Chargers, defensive end Freeney agree to two-year deal
SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Chargers agreed Saturday to a two-year deal with aging star pass rusher Dwight Freeney that could be worth $13.35 million.
The deal to bring Freeney to the Chargers came four days after outside linebacker Melvin Ingram tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a padless practice.
The addition of Freeney also helps cushion the loss of outside linebackers Antwan Barnes and Shaun Phillips to free agency.
“It’s great to add a solid veteran who brings valuable experience to our defense,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said in the release announcing the deal. “His proven pass-rush ability is a perfect fit for our defense.”
Freeney is 33 and entering his 12th season. He will make $5.25 million this season.
He was Indianapolis’ career sacks leader with 107 ½ but the Colts decided not to re-sign him in the offseason. After recording 13 ½ sacks in 2009, his totals declined each of the past three years. He had five in 2012.
Freeney, a seven-time Pro Bowler, never seemed comfortable after moving from a 4-3 defensive end, where he spent his first 10 NFL seasons, to a 3-4 outside linebacker. The Chargers run a 3-4 defense.
Braves lose O’Flaherty with torn elbow ligament
ATLANTA — Braves general manager Frank Wren said Saturday left-hander Eric O’Flaherty has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.
The loss of O’Flaherty, who faces possible season-ending surgery, leaves the Braves in a sudden bullpen crisis.
On Thursday, left-hander Jonny Venters had season-ending surgery to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. It is his second Tommy John surgery.
Also, right-hander Jordan Walden was placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation on Friday.
The loss of O’Flaherty leaves Luis Avilan as the only left-hander in the bullpen. Anthony Vavaro and Cory Gearrin may assume bigger roles.
O’Flaherty was placed on the 15-day disabled list earlier Saturday with what was called a left elbow strain.
Right-hander Cory Rasmus was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett for Saturday night’s game against the Dodgers. Rasmus, 25, is the younger brother of Toronto outfielder Colby Rasmus.
O’Flaherty, in his fifth season with the Braves, is 3-0 with a 2.50 ERA in 19 games. He had a 1.95 ERA through 276 appearances with Atlanta from 2009-12.
Federer, Nadal to renew rivalry in Rome final
ROME — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will renew their rivalry in the Italian Open final Sunday — exactly a week before the French Open starts.
In Saturday’s semifinals at the Foro Italico, Federer held off a stiff challenge from Frenchman Benoit Paire, beating him 7-6 (5), 6-4. Six-time Rome champion Nadal defeated sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, a day after Berdych rallied to beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic.
It will mark Nadal’s eighth consecutive final since his return earlier this year from a seven-month layoff because of a left knee injury. As for Federer, who recently returned from a seven-week break from the circuit, it will be his first final of the year.
On the women’s side, top-ranked Serena Williams moved within a win of claiming her fourth consecutive title this year. She’ll face third-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the final.
Williams overcame an early break of her serve to ease past Romanian qualifier Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0 and extend her career-best winning run to 23 matches. Azarenka kept her concentration through two rain delays to beat seventh-seeded Sara Errani 6-0, 7-5.
Cardinals place left-handed starter Garcia on disabled list
ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals have placed left-hander Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain.
General manager John Mozeliak says the team became aware of the issue about a week ago and had hoped Garcia could work through it. He was charged with six runs and six hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 7-6 victory over Milwaukee on Friday, improving to 5-2 while his ERA increased from 2.88 to 3.58.
This is Garcia’s fourth trip to the disabled list, including a two-month stint during the 2012 season with a left shoulder sprain.
St. Louis didn’t announce who would take Garcia’s place in the rotation. The NL Central leaders recalled reliever Mitchell Boggs from Triple-A Memphis on Saturday.
Orioles add RHP Jurrjens in flurry of roster moves
BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles purchased the contract of Jair Jurrjens from Triple-A Norfolk, and the right-hander started against the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday.
The Orioles also optioned right-handed reliever Alex Burnett to Norfolk, placed outfielder Nolan Reimold on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain and recalled right-hander Jake Arrieta on Saturday.
Jurrjens was signed to a minor league deal in spring training. He went 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA in eight starts for Norfolk. He is 53-37 with a 3.62 ERA in 126 major league games.
Reds option LHP Cingrani, recall INF Soto
PHILADELPHIA — The Cincinnati Reds have optioned left-hander Tony Cingrani to Triple-A Louisville and recalled infielder Neftali Soto.
Cingrani made his sixth start in Friday night’s 5-3 loss to the Phillies. He was 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA.
Soto batted .269 with three homers and 16 RBIs for the Bats. He played 18 games at first base and 16 at third.
From wire sources