Tom Gordon and the Philadelphia Phillies reached a preliminary agreement last night on a three-year, $18 million contract, the Associated Press reported, giving the Phillies a replacement for departed closer Billy Wagner.

Gordon also was negotiating with the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians before agreeing to the deal with the Phillies, which still must be finalized.

The 38-year-old right-hander spent the past two seasons with the Yankees as Mariano Rivera's primary setup man. . . .

Brian Giles seemed all but gone last week when the San Diego Padres rejected a proposal from his agent. That's what made it so surprising when the right fielder agreed to re-sign with the Padres for $30 million over three years.

One of the top outfielders on the free agent market, Giles batted .301 with 15 homers and 83 RBI last season, leading the NL West champion Padres in several offensive categories. He drew a major league-best 119 walks and had a .423 on-base percentage. . . .

Free agent catcher Sal Fasano agreed to a one-year, $425,000 deal with the Phillies. Fasano, 35, spent most of last year with the Baltimore Orioles and hit .250 with 11 home runs in 64 games. . . . The Chicago Cubs traded minor league reliever Jermaine Van Buren to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named. . . . Reliever Tim Worrell and the San Francisco Giant agreed on a two-year, $4 million contract. . . .

Seattle Mariners all-star right fielder Ichiro Suzuki will play for Japan in the inaugural World Baseball Classic next March, said a person within MLB who requested anonymity because an official announcement had not been made.

A Mariners spokesman said whether Ichiro could work early spring training games in Arizona into his schedule is still being worked out. The World Baseball Classic ends March 20.

* TENNIS: John McEnroe will team with Jonas Bjorkman at the SAP Open in San Jose in an ATP doubles event in February, his first on United States soil since the 1992 U.S. Open.

"Jonas and I are not doing this just for fun. We think that this will be great for the game of tennis," McEnroe said in a statement.

* HIGH SCHOOLS: Robinson football coach Mark Bendorf was named as one of six assistants for the East team in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a national all-star game to be played Jan. 7 in San Antonio. Good Counsel linebacker Akeem Hebron and McDonough defensive back A.J. Wallace have been selected to play in the game. Former T.C. Williams coaches Herman Boone and Bill Yoast will serve as honorary coaches. . . .

Hayfield senior boys' basketball player Antonio Haymon, a first-team all-Northern Region forward and honorable mention All-Met last season, has been suspended pending results of a disciplinary investigation, Hawks Coach David Abella said.

* GOLF: Four-and-a-half months after inuring his left knee, Ernie Els shot a par 72 at the Nedbank Challenge in Sun City, South Africa. Els, hurt in a boating accident in July, was five shots behind Darren Clarke after the opening round.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports