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Sports briefs: Atlanta Braves lock up pair of young stars
First Published Feb 04 2014 04:10 pm • Last Updated Feb 04 2014 10:57 pm

MLB • The Atlanta Braves agreed to an eight-year deal with first baseman Freddie Freeman that is worth about $125 million, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, outfielder Jason Heyward and the Braves agreed to a $13.3 million, two-year contract. Heyward and Freeman had filed for salary arbitration last month. Freeman, 24, was an All-Star last year, when he hit .319 with 23 homers and 109 RBIs.

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• Retired seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady plans to try pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.

Boxing, MMA join forces for research

Fight sports • Bringing together the rival bodies of boxing and mixed martial arts is no small feat. But there is one cause on which they agree — the need for brain trauma research.

Two former boxers, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Harry Reid (D-Nev.), welcomed representatives of the world’s two premiere boxing and four mixed martial arts organizations to Washington to announce support for a study to understand the effects of repeated blows to the head. The combat sports have joined forces to commit $600,000 to the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.

NASCAR introduces its penalty system

Auto racing • NASCAR unveiled a revamped penalty system that for the first time will define specific offenses with pre-determined penalties. The new "Deterrence System" classifies six different levels of penalties, with fines and point deductions increasing as the infractions become more severe. The new system will be applied only to technical infractions.


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