Dolphins’ Pennington selected as top comeback player

Davie, FL (Sports Network) – Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington has been selected as the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year, as voted by the Associated Press.

Pennington joined the Dolphins this season after the New York Jets released him following their acquisition of Brett Favre during the summer.

All Pennington did was help the Dolphins complete one of the most amazing turnarounds in league history, as the club went from 1-15 a year ago to an AFC East title at 11-5 this season. Miami finished its resurgence with a victory over Favre and the Jets at the Meadowlands this past Sunday.

For the season, Pennington completed 67.4 percent of his passes for a career- high 3,653 yards with 19 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. His passer rating of 97.4 was the second-best in the NFL.

Pennington became the first to win the Comeback Player of the Year award twice. He first captured the honor in 2006 with the Jets after coming back from a pair of rotator cuff surgeries to lead New York into the playoffs.

The 32-year-old veteran received 19 votes in the balloting by sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL on a regular basis. Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins and Carolina signal-caller Jake Delhomme each garnered six votes.

Two Pennington teammates, linebacker Joey Porter and running back Ronnie Brown, also received consideration.

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Yankees go for Cash

New York, NY (Sports Network) – The New York Yankees have reportedly signed catcher Kevin Cash to a minor league contract.

The New York Post has reported that the deal will pay the former Boston backup $700,000 if he plays in the majors.

Cash was not tendered a contract by the Red Sox earlier this month, making him a free agent. He had spent each of the past two seasons with Boston’s organization and hit .225 with three homers and 15 RBI in 61 games for the parent club in 2008.

LeBron leads Cavs into Denver

(Sports Network) – The Cleveland Cavaliers resume a four-game road swing in the Rocky Mountains Friday when they face the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.

The Cavs evened their record at 1-1 on the trip Wednesday in Minneapolis when LeBron James posted 32 points, as Cleveland used a strong fourth quarter to post a 93-70 victory over the hapless Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center.

James shot 14-of-20 from the floor for the Cavaliers, who recently had their franchise-record 11-game win streak snapped by Atlanta but improved to 21-4 on the season.

Delonte West contributed 21 points, while Wally Szczerbiak had 10 points in the win. Anderson Varejao provided 13 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland, which is 8-4 on the road.

The Cavs, who continue to play without center Zydrunas Ilgauskas (sprained left ankle) and guard Daniel Gibson (sprained toe), will finish their trek with a visit to Oklahoma City on Sunday.

The Nuggets, meanwhile, dropped the back end of a two-game trip through Texas on Tuesday when Houston’s Tracy McGrady notched his fourth career triple- double with 20 points, 10 assists and a season-high 14 rebounds to lead the Rockets in a 108-96 victory over Denver.

Carmelo Anthony logged 22 points and three assists for Denver, which saw its four-game win streak halted. J.R. Smith had 17 points and Linas Kleiza 13 in defeat.

Despite the loss in Houston, the Nuggets are a gaudy 16-5 since acquiring point guard Chauncey Billups in a four-player trade that sent Allen Iverson to Detroit. “Mr. Big Shot,” a Denver native, is averaging 18.2 points and 7.0 assists with the Nuggets, who will be trying to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time since November 1 and 5.

The Nuggets, who are 9-3 at the Pepsi Center, had won five straight over Cleveland until the Cavs triumphed, 110-99, on November 13 in Cleveland.

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Dodgers re-sign Blake to three-year deal

Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) – The Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed infielder Casey Blake to a three-year contract on Tuesday. Although financial terms of the deal were not released, the Los Angeles Daily News reports it is worth $17.1 million.

Blake, who was acquired by the Dodgers from Cleveland in late July for a pair of minor league prospects, hit .251 with 10 homers and 23 RBI in 58 games for the NL West champions. He had hit .289 with 11 home runs and 58 RBI in 94 games for the Indians.

The 35-year-old Blake is a career .264 hitter in parts of 10 seasons with the Blue Jays, Twins, Orioles and Indians. He was also being pursued by the Minnesota Twins.

Los Angeles also came to terms with utility infielder Mark Loretta on Tuesday.

Schelotto to remain with Crew as designated player

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) – The 2008 Major League Soccer Cup Champion Columbus Crew announced on Tuesday that they have exercised the option year on the contract of reigning league and MLS Cup MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto. The move makes him the club’s first designated player.

“Securing Guille’s return was one of our top priorities entering the offseason and we are pleased to get that accomplished,” Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers said. “It goes without saying that he was one of the keys to our championship season and, on top of that, he helps attract international attention to both the club and our region. We look forward to his continued dynamic contributions next season.”

Schelotto collected seven goals and 19 assists in 27 games during the 2008 regular season before earning six assists in four matches for the Crew during the 2008 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Crew kick off their 14th Major League Soccer season on March 21 when they travel to take on the Houston Dynamo.