Hall of Famer John Smoltz was promoted to Fox’s lead baseball analyst and will work alongside play-by-play man Joe Buck, displacing Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci.
Fox made the announcement Tuesday. Network spokesman Dan Bell said Fox was discussing different roles with Reynolds, who also works for the MLB Network, and Verducci, who also works for the MLB Network and Sports Illustrated.
Winner of the 1996 NL Cy Young Award, Smoltz was a first-ballot pick for the Hall this year. He has been a Fox analyst the past two seasons.
Reynolds and Verducci joined Buck in the booth in 2014 following the retirement of Tim McCarver.
... The Mets signed free agent outfielder Alejandro De Aza. De Aza, 31, hit .278 with seven homers and a .800 OPS against righthanders in 2015.
Track and field
IAAF official steps down
The director of IAAF President Sebastian Coe’s office temporarily stepped down pending an ethics investigation into e-mails linked to Russian doping cases.
E-mails sent by Nick Davies, leaked to a French newspaper and published this week, indicated that he tried to delay public identification of alleged Russian drug cheats before the 2013 world championships in Moscow.
“I have decided to step aside from my role with the IAAF until such time as the ethics board is able to review the matter properly and decide if I am responsible for any breach of the IAAF code of ethics,” Davies said.
Davies was IAAF communications director at the time under Lamine Diack, who was succeeded by Coe as president in August. The French criminal case against Diack deepened this week, with magistrates filing new, tougher corruption charges against him in connection with cover-ups of Russian doping.
Bradley player of year
American national team captain Michael Bradley won the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Male Player of the Year award.
Bradley, who took over as captain from Clint Dempsey last summer ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, received 43 percent of the votes. Fabian Johnson was second with 33 percent, followed by Dempsey with 20 percent.
A 28-year-old midfielder who also captains Toronto, Bradley had three goals and six assists in 18 appearances in 2015, the most assists on the team in a calendar year since Landon Donovan’s eight in 2013. He became the fourth-youngest American male to make 100 international appearances.
San Antonio makes its case
...Officials seeking to attract a Major League Soccer team to San Antonio have a field and a 20-year lease. Spurs Sports & Entertainment announced an agreement with Bexar County and the city to operate a soccer franchise at Toyota Field in 2016. The $18 million Toyota Field has a seating capacity of 8,500.
AROUND THE HORN
Skiing: Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway won by a massive 1.25 seconds in a World Cup night slalom marred by a drone crash involving four-time defending overall champion Marcel Hirscher in Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.
A drone carrying a TV camera for the broadcast crew crashed to the snow during Hirscher’s second run just behind the Austrian. While Hirscher may have been hit by some small pieces, he didn’t appear to notice.
Minnesota scene: The U.S. junior national hockey team, which includes Gophers defenseman Ryan Collins of Bloomington, St. Cloud State forward Will Borgen of Moorhead, and North Dakota forward Brock Boeser of Burnsville, edged Finland 3-2 on Tuesday in an exhibition game in Lahti, Finland.
The final roster for the team, which will play Canada on Saturday in its opening game of the World Junior Championships, will be set Thursday.
Miami (Ohio) defenseman Louie Belpedio, a third-round pick of the Wild in 2014, was named one of the alternate captains of the U.S. team.
Staff AND wire reports