Braves, Hudson near deal

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The Atlanta Braves and Tim Hudson are nearing agreement on a three-year contract that would protect the team's strength at starting pitching.

A surplus of starters could give general manager Frank Wren options as he looks to improve the team's lineup in the off-season.

Atlanta holds a $12 million option on the 34-year-old Hudson, a right-hander who was 2-1 with a 3.61 ERA in seven starts this season after his return from elbow ligament-replacement surgery.

"We're working on a bunch of different issues," Hudson's agent, Paul Cohen, told The Associated Press.

Spokesman Brad Hainje confirmed the team also is negotiating with free-agent reliever Scott Proctor , who missed the 2009 season after elbow surgery. Proctor pitched for the New York Yankees from 2004-07 before spending two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

RATINGS UP: World Series television ratings bounced back from last year's record lows.

The Yankees' six-game victory over the Phillies on Fox averaged an 11.7 rating and 19 share. That's the highest since a 15.8/26 in 2004, when the Red Sox swept the Cardinals to end an 86-year championship drought.

It's up 39 percent from the record-low 8.4/14 for the 2008 Phillies-Rays series.

GIANTS: Star pitcher Tim Lincecum is facing misdemeanor marijuana charges after a traffic stop in his home state.

Washington State Patrol spokesman Steve Schatzel said that the 2008 Cy Young Award winner was pulled over for speeding on Interstate 5 in the town of Hazel Dell on Oct. 30.

An officer approached Lincecum's 2006 Mercedes and smelled marijuana as the pitcher rolled down his window. Schatzel said Lincecum immediately complied with a request to hand over the drug and a marijuana pipe from the car's center console.

Angels: Outfielder Bobby Abreu agreed to a $19 million, two-year contract to stay with the Los Angeles rather than test the free-agent market again.

WHITE SOX: Outfielder Mark Kotsay agreed to a $1.5 million contract to remain with Chicago.

RED SOX: Acquired former first-round draft choice Jeremy Hermida from the Marlins for left-handers Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez .

DIAMONDBACKS: Chad Tracy 's $7 million option has been declined by Arizona, making him eligible for free agency.

The Diamondbacks also said right-hander Yusmeiro Petit and left-hander Doug Slaten had been claimed off waivers, Petit by the Mariners and Slaten by the Nationals.

Arizona also sent right-hander Daniel Cabrera outright to Triple-A Reno. Cabrera refused the assignment and elected to become a free agent.

RANGERS: Former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle is the new hitting coach for Texas.

Hurdle takes over the job that Rudy Jaramillo held for 15 years before turning down a one-year deal at the end of the season. Jaramillo then got a three-year contract to become hitting coach for the Cubs.

DODGERS: The wife of owner Frank McCourt lost her bid to be reinstated as the team's chief executive during a hearing in the couple's messy divorce.

Jamie McCourt , 55, was fired in October by her husband, who said she was cheating on him and doing a poor job leading the team.

Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon ruled that no state law supports Jamie McCourt's bid to get her job back. However, Gordon has yet to decide whether the Dodgers are considered community or separate property.

- Declined a $10 million mutual option on pitcher Jon Garland for next season, making him eligible for free agency.

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