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Jones, Thome among HOF ballot newcomers

(AP Photo/File)

NEW YORK (AP) Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel are among 19 first-time candidates on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for baseball's Hall of Fame.

They are joined by Johan Santana and Chris Carpenter. Also among the newcomers to the 33-man ballot announced Monday are Jamie Moyer, Andruw Jones, Carlos Lee, Kevin Millwood, Carlos Zambrano and Johnny Damon.

Trevor Hoffman, who fell five votes short last year, leads holdovers that include Vladimir Guerrero, Edgar Martinez, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling.

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NTSB: Halladay performed turns, flew low

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) Retired star pitcher Roy Halladay sped his small sports plane low over the Gulf of Mexico minutes before his fatal crash two weeks ago, climbing sharply in the final seconds before diving into the water, federal investigators said in a preliminary report released Monday.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Noreen Price placed no blame for the Nov. 7 accident near Tampa, simply laying out the facts as gleaned from the plane's data recorder and eyewitnesses. A final report with conclusions could take one to two years.

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MLBPA extends deadline for posting deal

NEW YORK (AP) The Major League Baseball Players Association has extended its deadline by a day to 8 p.m. EST Tuesday for an agreement on a new posting system between the Major League Baseball and its Japanese counterpart, a deal that would allow star pitcher-outfielder Shohei Ohtani to be put up for bid.

MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball reached agreement several weeks ago on the framework of a new deal. The rules call for pretty much a continuation of the same system for this offseason: The Japanese club would get a maximum $20 million posting fee, and any MLB club willing to bid that amount would be able to negotiate with Otani for 30 days.

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Yanks raise available money for Ohtani

NEW YORK (AP) The Yankees raised their available signing bonus money for Japanese star Shohei Ohtani to $3.5 million, acquiring $250,000 in pool money from the Miami Marlins on Monday for left-hander Caleb Smith and first baseman Garrett Cooper.

New York has the second-highest total of available international signing bonus money behind the Texas Rangers at $3,535,000. Minnesota is third at $3,245,000, followed by Pittsburgh ($2,266,750), Seattle ($1,557,500) and Miami ($1.49 million).

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Bucs trade African-born Ngoepe to Jays

PITTSBURGH (AP) History-making Pirates second baseman Gift Ngoepe is on the move.

Pittsburgh traded Ngoepe to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later. The 27-year-old Ngoepe became the first African-born player in baseball history to reach the major leagues when he debuted on April 26 in a loss to the Chicago Cubs. Ngoepe, who is from South Africa, hit .222 in 28 games for the Pirates while spending the majority of the season at Triple-A Indianapolis.

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Yanks, Rangers exchange minor leaguers

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Yankees have acquired minor league pitcher Reiver Sanmartin from the Texas Rangers for pitcher Ronald Herrera.

The Yankees announced the move Monday.

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Rangers add 6 players to 40-man roster

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) The Texas Rangers have added six minor league players to their 40-man roster, along with right-hander Ronald Herrera after acquiring him in a trade from the New York Yankees.

With the moves Monday, the Rangers protected those players from being available next month at the end of the winter meetings when other teams can draft players left off major league rosters.

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Out as prez, advisor Hart leaves Braves

ATLANTA (AP) John Hart left the Atlanta Braves on Friday, less than a week after being stripped of his role as president of baseball operations.

The decision was not unexpected given the hiring of general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who is now in charge of all baseball-related decisions. Hart was bumped to the role of senior adviser, but clearly had no real power.

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Yanks interview ESPN's Boone for manager

NEW YORK (AP) Having never managed or coached at any level, Aaron Boone believes his provenance prepared him to lead the New York Yankees.

"I would say in a way I've been preparing for this job for the last 44 years," Boone said Friday after becoming the fourth person to interview for the job that opened when Joe Girardi was let go Oct. 26.

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