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AP SOURCE: YANKS, ELLSBURY REACH $153M, 7-YR DEAL

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 06:57 Published in Sports

NEW YORK (AP) -- Free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, fresh off winning the World Series with Boston, reached agreement with the rival New York Yankees on a seven-year contract worth about $153 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday night.

Ellsbury is the second major free-agent addition in the Yankees' offseason rebuilding after missing the playoffs for just the second time in 19 years. The center fielder was to take a physical in New York on Wednesday that he must pass before the deal can be finalized, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

The Yankees also had been negotiating with outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who like Ellsbury is represented by agent Scott Boras.

Earlier Tuesday, New York finalized an $85 million, five-year contract with All-Star catcher Brian McCann.

There is a long history of stars moving from Beantown to the Big Apple during their careers. Babe Ruth was the most famous, and Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs and Johnny Damon followed.

Ellsbury, who turned 30 in September, led the majors with 52 stolen bases despite being hobbled late in the season by a broken right foot. The lefty-hitting leadoff man batted .298 with nine homers and 53 RBIs, and the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium should boost his power numbers.

Ellsbury's deal includes a $21 million option for the 2021 season, with a $5 million buyout. If the option is exercised, the deal would be worth $169 million over eight years.

His agreement may not be finalized this week, and it's possible he could be introduced by the Yankees during a news conference at the winter meetings next week in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The move would raise the Yankees' luxury tax payroll to about $138 million for 10 players. The Yankees hope to get under the $189 million tax threshold next season, which includes about $177 million for salaries for the 40-man roster and approximately $12 million for benefits.

New York also has been speaking with the agents for Robinson Cano, their All-Star second baseman. The Yankees, who rebuffed his request for a 10-year deal worth more than $300 million, believe he has been in talks with the Seattle Mariners.

Ellsbury won a pair of World Series titles with the Red Sox and was an All-Star in 2011, when he finished second to Detroit's Justin Verlander in AL MVP voting. He has reached the postseason four times and is a career .301 hitter in those 38 games.

After their playoff absence, the Yankees are undergoing a major transformation. Closer Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are retiring, Phil Hughes is leaving to sign with Minnesota and New York appears to be making little effort to retain outfielder Curtis Granderson.

McCann, a seven-time All-Star, is to be introduced at a news conference Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

He receives $17 million in each of the next five seasons, and the Yankees have a $15 million option for 2019 with no buyout. The option becomes McCann's if he has at least 1,000 plate appearances combined in 2017 and 2018, has at least 90 starts at catcher in 2018 and does not end the 2018 season on the disabled list.

His deal includes a full no-trade provision, meaning he cannot be dealt without his consent.

McCann, who turns 30 in February, hit .256 with 20 homers and 57 RBIs in 102 games this year, when he missed the first month following offseason surgery on his right shoulder. He has a .277 average in nine big league seasons with 176 homers and 661 RBIs.

Following the departure of Russell Martin last offseason, Yankees catchers combined for a .213 average, eight homers and 43 RBIs, according to STATS, down from .220, 22 and 64 in 2012.

"We feel we have made a significant improvement to a key position, while adding a high-character presence to our clubhouse," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "Our work this offseason has just begun, but we feel this is an important step towards what will be an exciting and rewarding 2014 season for our fans."

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

CRITICS SLAM WOMAN'S FORCED C-SECTION IN BRITAIN

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 06:53 Published in Health & Fitness

LONDON (AP) -- A local British authority is coming under harsh criticism for having a court declare a pregnant Italian woman incompetent, forcing her to have a cesarean section and then taking her baby into custody.

Much is unknown about the case of an unidentified Italian woman with a history of mental illness who came to London last year. According to a court ruling in June, she was "profoundly unwell" and experiencing paranoid delusions when she was detained at a hospital in Essex, east of London, under Britain's Mental Health Act.

In August, the Court of Protection, which makes decisions for people deemed unable to decide for themselves, made an "unusual order" that gave doctors in Essex permission to perform a cesarean section against the woman's will. Essex officials say the woman was too sick to care for her baby, which has been put up for adoption.

The woman has since hired a British lawyer to try to get her baby back. She has two other children in Italy who are being cared for by her mother. The baby's father is a Senegalese man living in Italy who has not been involved in the case.

Legal experts said the decision to force the woman to have a C-section was very rare but potentially justifiable if the woman was unable to make medical decisions for herself.

"You can only perform a C-section against a woman's will if she lacks capacity and it is in her best interest (medically)," said Penney Lewis, a medical law expert at King's College London.

John Hemming, a member of parliament and the chair of an advocacy group called Justice for Families, has questioned why the baby was placed for adoption.

"We still need answers," he said, wondering why the Italian woman was kept in England for six weeks before being given a C-section. He also called for an explanation as to why the woman's mother was not given custody of the baby.

Hemming said the failure of Essex officials to contact Italian authorities about the mother's detainment and the care of her baby violates international law. He has put forth a parliamentary motion that calls for increased transparency and says the British government must comply with international treaties.

The Essex County Council said in a statement that its social workers liaised extensively with woman's extended family to see if anyone could care for the child and that adoption was not considered until all other options were exhausted.

The British charity Bipolar UK also called the forced C-section and the continued separation of mother and child "unprecedented."

"If there were continuing concerns about the care of the child, one would have thought Italian social services would have been involved in determining what was best for the child," the group said in a statement.

It was not known exactly what mental illness the woman was diagnosed with.

Lewis, the legal expert, said there have been only a handful of forced C-sections in the past 15 years in Britain.

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

BIDEN: US-CHINA TIES RELY ON TRUST, GOOD MOTIVES

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 06:51 Published in National News

BEIJING (AP) — Emerging from a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that U.S.-China relations depend on trust and a positive notion of each other's motives. Neither leader made public mention of a major clash over disputed airspace that's pitted China against the U.S. and its Asian allies.

Appearing somber and subdued, Biden said the relationship between the two major powers will significantly affect the course of the 21st century. If the U.S. and China can get that relationship right, the possibilities are limitless, Biden said as reporters were allowed in briefly at the conclusion of the meeting in Beijing.

"Complex relationships require sustained, high-level engagement, and that's why I'm here," Biden said after a meeting than ran more than an hour longer than scheduled. Biden and Xi had a second, expanded meeting and a working dinner planned for later Wednesday.

Absent from Biden's comments was any discussion of U.S. concerns over China's new air defense zone. In Tokyo a day earlier, Biden pledged to raise those concerns "with great specificity" with Xi and other Chinese leaders, adding that China's move was deeply concerning.

"This action has raised regional tensions and increased the risk of accidents and miscalculation," Biden said Tuesday after meeting with Japanese President Shinzo Abe, whose government has been on edge for the past two weeks since China unilaterally asserted its authority over airspace above tiny islands that China and Japan both claim.

For his part, Xi said the relationship between the U.S. and China had gotten off to a good start this year "and has generally maintained a momentum of positive development." But he said the situation in the region and around the world is changing, with more pronounced challenges and regional hotspots that keep cropping up.

"The world as a whole is not tranquil," Xi said through a translator, adding that the U.S. and China shoulder important responsibilities for upholding peace. "To strengthen dialogue and cooperation is the only right choice facing both of our countries."

Added Biden, "The way I was raised was to believe that change presents opportunity."

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