he continues to recover from two fractured ribs.

That seems most likely to disappoint the Jaguars, who are promoting Tebow’s return — he played high school football in Jacksonville before winning two NCAA titles and a Heisman Trophy at Florida — to boost their sagging attendance.

Officially, the NFL’s most talked about backup quarterback will be a game-time decision as the Jets (5-7), facing a must-win game against the Jaguars (2-10) at 1 p.m., turn back to Mark Sanchez as their starter with Greg McElroy likely serving as the backup.

“It’s just been the scout team reps, similar to a normal week, it really hasn’t changed at all,” McElroy said Friday after coach Rex Ryan earlier in the week considered sticking with him after he came off the bench to lead the Jets to a 7-6 win over the Cardinals this past Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Sanchez, or McElroy, or Tebow — Ryan said all three could be active for the game if Tebow is able to play – almost certainly won’t have Dustin Keller as a target as the tight end was listed as doubtful with an ankle injury.

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