THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12
Montreal at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Flyers return home to face Canadiens, look to avoid four-game losing streak
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Flyers will look to avoid a four-game losing streak as they return home to face the Montreal Canadiens after a six-game, 13-day road trip.
The 13-15-3 Flyers went 2-3-1 on the road trip, including last night's 7-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Tonight's game marks the return of former Flyer Danny Briere to Philadelphia. He signed with the 19-10-3 Canadiens after the Flyers bought out his contract over the summer. Briere scored 124 goals and had 159 assists in 364 regular season games over six seasons with the Flyers.
The Flyers have won their last five games at home, outscoring their opponents 20-8. The have won their last five home games over the Canadiens.
Reports: Phillies agree to deal with RHP Hernandez
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) - The Phillies signed free agent 33-year-old right-handed pitcher Roberto Hernandez to join their rotation on the final day of baseball's winter meetings pending a physical, sources tell CSNPhilly.com.
Hernandez previously pitched under the name Fausto Carmona before he was arrested for falsifying his identity in January 2012 in the Dominican Republic and served a three-week suspension. He went 6-13 with a 4.89 ERA in 141 innings after signing as a free agent with Tampa Bay last year.
He is 59-82 with a 4.67 ERA in 216 games, including 177 starts, over eight seasons in the majors. He won 19 games and finished fourth in American League Cy Young voting in 2007.
Pirates sign RHP Morton to 3-year contract
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Pirates and right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton have agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract.
The 30-year-old Morton went 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 20 starts for the Pirates in 2013. The deal includes a 2017 club option for $9.5 million.
Morton missed most of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 while recovering from elbow reconstruction surgery. His return bolstered a rotation that propelled the Pirates to 94 wins and the franchise's first playoff appearance in 21 years.
Morton gives the Pirates some needed depth and stability behind Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole. The Pirates still hope to sign free agent A.J. Burnett, who is mulling retirement. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who sat out the final four months of the 2013 season due to arm trouble, is also expected to be back.
Pirates, RHP Edinson Volquez reach 1-year deal
PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Pirates have reached a deal with right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez on a one-year contract for $5 million.
The 30-year-old Volquez went 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA in 2013 while splitting time with the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The deal is pending a physical.
Volquez is the latest reclamation project signed by the Pirates. Volquez was an All-Star in 2008 when he went 17-6 for the Cincinnati. He has spent the last five years dealing with injury and other issues. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2009 and served a 50-game suspension in 2010 for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Volquez gives the Pirates some rotation depth if the team cannot sign free agent A.J. Burnett, who is mulling retirement.
Eagles' defense bends, doesn't break
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - All those yards the Philadelphia Eagles give up on defense aren't translating into points for the opponents.
The numbers say the Eagles have the NFL's 3rd-worst defense in total yards, allowing 398.1 per game. Only Minnesota (401.2) and Dallas (426.8) give up more. But points determine the winner and the Eagles are keeping teams out of the end zone.
Since Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos scored 52 against Philadelphia in Week 4 - 38 of those came against the defense, 14 against special teams - the Eagles haven't allowed more than 21 points nine straight games. That's the longest streak in the league and the longest for the team since an 18-game stretch in 2001, including playoffs.
Overall, the Eagles have held opponents to 21 points or less in 11 of 13 games this year, which is tied with Carolina for most this season.
Roethlisberger OK with progress despite losses
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is having a career year.
He is on pace to set personal highs in attempts, completions and yards passing and has a chance to set a new benchmark for touchdowns.
While Roethlisberger would trade the gaudy statistics for a couple more wins, he believes the Steelers (5-8) have plenty to play for over the season's final three weeks.
Roethlisberger has never been on a team that finished with a losing record in his life and he remains focused on extending that streak.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown says Roethlisberger's approach has not changed even as Pittsburgh's playoff prospects have dimmed.
Pittsburgh hosts AFC North leader Cincinnati (9-4) on Sunday night.
Pitt's Donald wins Lombardi Award
HOUSTON (AP) - Pittsburgh's Aaron Donald picked up another award last night, winning the Rotary Lombardi Award.
Donald beat out Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam and UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr for the award given annually to the nation's top college lineman.
It's already been a big week for Donald, a senior defensive tackle who won the Bronko Nagurski award given to the nation's top college defensive player Monday.
The 6-foot, 285-pound Donald leads the nation with 26½ tackles for losses and his 28½ career sacks are tops among active players in the Football Bowl Subdivision and fourth in school history.
Donald has 10 sacks, 54 tackles and has forced four fumbles this season.
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