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Ducks, Beavers baseball recruiting classes praised

Baseball America magazine has praised Oregon and Oregon State's recruiting classes.

In its annual rankings released Tuesday, the magazine listed Oregon State's recruiting class as the 22nd best in the nation while placing Oregon's at No. 24.

Oregon State coach Pat Casey welcomed 20 newcomers to fall camp. One key recruit is catcher Andrew Susac, a defensive star who was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies but did not sign. Also in Corvallis is 6-foot-7 Tony Bryant. The right-hander from Kennewick, Wash., opted for college rather than sign with Minnesota Twins.

Oregon is beginning its second baseball season after a 28-year hiatus. Despite its lack of recent tradition, coach George Horton brought in many solid recruits from California, such as left-hander Christian Jones and infielder Jack Marder, an Arizona Diamondbacks draftee.

ST. LOUIS — For the second straight offseason, Albert Pujols will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow.

The St. Louis Cardinals say in a brief news release Tuesday that the two-time NL MVP will undergo a debridement procedure — which could be used to shave bone spurs — this morning in Birmingham, Ala., at a medical facility under the direction of Dr. James Andrews.

Bears, quarterback Cutler agree on extension

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears and quarterback Jay Cutler have agreed on a two-year contract extension that runs through the 2013 season.

A person familiar with the negotiations said the deal includes approximately $20 million guaranteed and roughly $30 million in new money. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the terms were not released.

Acquired in a blockbuster trade from Denver in the offseason, the Pro Bowl quarterback has completed 110 of 172 passes with 1,201 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions while leading Chicago to a 3-2 record. With a 64.0 completion rate and 240.2 yards passing per game, he is on pace to set club single-season records.

NBA refs could be back in time for regular season

NEW YORK — The NBA's locked-out referees could be back on the floor in time for the regular season.

The league has made a new proposal, and a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press it will be recommended for approval to the referees on Friday.

The person, who requested anonymity because the negotiations are ongoing, said it's "highly likely" they'll be on the court for next Tuesday's season opener in Cleveland.

The breakthrough in the labor dispute came Tuesday, after a meeting that included commissioner David Stern and referees union negotiator Lamell McMorris — who had both previously withdrawn from the process.

Henin confirms tour return in Brisbane, Australia

BRISBANE, Australia — Former No. 1-ranked player Justine Henin has confirmed she'll make her return to the WTA Tour at the Brisbane International two weeks ahead of her comeback to Grand Slam tennis at the Australian Open.

"After a 15-month absence I am pleased to begin my second tennis career at the Brisbane International," Henin, a seven-time major winner, said in a statement Wednesday. "It will be great to get back to playing competitive tennis again and with the strong field, the same court surface and a similar climate to Melbourne, it will be the perfect preparation leading into the Australian Open."

Despite having a No. 1 ranking when she retired in May last year, the 27-year-old Henin does not have a protected ranking. She has been granted wild-card entries for the main draws at Brisbane and the Australian Open.

Donovan wins Honda award as player of year

LOS ANGELES — The busiest and in many ways most difficult year in Landon Donovan's increasingly storied soccer career ultimately could be the most satisfying.

That was his judgment Tuesday after claiming an unprecedented sixth Honda Player of the Year Award given annually to the U.S. national team's top player in a luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Donovan, 27, was instrumental in the Americans' successful qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup and its trek to the Confederations Cup championship match.

Donovan received 424 points in balloting by 221 media members, finishing ahead of two England-based teammates, goalkeeper Tim Howard (267 points), who plays for Everton FC, and 19-year-old forward Jozy Altidore (178), who is with Hull City on loan from Spanish power Villarreal.

Compiled from wire reports