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In Brief: Tigers finalize Maeda’s contract

DETROIT (AP) — Kenta Maeda gave the Detroit Tigers what they were looking for in free agency, a veteran talented enough to bolster their rotation with an approach they want pitchers to model on the mound.

“We think he’s going to both help us win games and influence our young starters,” general manager Scott Harris said Tuesday after Detroit and the 35-year-old Japanese right hander finalized a $24 million, two-year contract.

Maeda joins a projected rotation with pitchers in their 20s, a group that potentially includes Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, Reese Olson, Tarik Skubal, Joey Wentz and perhaps Casey Mize.

Harris, entering his second full season in charge of the franchise, may add more players to the mound.

Maeda is 65-49 with a 3.92 ERA in 155 starts and 35 relief outings for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota.

He spent the past three years with the Twins and was 6-8 with a 4.23 ERA in 20 starts and one relief appearance this year in his return from Tommy John surgery two-plus years ago.

Harris said Maeda’s velocity returned to pre-surgery levels, giving him even more confidence that it was wise to sign him. Maeda’s four-seam fastball averaged 90.9 mph this year, up from 90.8 mph in 2021 but down from a peak of 92.3 mph in 2018.

As part of the deal, Maeda will donate $70,000 next year and $50,000 in 2025 to the team’s charitable foundation.

TIGHT RACE FOR CFP BERTHS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The four-team College Football Playoff is going out with the most crowded field of contenders and the most consequential championship weekend in the 10-year history of the system.

Eight teams have at least a glimmer of hope to make the field. The field for the playoff will be announced Sunday.

This year, every conference championship has at least one CFP contender. The Pac-12 and the SEC each have two. Two-time defending champion Georgia might be able to lose to Alabama and make the field, as it did on the way to the national title in 2021, but that is far from a guarantee.

TIGER WOODS OPTIMISTIC

NASSAU, Bahamas– Tiger Woods sounds more optimistic about his golf schedule than the PGA Tour getting a deal finalized with Saudi Arabia on time.

Woods is in the Bahamas for his first competition since ankle surgery in April.

So much has happened since then. The tour struck a deal with the backers of LIV Golf. And Woods joined the tour’s policy board.

He says he was frustrated by being left in the dark on the Saudi deal and wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

As for his golf, Woods says an ideal scenario would be to play once a month.

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