Baseball Hall of Fame voters pitched a shutout Wednesday for the first time since 1996. No player was deemed worthy this year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, who failed to elect a candidate for only the second time in four decades. That leaves the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in July with only three honorees chosen in December by the Veterans Committee.
Steroid scandals undoubtedly had a big impact. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, all linked to performance-enhancing drug use, fell well short of the required 75 percent for election. Clemens received 37.6 percent, Bonds was named on 36.2 percent of the ballots and Sosa was limited to 12.5 percent.
Former Houston Astros infielder Craig Biggio, who ranks 20th on baseball's career hits list with 3,060, came the closest, receiving 388 of 569 votes for 68 percent. He fell 39 votes short.
Biggio was followed in the voting Jack Morris (67.7 percent) in his next-to-last year of eligibility, by first-time candidate Mike Piazza (57.8), Tim Raines (52.2 percent), Lee Smith (47.8), Curt Schilling (38.8), Edgar Martinez (35.9) and Alan Trammell (33.6).
Outfielder Dale Murphy, a former two-time National League MVP, fell short in his final year of eligibility.
---The Pittsburgh Pirates' deal with left-hander Francisco Liriano could be on hold because of an injury to his non-throwing arm, according to multiple reports.
His right arm apparently was hurt in late December. The injury kept Liriano from coming to Pittsburgh from his home in the Dominican Republic for a physical required before signing a contract.
Earlier in the month, Liriano and the Pirates reportedly had reached agreement on a two-year, $12.75 million contract.
--The Pirates were also involved in a trade. The Cleveland Indians acquired outfielder Quincy Latimore from the Pirates in exchange for right-handed pitcher Jeanmar Gomez, who had been designated for assignment on Jan. 2.
Latimore, who will turn 24 next month, hit .252 with 15 homers for Double-A Altoona in 2012. Gomez, who will turn 25 next month, went 5-8 with a 5.96 ERA in 20 games, including 17 starts, for the Indians last season.
---Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, who spent the past five seasons playing in the Major Leagues, has agreed to a three-year deal with the Hanshin Tigers to play in Japan, Sponichi News reported.
Fukudome, 35, played in just 24 games for the Chicago White Sox in 2012, hitting .171 with no homers.