Sports

Willis won't let snow erase his Tiger vibes

DETROIT -- Dontrelle Willis looked at the Detroit Tigers' snow-covered field and his familiar smile grew even wider.

The former Florida Marlins pitcher and California native wasn't about to let the white stuff or frigid temperatures spoil his big day.

Willis agreed to a $29 million, three-year deal with the Tigers on Thursday, just two weeks after he was acquired in the biggest trade of the offseason. He can make an additional $1.5 million in award bonuses.

"I'm so amped up about being here and knowing I'm going to stay here," he said between talking to friends and doing radio interviews on his cell phone. "It's mind-blowing to know I'm going to play for years to come for a team that had guys like Ty Cobb and Al Kaline."

The current Tigers are pretty good, too.

Willis and All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera were obtained from Florida for six prospects, in one of the offseason moves that made a good team potentially great.

The 2003 NL Rookie of the Year and 2005 runner-up for the NL's Cy Young (when he won 22 games) was 10-15 with a 5.17 ERA, starting a league-high 35 games. The two-time All-Star is 68-54 with a 3.78 ERA in 162 starts over five seasons. He turns 26 next month. ...

Carlos Silva and Seattle finalized a $48 million, four-year contract. The right-hander was 13-14 last season for Minnesota with a 4.19 ERA.

Golf

Michelle Wie might start her 2008 season in Hawaii, but not at the Sony Open. Wie, who has played the PGA Tour event every year since 2004, did not receive one of the four unrestricted sponsor exemptions, tournament director Ray Stosik said Thursday. Swing coach David Leadbetter said the 18-year-old from Honolulu likely would ask for exemptions at one or both of the LPGA Tour events in Hawaii that kick off the women's golf season in February. He also said competition against the men would probably be on hold until she gets her health and her game back together.

Horse Racing

The ownership of Breeders' Cup Classic winner Curlin has changed again: Jess Jackson bought out another partner and now has an 80 percent interest in the 3-year-old colt. Jackson, the founder of the Kendall-Jackson Winery who owns Stonestreet Stables, bought out investment banker George Bolton in a private sale.

Television

ESPN anchor Stuart Scott will return to the air tonight after an emergency appendectomy last month revealed a malignant tumor. Scott had to leave the Monday Night Football game between Miami and Pittsburgh on Nov. 26 to have his appendix removed. Doctors discovered the tumor during surgery; a second, precautionary surgery followed to eliminate surrounding tissue.

Soccer

The United States would play its first-ever World Cup qualifier at Cuba on Sept. 6 if both nations advance to the semifinals of the North and Central American and Caribbean region.

The Americans, who have a first-round bye, were drawn last month to play Barbados or Domenica in the first round. The U.S. team would open at home from June 11-14 and play on the road from June 18-21.

The U.S. is 5-1-1 against the Cubans, but has never played in Cuba.

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