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Athletics trade LHP Cole Irvin to Orioles for minor leaguer

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles acquired left-hander Cole Irvin from the Oakland Athletics on Thursday along with minor league right-hander Kyle Virbitsky for minor league infielder Darell Hernaiz.

Oakland had already dealt catcher Sean Murphy to the Braves this offseason after last year's trade-heavy winter sending away several stars: Matt Olson to Atlanta, Matt Chapman to Toronto and Chris Bassitt to the Mets.

The 28-year-old Irvin went 9-13 with a career-best 3.98 ERA over 30 starts for the last-place A's, who lost 102 games in manager Mark Kotsay's first season.

Hernaiz is a shortstop prospect who reached Double-A last season.

The Orioles have been pretty quiet this offseason, but they've tried to add some starting pitching to a roster that includes catcher Adley Rutschman and top infield prospect Gunnar Henderson. Baltimore improved from 52 wins to 83 last year, and the Orioles also made themselves a much more palatable destination for pitchers after moving back the wall in left field at Camden Yards.

Baltimore finished 17th in the major leagues in ERA in 2022 after ranking dead last the previous year. The Orioles signed right-hander Kyle Gibson to a one-year deal earlier this offseason. They also have two of the game's top pitching prospects in Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





Ray Herbert, Detroit sandlot ace and 1962 AL All-Star, dies

Ray Herbert, a 1962 All-Star Game winning pitcher who threw batting practice for his hometown Detroit Tigers for decades after retiring, died peacefully in Plymouth, Michigan, five days after his 93rd birthday.

Herbert started his big league career with Detroit in 1950 and pitched for four teams over 14 seasons. He was a 20-game winner for the White Sox in 1962, then led the American League with seven shutouts in 1963 with Chicago.

Herbert was a part of a generation of Detroiters who flocked to the diamonds of the city's historic Northwestern Field, a sandlot that turned out players such as Willie Horton, Bill Freehan and Frank Tanana. It was famed Tigers scout “Wish” Egan who spotted Herbert and his older brother, Donald, on the field so loaded with talent that sponsors, reporters and scouts alike were in attendance.

Herbert died Dec. 20 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, his brother Richard Herbert said. He was born Dec. 15, 1929.

A Detroit Catholic Central Hall of Famer, Herbert's high school teams won two league championships in 1947 and ’48, with Donald catching his pitches in ’47.

The storied program deemed Herbert “one of Catholic Central’s all-time greatest pitchers” when he was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2008.

Herbert and his brother had aspirations to be a major league battery before Donald was drafted into the Korean War. Donald Herbert Sr. died in 2016 at 87 years old.

At age 19, Herbert struggled in the beginning of his professional career but had a “sinking fastball that major league franchises dream of,” wrote the late John Gabcik in a Society for American Baseball Research biography.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound righty got by on raw arm talent and his ability to contribute at the plate, packing enough power to “hit it out to Grand River,” his brother Richard said about the since-renamed Northwestern Field.

“He had seven home runs in the majors but he said they finally figured out he couldn't hit a major league curveball,” said his younger brother, who along with Herbert's stepdaughter took care of him in his later years.

Herbert threw a complete game in his big league debut with the Tigers in 1950, losing to the Philadelphia Athletics 4-3 on a late homer. He was able to even his record three days later in relief against the Washington Senators, but his career was filled with highs and lows for a better part of a decade before a reawakening with the White Sox.

In 1962, Herbert went 20-9 with a 3.27 ERA and recorded a win in his only All-Star Game appearance. Pitching in the second of two All-Star Games held that season, he retired future Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson and Orlando Cepeda in three shutout innings at Wrigley Field.

He retired in 1966 after four years with Detroit, five with the Kansas City Athletics, four with Chicago and two with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was 104-107 with a 4.01 ERA.

He then threw batting practice for the Tigers for three decades.

Despite his Alzheimer's disease diagnosis, Herbert never forgot the sandlot tales of his youth at Northwestern. He also remembered quite fondly striking out Mickey Mantle in 1954 and hitting a home run in Fenway Park in 1962.

He and his brothers were able to enjoy a Catholic Central sports Hall of Fame honors ceremony together in 2015.

Herbert married Patricia Bronikowski in 1978 and they raised her daughter, Roxanne. Patricia died in 2017.

Herbert is survived by his brother Richard; his stepdaughter Roxanne Eaves; his children Roxanne, Melanie, Mark and Matthew; and many nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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AP Sports Writer Ryan Kryska is the great nephew of Ray Herbert. His younger cousin once asked him to take her to a memorabilia store to try and find a Herbert baseball card. Together, they found a box holding hundreds of old timers. The first card Olivia Herbert picked out of it was her great uncle Ray's.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



Voth, Orioles avoid arbitration, agree at $1.85 million

BALTIMORE (AP) — Right-hander Austin Voth avoided a salary arbitration hearing with the Baltimore Orioles, agreeing Thursday to a $1.85 million, one-year contract.

Voth's deal includes a $2.45 million team option for 2024 that can escalate by up to $500,000 based on starts this year: $100,000 for 12 and each additional three through 24.

His 2023 salary is at the midpoint between the $2 million he had asked for and the $1.7 million offered by the Orioles when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged on Jan. 13.

The 30-year-old Voth was 5-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 17 starts and five relief appearances for the Orioles last season, striking out 72 and walking 25 in 83 innings.

Selected by Washington in the fifth round of the 2013 amateur draft, he made his major league debut with the Nationals in 2018. Baltimore claimed Voth off waivers last June 7 after he started with a 10.13 ERA over 19 relief appearances.

Voth earned $875,000 last year, when he was eligible for arbitration for the first time.

He was the last player to reach a deal among six Orioles eligible to arbitration, following outfielders Anthony Santander ($7.4 million), Cedric Mullins ($4.1 million) and Austin Hays ($3.2 million), shortstop Jorge Mateo ($2 million) and right-hander Dillon Tate ($1.5 million).

Thirty-one players remain scheduled for hearings, which start Monday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





Brown hired as general manager of Houston Astros

HOUSTON (AP) — Dana Brown was hired Thursday as the general manager of the Houston Astros.

Brown replaces James Click, who was not given a new contract and parted ways with the Astros just days after they won the World Series.

Brown spent the last four seasons as the vice president of scouting for the Atlanta Braves.

“We are excited to have Dana join our organization,” Astros’ owner Jim Crane said. “He brings championship caliber experience to our team and is the right fit for us to continue to deliver a winning franchise on and off the field.”

Brown worked for the Blue Jays from 2010-18 as a special assistant to the general manager. From 2001-09 he worked as director of scouting for the Nationals/Expos. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he spent eight years as their area scouting supervisor and East coast cross checker.

Click had served as Houston’s general manager since joining the team before the 2020 season from the Tampa Bay Rays.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



A's running out of time to find home in Oakland, Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Oakland Athletics have spent years trying to get a new stadium while watching Bay Area neighbors such as the Giants, Warriors, 49ers and Raiders successfully move into state-of-the-art venues, and now time is running short on their efforts.

The A's lease at RingCentral Coliseum expires after the 2024 season, and though they might be forced to extend the terms, the club and Major League Baseball have deemed the stadium unsuitable for a professional franchise.

They are searching for a new stadium in Oakland or Las Vegas, but they have experienced difficulties in both areas. The A's missed a major deadline in October to get a deal done in Oakland, and there has been little indication they will receive the kind of funding they want from Las Vegas.

“I think the A’s have to look at it in a couple of ways,” said Brendan Bussmann, managing partner at Las Vegas-based B Global. “Obviously, they have struggled in Oakland to get a deal across the line. It isn’t for a lack of effort. … You have an owner that’s willing to pony up money, you have a club that wants to sit there and figure out a way to make it work, and you keep running into obstacles along the way.

“It’s time to fish or cut bait. Oakland, do you want them or not? And if not, where are the A’s going to get the best deal? Is it Vegas? Is it somewhere else? They’ll have to figure that out.”

What the A's are thinking is a little bit of a mystery. Team President Dave Kaval was talkative earlier in the process, saying the A's are pursuing two different tracks with Oakland and Las Vegas. But he went silent on the subject several months ago. A’s spokeswoman Catherine Aker said mostly recently that the club would withhold comment for now.

The A’s have been negotiating with Oakland to build a $1 billion stadium as part of a $12 billion redevelopment deal.

Newly elected Mayor Sheng Thao said reaching a deal is important as long as it makes economic sense to the city. Her predecessor, Libby Schaaf, led prior efforts to reach an agreement, but after the city and the A’s missed that October deadline, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed reservations a deal will ever get done.

“The pace in Oakland has not been rapid, number one,” Manfred said at the time. “We’re in a stadium situation that’s really not tenable. I mean, we need to do something to alter the situation. So I’m concerned about the lack of pace.”

Recent California history justifies his concerns. SoFi Stadium in Southern California and Chase Center in San Francisco were built with private money, and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara was 90% privately financed.

“And then I think there was some contagion where around the country people realized these deals could be done well privately and could generate a return on investment to those investors,” said David Carter, a sports business professor at the University of Southern California. "Why are we throwing public money at it at all?”

That's also a question being asked in Las Vegas, even though the Raiders in 2016 received $750 million from the Nevada Legislature for a stadium. That then was the largest amount of public money for a sports venue, but it was surpassed last March by the $850 million pledged to construct a new stadium for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.

Another deal like the one for Allegiant Stadium, where the Raiders play, appears unlikely in Nevada. T-Mobile Arena, which opened in 2017, was privately financed. An arena planned for south of the Las Vegas Strip also wouldn’t rely on public funds.

Las Vegas, however, has shown financing creativity. Its Triple-A baseball stadium received $80 million in 2017 for naming rights from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Room taxes fund the authority, so it was public money in a backdoor sort of way.

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, who is on the board of the convention authority, has spoken with A’s representatives about their interest in Las Vegas and said he is aware of the club’s talks with other Nevada officials. He said the A's are taking a much different approach than the Raiders, who identified Las Vegas early as their choice landing spot after many years of failing to get a new stadium in Oakland.

“When the Raiders decided to come to Las Vegas, they had a clear plan,” Naft said. “You had a clear body that was tasked with assessing the worth and the value, and they committed to the destination. I have not seen that from the Oakland A’s at any level, and it’s not really our job to go out and beg them to come here because we have earned the reputation of the greatest arena on Earth. We have put in both the dollars and the labor to make that the case.

“I think I’ve made myself clear, but from conversations with others, I don’t think I’m alone on that.”

New Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo “will not raise taxes" to attract the A's or any other team, his spokeswoman, Elizabeth Ray, said in a statement. But she said the club could qualify for other ongoing “economic development programs," which could mean tax breaks similar to what Tesla received in 2014.

Manfred said in December that the A’s relocation fee would be waived if they move to Las Vegas, a savings to the club reportedly of up to $1 billion.

“We’re past any reasonable timeline for the situation in Oakland to be resolved,” Manfred said then.

Naft said Allegiant Stadium filled a hole that went beyond landing an NFL team. It allowed Las Vegas to attract major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and Final Four and major concerts such as Garth Brooks and Elton John that “in many cases we would not otherwise have.”

He said he doesn’t believe a baseball stadium would accomplish that, and sports economist Victor Matheson agreed.

“I think there’s a real question about how much people are willing to watch baseball in Las Vegas,” said Matheson, a professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. “It’s not like locals don’t have a huge number of entertainment options right now, and it’s not clear exactly how much people might travel to watch baseball in Vegas, either."

If the A’s truly want to be in Las Vegas, Naft said they need to make that clear.

“I just believe you can’t play destinations against each other,” Naft said. “If you want to come here and you want to be met with open arms, you’ve got to commit."

Should the A's fail to reach an agreement in Oakland or Las Vegas, they could consider other destinations such as Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville; and Portland, Oregon. Whether they would have the time to explore such options is another question.

Oakland has already shown it will watch the Raiders move to Nevada and the Warriors go across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco.

Las Vegas, Matheson noted, is hardly in a desperate situation. He also expressed caution that Las Vegas could go from being among the largest metropolitan areas without a major professional sports team to among the smallest with three franchises.

“So you’ve gone from kind of being under-sported to being over-sported in a short period of time if the A’s were to go there,” Matheson said.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



Cardinals' Nootbaar, Boston's Yoshida in Japan's WBC team

TOKYO (AP) — Japan completed naming its 30-man roster on Thursday for the World Baseball Classic, which includes outfielders Lars Nootbaar of the St. Louis Cardinals and Masataka Yoshida of the Boston Red Sox.

Nootbaar has a Japanese mother but grew up in California and does not speak Japanese. He is the first to play for Japan in the WBC who qualifies because of his ancestry.

Japan announced its first 12 members last month. They include MLB players such as Los Angeles Angels' Shohei Ohtani, San Diego Padres pitcher Yu Darvish, and Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki.

Nootbaar said in an interview a few weeks ago at a Cardinals event in St. Louis that he does not speak Japanese, but is working on it with his mother, Kumi Enokida.

“I'm am going to try (to speak) a little bit," he said. "Obviously it's going to be tough to learn a language in a month. I'm going to try my best. My mom is singing the Japanese national anthem in the house. I'm repeating it. We're just doing little stuff like that.”

The national anthem in Japan is called the “Kimigayo" and the lyrics date from an ancient poem.

Japan has won the WBC twice, but not since 2009, and is managed by Hideki Kuriyama. Japan won the opening event in 2006. The Dominican Republic was the champion in 2013, and the United States won the last time it was played in 2017.

The World Baseball Classic will be played in Japan, Taiwan and United States from March 8-21. It features 20 national teams, and the powers from Asia will be Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia.

Latin America will feature the largest contingent with Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama and Nicaragua.

The United States and Canada are also entered.

Japan will play its first game on March 9 against China in Pool B at the Tokyo Dome. The top two teams in Pool A and B will play single-elimination quarterfinals on March 15-16 in Tokyo. The winners more on to the semifinals in Miami on March 19-20.

The final is March 21 in Miami.

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Japan players with uniform number:

Pitchers:

Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres) 11; Shota Imanaga (DeNA BayStars) 21; Hiromi Ito (Nippon Ham Fighters) 17; Ryoji Kuribayashi (Hiroshima Carp) 20; Yuki Matsui (Rakuten Eagles) 13; Hiroya Miyagi (Orix Buffaloes) 29; Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels) 16; Taisei Ota (Yomiuri Giants) 15; Roki Sasaki (Lotte Marines) 14; Hiroto Takahashi (Chunichi Dragons) 28; Keiji Takahashi (Yakult Swallows) 47; Shosei Togo (Yomiuri Giants) 12; Yuki Udagawa (Orix Buffaloes) 26; Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes) 18; Atsuki Yuasa (Hanshin Tigers) 22.

Catchers:

Takuya Kai (SoftBank Hawks) 10; Yuhei Nakamura (Yakult Swallows) 27; Takumi Oshiro (Yomiuri Giants) 24.

Infielders:

Sosuke Genda (Seibu Lions) 2; Shugo Maki (DeNA BayStars) 3; Munetaka Murakami (Yakult Swallows) 55; Takumu Nakano (Hanshin Tigers) 7; Kazuma Okamoto (Yomiuri Giants) 25; Tetsuto Yamada (Yakult Swallows) 1; Hotaka Yamakawa (Seibu Lions) 33.

Outfielders:

Kensuke Kondo (SoftBank Hawks) 8; Lars Nootbaar (St. Louis Cardinals) 23; Ukyo Shuto (SoftBank Hawks) 9; Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs) 51; Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox) 34.

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Jeffrey Springs, Rays agree to $31 million, 4-year contract

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Left-hander Jeffrey Springs became the first of the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration salaries with their teams to reach a deal, agreeing Wednesday to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old Springs was among seven Rays who swapped arbitration figures with the team on Jan. 13. He began last season in the bullpen, transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts. He is 14-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 76 outings — 51 of them in relief — since he was acquired from Boston in February 2021.

Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said the sides had been working toward an agreement for weeks and that Springs — drafted in the 30th round by the Texas Rangers in 2015 — has earned the opportunity to be a big part of Tampa Bay's future.

“Jeffrey’s journey in baseball is a story of constant development and improvement. It’s a heck of a story,” Neander said, noting Springs was not drafted high and spent time with multiple organizations before landing with the Rays and becoming an important component of the team's success.

“A big reason why we’re here at this point is we see him continuing to do that moving forward,” Neander said. "To have that opportunity, he’s earned that and we’re really excited that we’re gonna keep him around here longer than we otherwise would have.”

Springs, who is 19-10 with a 3.57 ERA over parts of five seasons with the Rangers, Red Sox and Rays, gets $4 million this year, $5.25 million in 2024 and $10.5 million in each of the following two seasons. Tampa Bay has a $15 million option for 2027 with a $750,000 buyout.

The 2025 and 2026 salaries can escalate by up to $3.75 million each based on innings in 2023-24 combined: $1.5 million for 300, $1 million for 325, $750,000 for 350 and $500,000 for 375. The ‘25 and ’26 salaries also can escalate based on finish in Cy Young Award voting in ‘23 and '24: $2 million for winning, $1.5 million for finishing second through fifth and $250,000 for finishing sixth through 10th.

“Honestly, I don’t even know if it’s fully sank in quite yet," Springs said. “Tons of emotion, to be honest, thinking about and hearing Erik talk about the journey. That’s something that kind of helped mold me into the person and player I am today, and I wouldn’t change that for anything.”

Tampa Bay's option price could escalate based on Cy Young voting in 2025 and 2026: by $2.5 million for winning, $2 million for finishing second through fifth and $500,000 for sixth through 10th.

Springs would get $45.25 million if the option is exercised, $52.75 million with the option and meeting all innings targets, and the maximum if he meets the innings targets and wins two Cy Young Awards.

Springs’ ERA last season was the second-lowest in franchise history for a pitcher working a minimum of 100 innings. Former Rays ace Blake Snell compiled a 1.89 ERA on the way to winning the 2018 AL Cy Young Award.

In addition to finishing sixth in the AL in ERA, Springs allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 25 starts and two runs or fewer 17 times. He joined Tampa Bay’s rotation on May 9, gradually increasing his workload over his next six appearances. Springs was 6-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 14 starts after the All-Star break.

Arbitration hearings start next week and the Rays still have the most players scheduled to appear before three-person panels.

Springs had asked for a raise from $947,500 to $3.55 million and had been offered $2.7 million. Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam, Pete Fairbanks and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Díaz and outfielder Harold Ramírez.

Tampa Bay also agreed to minor league contacts with catcher Gavin Collins and right-hander Jaime Schultz, who will report to major league spring training.

Infielder Austin Shenton and pitchers Anthony Molina and Joe LaSorsa also were invited to big league spring training.

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Beltré, Mauer eligible for Baseball Hall of Fame next year

Scott Rolen is headed to the Hall of Fame. Next year, make way for another star third baseman.

Adrián Beltré highlights the first-time eligibles for 2024. While Rolen's election Tuesday capped an impressive six-year rise in his vote total, Beltré has a good chance to go in on the first ballot. Although he was never an MVP, he finished his career with 3,166 hits, 477 home runs and five Gold Gloves, remaining productive all the way through his final season at age 39.

Joe Mauer, Chase Utley, David Wright, José Bautista and Matt Holliday are also expected to make their debuts on the ballot next year. Mauer is the only catcher to win three batting titles and was the American League MVP in 2009.

It was no surprise that several players made big jumps in the voting this year. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling — all of whom received majority support but fell short of the 75% threshold for induction — weren't on the ballot anymore. Since there's a 10-player maximum for each voter, when candidates like that are no longer an option, others can benefit.

Rolen improved from 63.2% to 76.3%, Todd Helton from 52.0% to 72.2% and Billy Wagner from 51.0% to 68.1%. Andruw Jones went from 41.1% to 58.1%.

The presence of Beltré, Mauer and Utley, however, could make it harder for other players to gain ground next year. Helton still has five more years on the ballot and Jones has four. Wagner, however, has only two more chances.

“Helton's going to be pulling something like three-quarters of the vote, and Beltré might be the first guy to threaten a hundred percent since (Derek) Jeter and Mariano (Rivera), and then there's certainly going to be a lot of Mauer and Utley support, I'd think," said Ryan Thibodaux, who runs the online Hall of Fame ballot tracker that allows fans to follow the voting process as it unfolds each year.

"Is Wagner able to get that final 7% in one shot, or does it take him until his 10th ballot? I think that's going to be really interesting to watch next year.”

DECENT START

Next year also seems like a significant one for Carlos Beltrán, who received the support of 46.5% of the voters in his debut on the ballot. That type of first-year performance normally bodes very well for a candidate, but Beltrán's total was probably hurt by his role in the Houston Astros' cheating scandal.

“I made a bit of a joke in our Slack of our tracker team, that we should have, this entire time, been tracking who either said explicitly or sort of hinted that they were giving like a one-year punishment," Thibodaux said. “I can only kind of anecdotally say that I think there are a significant number of voters who are planning to vote for him next year who didn't vote for him this year.”

Bonds and Clemens, dogged by performance-enhancing drug accusations, seemed to hit a ceiling in the vote after a while. If Beltrán is treated in a similar fashion he could be in trouble, but if voters indeed are only planning to penalize him for one year, that should be evident in 2024.

LAST CHANCE

Gary Sheffield received 55.0% of the vote, and next year is his last on the ballot. He needs to pull off a repeat of Larry Walker's final-year surge.

Walker was at 54.6% in 2019. Then he made it to 75% the following year in his last chance.

But Jack Morris received 67.7% in his second-to-last year and never did get voted in by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He was later elected by the Modern Era committee. That puts the jump Sheffield needs in perspective.

“That is going to be a really tough leap for him," Thibodaux said.

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Follow Noah Trister at www.twitter.com/noahtrister

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Red Sox complete $7 million deal with Duvall, cut Barnes

BOSTON (AP) — Adam Duvall and the Boston Red Sox finalized their $7 million, one-year contract Tuesday.

The veteran outfielder can earn another $3 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances. The sides agreed to terms last week, pending a physical.

To make room for Duvall on the 40-man roster, Boston cut former closer Matt Barnes — an All-Star in 2021 and a key member of the Red Sox bullpen for much of his nine-year career.

In a surprise move, the 32-year-old Barnes was designated for assignment, meaning the team has seven days to trade, release or send him outright to the minors. The right-handed reliever has more than $10.6 million remaining on his contract.

Duvall, 34, enters his 10th major league season, having played for the Giants, Reds, Marlins and two stints with Atlanta. He was an All-Star for Cincinnati in 2016 and won a Gold Glove for the Braves in 2021, batting .228 with 38 homers and an NL-leading 113 RBIs to help lead them to a World Series championship.

His addition helps the Red Sox keep Kiké Hernandez in the infield, where they have lost shortstop Xander Bogaerts to free agency and his replacement, Trevor Story, to elbow surgery.

Duvall, a right-handed hitter, batted .213 with 12 home runs and 36 RBIs in 86 games for Atlanta last season. He made 43 starts in center field, 26 in left and 11 in right.

In all, Duvall has a .230 batting average with 163 home runs and 478 RBIs. He hit three homers in a game at Fenway Park on Sept. 2, 2020. He had two home runs and six RBIs during the 2021 World Series for Atlanta.

Duvall gets a $1 million signing bonus and a $6 million salary this season. He can earn an additional $500,000 each for 350, 400, 450 and 500 plate appearances, and $1 million for 550 plate appearances.

Barnes helped the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series, going 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 62 games covering 61 2/3 innings as a hard-throwing setup man that season.

He developed into the team's closer and had 24 saves in 2021, making the AL All-Star squad before struggling in the second half and losing the job. He fell to 0-4 with a 4.31 ERA and eight saves in 44 appearances last year, striking out 34 batters and walking 21 in 39 2/3 innings.

Barnes, born and raised in nearby Connecticut, was drafted 19th overall by Boston in 2011 out of UConn. A converted starter, he is 32-30 with a 4.07 ERA and 47 saves in nine big league seasons with the Red Sox, and was the longest-tenured member of the team.

He ranks second in franchise history in relief appearances and strikeouts in relief.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



Mike Clevinger investigated by MLB for domestic violence

NEW YORK (AP) — Chicago White Sox pitcher Mike Clevinger is being investigated by Major League Baseball following an allegation of domestic violence.

Olivia Finestead publicly revealed the allegations in an Instagram post Tuesday. Clevinger, a 32-year-old right-hander and a six-year major league veteran, agreed to a $12 million, one-year contract as a free agent that was announced on Dec. 4.

“MLB opened an investigation after learning of these allegations,” the team said in a statement. “The White Sox were not aware of the allegations or the investigation at the time of his signing. The White Sox will refrain from comment until MLB’s investigative process has reached its conclusion.”

Jay Reisinger, a lawyer for Clevinger, issued a statement that said, “Mike emphatically denies the accusations made by Ms. Finestead."

“He has never harmed Ms. Finestead or his daughter," Reisinger said. “We will not comment on Ms. Finestead’s motive for bringing these false allegations. Her baseless threats and accusations over the last few months have regrettably escalated, culminating most recently in deeply disturbing threats toward Mike and Mike’s family. Her threats and her pattern of abusive behavior are well documented. The simple truth is that Mike has done nothing wrong. He is a loving and caring father. We have advised Mike not to comment on this matter."

Finestead said she is the mother of Clevinger's child and alleged he fathered two other children who were not hers. She posted a photo of marks on her body with accompanying words that alleged the injuries were “from when he threw an iPad at me pregnant" and “finally left when he strangled me.”

“Mike Clevinger,” she added, “you really deserve hell I've kept quiet now for almost a year and you continue to covertly abuse your infant.” She said Clevinger ”threw chew spit on our baby."

The Athletic reported Finestead told the outlet she notified MLB of her allegations last summer.

The Associated Press typically does not identify victims of domestic violence or sexual assault unless they agree to be named or come forward publicly with their allegations, as Finestead has.

Clevinger is 51-30 with a 3.39 ERA for Cleveland (2016-20) and San Diego (2021-22). He was 0-1 in a pair of postseason starts for the Padres.

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer was suspended for two seasons by MLB last April under the domestic violence policy following an investigation that started the previous July. The suspension was cut to 194 games by an arbitrator last month, and the Dodgers released the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner. The suspension cost Bauer more than $37 million from his $102 million, three-year contract through the 2023 season.

Bauer has denied the allegations.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



Scott Rolen elected to baseball's Hall of Fame

NEW YORK (AP) — Scott Rolen sat with his son in the parking lot outside Indiana's Bloomington South High School in 2018, waiting to coach grade schoolers in basketball and listening on the radio for results of his first appearance on baseball's Hall of Fame ballot.

“`Dad, I think you're getting in,'” Rolen recalled 10-year-old Finn predicting.

Rolen received 10.2% of the vote, double the 5% minimum to remain on the ballot the following year but far short of the 75% needed for election.

“`Did we win?'” dad remembered his son asking. “I said, `Oh, we won. Yes, we won.'”

Rolen came a long way in a few short years and was elected to the Hall on his sixth try Tuesday, the slick-fielding third baseman achieving baseball's highest honor with five votes to spare.

A seven-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner, Rolen was picked on 297 of 389 ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for 76.3%. That made his modest 10.2% debut the lowest first-ballot percentage of a player later elected; the previous mark had been 17% in 1970 by Duke Snider, who was voted in with 86.5% in 1980.

“There was actually never a point in my life that I thought I was going to be a Hall of Fame baseball player,” Rolen said. “Never did I think I was going to get drafted. Never did I think I was going to play in the major leagues. Never going to be whatever.”

Rolen will join Fred McGriff, elected last month by the contemporary baseball era committee, as the former players inducted July 23 in Cooperstown.

First baseman Todd Helton was second with 281 votes (72.2%) and reliever Billy Wagner third with 265 (68.1%). Helton moved up from 52% and can have five more appearances on the ballot, while Wagner rose from 51% and has two additional chances.

Rolen batted .281 with 316 homers and 1,287 RBIs for Philadelphia (1996-2002), St. Louis (2002-07), Toronto (2008-09) and Cincinnati (2009-12). He was a unanimous pick as the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year and hit .421 as the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series.

His Hall vote rose steadily to 17.2% in 2019, 35.3% in 2020, 52.9% in 2021 and 63.2% last year. He didn't need to follow Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame Ballot Tracker this year.

“My phone would blow up about every day from my son and my buddies and everybody telling me where it was," Rolen said.

He waited Tuesday at home in Bloomington — he was runner-up for Indiana's Mr. Basketball in 1993 — with his parents, wife, son, daughter, brother and his brother's family.

“When the phone call came and I saw baseball Hall of Fame on my phone," Rolen said, "you kind of look around, like, that actually did just happen.”

They all cried, and a few minutes later Finn asked him to go out and toss a baseball.

“It's 30 degrees here. It's going to snow about 12 inches tomorrow, and my son and I were in the driveway playing catch,” Rolen said.

Then they walked a short distance to his brother's house to celebrate.

“I promised everybody great steaks no matter what, and I had to turn the tongs over,” Rolen said. “I was normally going to grill for everybody but now my brother-in-law's grilling.”

Rolen played shortstop, second base, third, right field, center, left and pitcher at Jasper High School before settling at third in his sophomore or junior year. He will be the 18th third baseman in the Hall, the fewest of any position.

“Most of the guys who moved to third probably came up as shortstops,” said Chipper Jones, the previous third baseman elected, in 2018. ”You kind of outgrow the shortstop position as you get older and develop more."

Rolen’s five-vote margin tied for the 12th-smallest among players elected by the writers and his vote percentage was the 10th lowest.

Andruw Jones moved from 41.1% to 58.1%, Gary Sheffield from 40.6% to 55% in his next-to-last possible appearance and Jeff Kent from 32.7% to 46.5% in his final year. Kent can be considered by the contemporary baseball era committee in future years.

Players tainted by drug suspensions again lagged. Alex Rodriguez was at 35.7%, up from 34.3%, and Manny Ramirez at 33.2%, up from 28.9%.

Eight blank ballots were submitted by writers, eligible to vote after 10 consecutive years of membership in the BBWAA.

Among 14 players appearing on the ballot for the first time, just two reached the 5% threshold to remain under consideration next year. Carlos Beltrán received 181 votes (46.5%), his total likely impacted by his role in the Houston Astros cheating scandal en route to the 2017 World Series title.

Relief pitcher Francisco Rodríguez got 42 votes (10.8%).

Next year’s first-time eligibles include Adrián Beltré, Joe Mauer, Chase Utley, David Wright, José Bautista and Matt Holliday.

Rolen smiled widely on a Zoom call, speaking while wearing an “E5” cap, the out-of-character name of his foundation that assists children and families dealing with illness, hardship or special needs.

“A little tightness in the chest all day,” he said. “It was, wow, this is real."

___



Mets sign outfielder Tommy Pham to $6 million, 1-year deal

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets signed veteran outfielder Tommy Pham to a one-year contract for $6 million Tuesday, adding to their busy offseason.

Pham can earn another $2 million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances. He provides depth and a dangerous bat, giving New York a proven fourth outfielder and a right-handed option at designated hitter to complement lefty Daniel Vogelbach.

The 34-year-old Pham spent last season with Cincinnati and Boston, batting .236 overall with 17 home runs, 63 RBIs and a .686 OPS. He scored 89 runs in 144 games.

“Tommy adds another versatile right-handed bat to our lineup,” general manager Billy Eppler said in a statement. “His ability to grind through at bats, stay within the strike zone, impact the baseball, and run the bases is a valuable addition to our ballclub.”

Pham is a .259 career hitter with 114 homers, 97 stolen bases and a .787 OPS in nine major league seasons with the Cardinals, Rays, Padres, Reds and Red Sox.

He made headlines in May when he was suspended for three games by Major League Baseball after he slapped San Francisco Giants outfielder Joc Pederson because of a dispute about their fantasy football league. While the Giants warmed up in the outfield before their series opener with the Reds, Pham confronted Pederson and smacked him in the face before they were separated.

Pham gets a $1 million signing bonus and a $5 million salary. He can earn another $200,000 each for 225, 250, 275, 300, 325, 350, 375, 400, 425 and 450 plate appearances this season.

Mets owner Steve Cohen has committed $498.2 million to 10 major league free agents this offseason — including $102 million over five years to keep All-Star closer Edwin Díaz, who re-signed before other clubs were permitted to negotiate with him.

In a corresponding roster move, left-handed pitcher Tayler Saucedo was designated for assignment by the Mets.

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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