Pirates finalize deal with pitcher
PITTSBURGH – Jeff Karstens is staying with the Pittsburgh Pirates, finalizing a $2.5 million, one-year contract on Thursday.
Karstens can earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses based on innings.
The 30-year-old right-hander was 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 15 starts and four relief appearances last year, when he missed time because of separate injuries to a hip, groin and shoulder. He made $3.1 million.
Karstens gives the club insurance after free agent left-hander Francisco Liriano injured his right arm last month, a deal that has led to a two-year contract not being finalized.
Karstens will be joined in spring training by two of the team’s most promising pitchers in former first round picks Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. Both received invitations to join the team in Bradenton next month to spend some time with the big club.
Cole, the top overall pick in the 2011 first-year player draft, went 9-7 with a 2.80 ERA in 26 minor league starts last year. The 22-year-old right-hander rocketed through the team’s farm system in 2012, beginning the season in Class A and ending it in Triple-A Indianapolis.
Taillon, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, went 9-8 with a 3.55 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 26 combined starts between Class-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona in 2012.
The Pirates also signed veteran outfielder/first baseman Brad Hawpe to a minor league contract. The 32-year-old Hawpe has a career .276 batting average with 124 home runs and 490 RBIs in 893 career games. He last played in the majors with San Diego in 2011, when he hit .231 with four home runs and 19 RBIs.
Pacino gets role as Joe Paterno
LOS ANGELES – Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State football coach.
Producer Edward R. Pressman confirms Brian De Palma will direct “Happy Valley,” the tentative title of the film, based on Joe Posnanski’s best-seller “Paterno.”
“’Happy Valley’ reunites the ‘Scarface’ and ‘Carlito’s Way’ team of De Palma and Pacino for the third time and I can’t think of a better duo to tell this story of a complex, intensely righteous man who was brought down by his own tragic flaw,” Pressman said in a statement. No start or release dates were given for the film.
While Pressman said the plot remains “under wraps,” Posnanski’s book followed Paterno’s final years, as the winningest coach in college football history saw his career end in disgrace in 2011 with the sex abuse scandal involving assistant Jerry Sandusky.
O’Brien wins Bryant award
HOUSTON – Penn State coach Bill O’Brien won the Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year Award on Thursday night.
O’Brien led the Nittany Lions through an 0-2 start and NCAA sanctions to an 8-4 finish in his first season at Penn State.
Other finalists for the award were Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, Stanford’s David Shaw and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.
Snyder, Sumlin and Shaw were each finalists at the end of last season.
Former Brigham Young coach LaVell Edwards was the ceremony’s other honoree, receiving the Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Edwards retired in 2000 with 257 victories, 22 bowl appearances and one national championship in 1984.