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Juan Soto belted a three-run homer to power the New York Yankees past the Toronto Blue Jays 12-6 in spring-training action Sunday afternoon. New York scored two runs in the third, three in the fourth and three more in the sixth to take a commanding 10-1 advantage. But Toronto countered with five runs in the seventh inning. Alan Roden’s three-run double was the big blow for the Blue Jays. However, New York rounded out the scoring with its two final runs in the eighth. Alejandro Kirk also homered for Toronto. Right-hander Bowden Francis took the loss. He allowed four hits, two runs (both earned) and fanned two over two innings. Toronto hosts the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday in Dunedin, Fla.

Cody Bellinger is returning to the Cubs

Cody Bellinger is going back to the Chicago Cubs, agreeing to an US$80-million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press. The slugger can opt out of the deal after each of the first two seasons, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Sunday because the agreement was pending a physical. Bellinger is set to make US$30-million this year, and then US$30-million in 2025 if he stays with Chicago and $20 million in 2026 if he doesn’t opt out of the contract.

The Associated Press

Jen Pawol becomes the first woman to umpire a spring training game since 2007

It took eight years but Jen Pawol made the leap from the minors to a major league game spring training contest as umpire at the Grapefruit League opener between the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals at CACTI Park of The Palm Beaches on Saturday. Pawol’s spring training debut marked the first time since 2007 that a woman umpired a major league spring training game, last done by Ria Cortesio. With a ponytail coming out of her ballcap, Pawol was stationed at third base. After the traditional pregame meeting with the umpires and managers at home plate, the group posed for pictures. Nationals manager Dave Martinez shook Pawol’s hand and chatted with her briefly. Eight years ago, Pawol, a former New Jersey high school softball star who played at Hofstra, became just the seventh women to umpire a minor-league baseball game. “I greatly appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm, everyone’s welcoming attitude on the field,” Pawol said after the 7-4 Astros victory before 3,655 fans. “Tonight was very, very special. Both managers shared congratulations, (everyone was) welcoming, enthusiastic. The players on the field, so many said congrats and great to see you up here. A gentleman, Javier (Bracamonte, Astros bullpen coach), he ran out early in the game and said he has a daughter playing all kinds of sports. It’s good to see you out here.” Across the next few weeks, Pawol, 47, will be based in Palm Beach County to work other spring training games. No woman has ever been assigned to umpire a regular season game in the majors. MLB’s move comes 27 years after the gender barrier for game officials was broken in the NBA, nine years after it ended the NFL and two years after the men’s soccer World Cup employed a female referee.

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