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Braves Sign Veteran Righty to Bolster Injury-Plagued Rotation

Kissimmee, Fla. — The Atlanta Braves agreed Wednesday on a $14.1 million, one-year contract with Ervin Santana, bolstering their injury plagued starting rotation.

The 33-year-old right-hander went 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA in 32 starts for the Kansas City Royals last season and should make a huge impact with the battered Braves, who are facing the prospect of losing Kris Medlen for the season and opening with Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor on the disabled list.

Medlen, who had been announced as Atlanta’s opening-day starter, left a spring training outing Sunday after grabbing his right elbow. Initial tests showed ligament damage, and he will undergo further examination to determine if he needs surgery for the second time in less than four years. Medlen said he’s already preparing himself to miss the entire season.

Beachy left a start Monday because of continuing problems with his right elbow, and Minor has yet to pitch this spring because of a sore shoulder.

Coin Thrown a Curve

San Francisco — The United States Mint in San Francisco will soon produce an unusual coin in honor of the nation’s favorite pastime.

Like so many great baseball pitches, the new coin will feature a curve.

The bowl-shaped currency is the result of a 2012 law — the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act — ordering the U.S. Treasury to manufacture the coin to commemorate the Hall of Fame, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2014.

The coin will come in $5, $1 and half dollar denominations and will feature a baseball on one side and a baseball glove on the other.

The baseball is to be depicted on the convex side, to complement its round shape, and the glove is shown on the coin’s concave side, to complement its cupped shape.

NFL Football

Pats Keep TE

Foxborough, Mass. — The New England Patriots re-signed tight end Michael Hoomanawanui.

He became their primary tight end last season when Rob Gronkowski was limited to seven games by injuries and after Aaron Hernandez was arrested on a murder charge. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

The 25-year-old Hoomanawanui was primarily a blocker and caught 12 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown. In the Patriots’ two postseason games, he had three receptions for 39 yards.

The Patriots released defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga and offensive lineman Markus Zusevics.

Soccer

Player Who Inspired ‘Kuykenstrong’ Dies

Washington — Former D.C. United midfielder Shawn Kuykendall died from a rare form of cancer at the age of 32.

United and MLS announced that Kuykendall died early Wednesday from thymic cancer.

After Kuykendall’s diagnosis last year, the soccer community rallied around him with the phrase “Kuykenstrong.” U.S. national team and MLS players began wearing “Kuykenstrong” T-shirts at games and other events. United players wore the T-shirts during warm-ups at their season opener last week.

Barcelona, PSG Advance In Champs League

Barcelona, Spain — Barcelona eased into the Champions League quarterfinals for the seventh straight year, shaking off a slump that has dropped it to third place in La Liga standings.

Lionel Messi and Dani Alves scored second-half goals in a 2-1 win over Manchester City on Wednesday night that completed a 4-1 aggregate victory.

In the night’s other game, Paris Saint-Germain gave up an early goal and rallied past visiting Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 for a 6-1 aggregate win.