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MLB off season thread  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2014 01:06 am
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lobo316
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GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) Starter Mat Latos had surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee on Friday, giving the Cincinnati Reds a concern as they opened spring training.

Latos suffered the injury a few days earlier while throwing in Arizona. He'll have to stop throwing for about 10 days to let the knee heal.

General manager Walt Jocketty said Latos could be ready for the start of the season.

''It was a very quick repair,'' Jocketty said. ''Very minor surgery.''

The Reds have suffered injuries to their bullpen during spring training each of the past two years. This time the rotation was thrown into flux from the start of camp. Latos went 14-7 last season with a 3.16 ERA in 32 starts. He had surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow at the end of the season and had recovered well from that operation.

Latos felt something in the knee on one of his throws earlier in the week. An MRI found the tear, and he had surgery on Friday morning as the rest of the pitchers and catchers were having their physicals.

''Is it unfortunate? Yeah,'' Jocketty said. ''But it's not something we're overly concerned about.''

Pitchers Carlos Contreras, Daniel Corcino and infielder Neftali Soto didn't make it to Goodyear for the first workout because their flights were cancelled due to the bad weather on the East Coast.

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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2014 01:09 am
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) The Texas Rangers have signed right-hander Tommy Hanson to a one-year contract in their search for depth in a rotation dealing with injury concerns.

Hanson's deal was announced Friday, two days before Texas pitchers report for spring training in Surprise, Ariz.

The 27-year-old Hanson was 4-3 with a 5.42 ERA in a difficult season with the Los Angeles Angels that included a right forearm injury and the death of his stepbrother.

The Angels traded for Hanson after he won at least 10 games in all four seasons with Atlanta.

The Rangers made room for Hanson by putting left-handed reliever Joseph Ortiz on the 60-day disabled list with a broken left foot.

Texas will start the season without left-hander Derek Holland, who injured his left knee in an accident at home

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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2014 01:11 am
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) Right-hander Julio Teheran and the Atlanta Braves and have agreed to terms on a six-year, $32.4 million contract with a club option for the 2020 season.

The agreement with the 23-year-old Teheran on Friday, the day the Braves' pitchers and catchers had their first workout in spring training, was another move by the team to lock up a key young player on a long-term deal. First baseman Freddie Freeman agreed to $135 million, eight-year deal on Feb. 5, the same day the team announced a two-year, $13.3 million deal with right fielder Jason Heyward.

Teheran became an important member of the rotation as a rookie last year. He was 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA and finished fourth in voting for the NL Rookie of the Year.

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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2014 01:12 am
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers have cut down on Yasiel Puig's throwing program after the outfielder said he experienced soreness in his right shoulder after his earlier workouts.

Friday was the Dodgers' first official full-squad workout, but Puig has been in camp all week working out with some teammates.

Manager Don Mattingly said trainers haven't expressed concern about the inflammation being the result of a meaningful injury.

"With Yasiel, it usually goes full speed and we'd like to try to build it up instead of seeing if he can throw it from the wall to the plate the first day. Maybe the second," Mattingly joked. "Just trying to hold it up and build it up like everybody else."

Mattingly acknowledged that Puig sometimes put extra stress on his arm last season attempting long throws with little chance of success, but he said he won't urge him to play more conservatively in an effort to keep his arm healthy.

"We'll talk with everyone over the course of the spring about the fundamentals of playing and what we want to do with the baseball and the reasons why," Mattingly said.

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 Posted: Sat Feb 15th, 2014 01:14 am
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GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Dodgers might go into the 2014 season with four everyday options for three outfield spots, but one of those players has now made his stance crystal clear. Matt Kemp said he's not a bench player.

"I'm not a fourth outfielder. We can cut that off right there," Kemp said. "I won't accept that role. I can't accept that role."

The Dodgers held their first full-squad workout Friday and, for now, the surplus is a non-issue. Kemp has yet to begin running as he recovers from October ankle surgery and has acknowledged he likely won't be ready for Opening Day, which comes about a week early for the Dodgers against the Diamondbacks in Australia.

Kemp, however, is expected to return in early April. Assuming he, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig all remain healthy, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will have to figure out some combination to keep all four players in the mix.

The Dodgers listened to trade offers for Kemp and their other outfielders this winter, but no teams made an offer they found particularly tempting. Presuming Kemp proves he's healthy by the end of spring training, those talks could revive.

"The [general manager], his job is to do what he does and I'm going to do what I do. My job is to help the team win," Kemp said. "We've all got decisions to make and responsibilities. I'm sure it'll all, you know, come out the way it's supposed to come out, but I can't worry about things I can't control."

Kemp, 29, batted .324 and led the National League in home runs (39) and RBIs (126) in 2011, but has been beset by hamstring, shoulder and ankle injuries the past two seasons. He had a career-low .723 OPS last season in 73 games.

Kemp said he has no idea when he will be cleared to run this spring, but that his swing feels more powerful than it did coming off his first shoulder surgery a year ago. It took Kemp until May 20 last season to hit his second home run. He had a second, clean-up procedure on his shoulder shortly after the October ankle surgery.

"I couldn't really get through the ball. If anybody knows my swing, when y'all see that go up in the air like that," Kemp said, lifting his left arm over his head, "you know something good happened. I was cutting my swing off. I couldn't get extension, man. I couldn't do a lot of things."

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 Posted: Sun Feb 16th, 2014 11:09 pm
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Ryan Dempster says he's taking this season off. No big loss ( right now ) for Boston but if did they have a problem with this I wonder what the legalities are since Dempster signed a 2-year deal last year ????


from tsn.ca:

Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster says he will not play this season.

The 36-year-old right-hander from Gibsons, B.C., says he is stepping away for physical reasons and to spend more time with his family.

Dempster finished last season 8-9 with a 4.57 earned-run average and didn't get a start during the Red Sox's post-season run to a World Series title.

He has pitched for 16 seasons with the Cubs, Marlins, Reds, Rangers and Red Sox. He is 132-133 with a 4.35 ERA. He made the all-star team in 2008

Boston signed Dempster to a US$26.5 million, two-year deal before last season.



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 Posted: Mon Feb 17th, 2014 12:31 am
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CanadianHorseman wrote: Ryan Dempster says he's taking this season off. No big loss ( right now ) for Boston but if did they have a problem with this I wonder what the legalities are since Dempster signed a 2-year deal last year ????


from tsn.ca:

Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster says he will not play this season.

The 36-year-old right-hander from Gibsons, B.C., says he is stepping away for physical reasons and to spend more time with his family.

Dempster finished last season 8-9 with a 4.57 earned-run average and didn't get a start during the Red Sox's post-season run to a World Series title.

He has pitched for 16 seasons with the Cubs, Marlins, Reds, Rangers and Red Sox. He is 132-133 with a 4.35 ERA. He made the all-star team in 2008

Boston signed Dempster to a US$26.5 million, two-year deal before last season.


He'll be 38 in May 2015.  He's not coming back.



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 Posted: Mon Feb 17th, 2014 01:07 am
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srossi wrote: CanadianHorseman wrote: Ryan Dempster says he's taking this season off. No big loss ( right now ) for Boston but if did they have a problem with this I wonder what the legalities are since Dempster signed a 2-year deal last year ????

He'll be 38 in May 2015.  He's not coming back.

So you don't think he'll pull a Tim Thomas on the Red Sox ???? Actually - Dempster retiring after winning a WS title seems to be the prevailing thought today with the Boston media. It also gives Boston an extra $ 13.25 million to play with. I just wonder what would happen if the Red Sox felt that their pitching staff wasn't strong enough going into this season and reminded Dempster and his agent that he still has one year to go on the 2 year deal he signed last year ????



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 Posted: Tue Feb 18th, 2014 05:23 am
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http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/17/report-orioles-working-to-finalize-deal-with-ubaldo-jimenez/

Report: Orioles and Ubaldo Jimenez agree to a four-year, $50 million deal

D.J. Short

Feb 17, 2014, 6:53 PM EST

UPDATE: According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Orioles and Jimenez agreed to a four-year, $50 million deal.

6:53 p.m. ET: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles and Jimenez have reached agreement on a deal, pending a physical.

6:23 p.m. ET: After sitting on the sidelines for most of the offseason, the Orioles appear to be ready to make a big splash.

Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that the Orioles have made “substantial progress” in contract talks with free agent right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez and are working to finalize a deal. The contract, if finalized, is believed to be for four years and around $48 million.

Jimenez hoped to land a monster contract this offseason after his monster second half last year, but things haven’t turned out exactly as planned. Surely many teams weren’t convinced that a handful of excellent starts were enough to make a substantial investment — it looks like he’ll end up getting a similar contract to Ricky Nolasco (Twins) and Matt Garza (Brewers) — but it also didn’t help that he was attached to draft pick compensation. The Orioles have also been linked to Ervin Santana in recent weeks, but Jimenez has more upside if his second half is a sign of things to come. For a team with a brief window to win with their current roster, they might as well shoot for the moon here. Of course, the bust potential is pretty big, too.

The Orioles will surrender their first-round pick (No. 17 overall) and the corresponding draft pool money if they sign Jimenez. He would join a starting rotation which also projects to include Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, and Miguel Gonzalez.



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 Posted: Tue Feb 18th, 2014 06:24 pm
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Brian Roberts hasn't been able to stay on the field as an every-day second baseman since 2009, but that didn't stop New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi from naming Roberts as Robinson Cano's successor.

"That is the plan, for him to be our second baseman," Girardi said Monday. "I know he hasn't played a full season in the last few years, he's obviously a guy who has some age on him too, but my plan is to run him out there every day."

The 36-year-old Roberts played in 77 games in 2013, his most since playing in 159 in 2009. He's had many injuries, the toughest being concussions -- the effects of which have now ceased for nearly two years, he said.

Though Roberts plays the same position as Cano, he doesn't think he is going to replace the Seattle Mariners' $240 million man.

"Robbie is such a special player, I'm not going to go in and be Robbie," said Roberts, who signed for $238 million and nine years less than Cano's 10-year deal. "Nobody will be. Our goal is to put nine guys on the field to win a game. My goal is to try and help us do that.

"I'm sure there are going to be people who are going to want to look out there and say, 'He is not Robbie.' I'm not going to be Robbie and I'm not going to try to be. I'm going to be Brian Roberts and hopefully that is good enough."

In 2013, Roberts started off well in the Orioles' first two games of the season, going 4-for-8 at the plate, before popping his hamstring tendon in game No. 3 trying to steal a base.

"That was really frustrating for me," said Roberts, who finished the year at .249. "I thought I was in a place where I thought I was going to bounce back and be myself again."

Girardi doesn't really have any other options besides Roberts.

Kelly Johnson can play second, but he is slated to be at least in a platoon at third. Eduardo Nunez has limited experience at the position and Dean Anna, an infielder the Yankees acquired from the San Diego Padres, has never appeared in a major league game. Brendan Ryan also is a possibility to play the position.

Roberts, a two-time All-Star, will team with Derek Jeter in his final season. In 2004, when Roberts was 26 and Jeter already an established star at 30, the Yankees captain made a big impression on Roberts with some kind words.

"You can hit .300 in this league," Roberts remembers Jeter telling him at second base one game.

It made an impact on Roberts. The year before, he had hit .270. In 2004, he finished at .273. In 2005, he batted .314, was an All-Star and hit more doubles than anyone else in baseball. Roberts might have hit .300 anyway, but he thinks Jeter boosted his confidence.

"To hear it from someone like that, it just kind of opens your eyes," said Roberts, who was also a teammate of Jeter's at the World Baseball Classic in 2009. "I don't think it's just me, I think he does it to everybody. But for some reason when he tells it to you, you think you're the most important person in the world. He's just kind of got that personality, and he's so good with people."

Roberts has watched a farewell tour of a legendary shortstop before. In 2001, when Roberts was a rookie with the Orioles, Cal Ripken Jr. said goodbye.

"I remember him hitting a home run in the eighth [inning] or something in Atlanta, and he got a curtain call," Roberts said. "When does that ever happen? I could see the same thing here happening [with Jeter]. There's such a select few guys that have meant what they've meant to the game, and it's going to be an incredible experience to play with him this year."

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 Posted: Tue Feb 18th, 2014 06:26 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox had a big lead late in last year's opener at Yankee Stadium. Still, Dustin Pedroia slid headfirst trying to beat out a grounder.

The win-at-all-costs second baseman tore a ligament in his left thumb -- and missed just two games the entire season.

"It was the most impressive thing I watched all year. The thumb was totally black," third-base and infield coach Brian Butterfield said Monday. "He didn't want anybody to know about it."

So it's not surprising that Pedroia downplayed how much it bothered him.

"A little bit, but it's fine now," he said. "It's fixed up, man. It's good. It's good to go."

Pedroia had surgery to repair his torn ulnar collateral ligament 14 days after the Red Sox won the World Series. He wore a cast for about a month then worked on regaining strength.

He took batting practice Monday, three days before the first official full-squad workout.

His attitude, typically, is upbeat.

"The rehab was great," Pedroia said. "I feel healthy, and there's no setbacks, no restrictions or anything."

The Red Sox won their second title in four years in 2007, when Pedroia was named American League Rookie of the Year.

In 2008, he was the league's MVP, but the Red Sox lost the AL Championship Series despite leading 1-0 in Game 7 through three innings against Tampa Bay.

"That was a huge letdown," Pedroia said. "You don't want that feeling."

He tried to keep that from happening last year, when the Red Sox were in first place through the first 34 games. He was hitting .311 at that point and wasn't about to take time off because of his thumb.

Pedroia did even better in the next 10 games, going 18-for-40 to raise his average to .343.

"The first month and a half he hit with one hand and he played with one hand," Butterfield said, "but he never even blinked. He's so impressive in so many ways, and he showed unbelievable toughness."

Pedroia's average never dropped below .289 for the season, and he ended up at .301 while leading the AL with 724 plate appearances. He tied for second in the AL in hits and was second in the league in fielding percentage among second basemen.

The only games he took off were on June 16 and the regular-season finale Sept. 29. The Red Sox lost both.

Pedroia's injury reduced his power, and he hit just nine homers, the fewest since he had eight in his rookie season. But he compensated by taking shorter swings and hitting more to the opposite field.

"We had half of him, but he fought through it and he still was a highly productive player," Butterfield said. "He just kept playing and kept grinding and didn't flinch once. He never complained and just tried to find every way he could to make his game the most comfortable, because I know early on he was playing with a lot of pain."

Not that Pedroia would admit it.

"You just figure it out," he said. "You just try to get hits, man. That's it."

With the Red Sox not re-signing shortstop Stephen Drew, Pedroia has a new double-play partner in rookie Xander Bogaerts. Pedroia knows he'll find a way to make that work too.

"We all take ground balls a lot," he said. "Bogey's going to be fine. [Butterfield] will make sure that everybody's on the same page in the infield and our defense. We know what we're doing."

Also Monday, manager John Farrell said Grady Sizemore will be used in left and center field during spring training. The former Cleveland Indian missed the past two seasons with knee and back problems.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is getting the first shot at replacing Jacoby Ellsbury, now with the New York Yankees, in center field. Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes are back after sharing time in left field last year.

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 Posted: Tue Feb 18th, 2014 06:27 pm
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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax, making his first appearance of the spring at the Los Angeles Dodgers' training facility, said he enjoyed watching Yasiel Puig energize the team last summer but would like to see the talented outfielder improve his fundamentals.

"If the showmanship doesn't involve bad decisions, it's fine," Koufax said. "I think people love it. You've got a great arm, you want to show it off, but you'd like to see it go to the right place all the time.

"He's young. He hasn't played [much]. I think the biggest thing is he hasn't played against competition as good as he is, so you're always able to have your physical ability make up for whatever else you did. He's learning. I'm sure it's going to happen. There's too much talent not to."

In discussing Puig's powerful arm, some people have compared him to Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente, among others. But Koufax said he is not willing to go there. Not yet anyway.

"Clemente had a great arm. [Willie] Mays had a good arm, but Mays never missed the cutoff man, never threw to the wrong base," Koufax said. "I'm not sure Roberto did either, but there have been a lot of good arms in baseball. I'm not comparing [Puig] to Clemente after two or three months in the big leagues."

Koufax, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, joined the Dodgers as a special assistant to owner Mark Walter last spring. He rarely makes public appearances, but Koufax volunteered to fly to New York for the Baseball Writers' Association of America's awards banquet in January because he wanted to present Clayton Kershaw with his second Cy Young.

Because Kershaw pitches for Los Angeles and is left-handed, he has been compared to Koufax since his major league debut in 2008.

"He was introduced as my protégé. I wanted to start right off saying, 'He's not my protégé. He's his own man, his own person,'" Koufax said.

Kershaw, 25, has led the major leagues in ERA each of the past three seasons and signed a record-breaking $215 million, seven-year contract extension last month. Koufax, 78, didn't win his first Cy Young until he was 27 but was the most dominant pitcher in baseball from 1962 to 1966, retiring at age 31 because of an elbow injury.

Koufax said Kershaw will have to make adjustments as he ages.

"At 25, you don't have to adjust. Talk to me when he's 35," Koufax said.

He said he does not mind the comparisons with Kershaw.

"I hope by the time it's over it will be a big honor," Koufax said.

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 Posted: Fri Feb 21st, 2014 06:08 pm
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ATLANTA (AP) The Atlanta Braves and shortstop Andrelton Simmons agreed on a $58 million, seven-year contract on Thursday, a record deal for the latest young star locked up by the NL East champions.

The deal, which runs through the 2020 season, is the largest ever awarded to a player subject to American draft rules with less than two years of service time. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo signed a $41 million, seven-year contract last May.

Simmons, 24, showed power potential in 2013, when he hit 17 home runs, but he earned the big contract with his defense. He won his first Gold Glove award in 2013, when he led the major leagues with 499 assists.

''We feel that Andrelton is one of the premier shortstops in the game today, and we are happy that we were able to agree on this multiyear contract,'' general manager Frank Wren said in a statement released by the team.

The Braves this month also reached multiyear agreements with first baseman Freddie Freeman, outfielder Jason Heyward, closer Craig Kimbrel and right-hander Julio Teheran, committing $280.7 million to the rising stars, including Simmons.

Simmons hit .248 and drove in 59 runs last season. He earned the new contract after playing in only 206 career games.

Simmons received a $1 million signing bonus and will earn $1 million this season. He will earn $3 million in 2015, $6 million in 2016, $8 million in 2017, $11 million in 2018, $13 million in 2019 and $15 million in 2020.

It has been a busy month for the Braves and Wren.

On Sunday, the team agreed to a $42 million, four-year contract with Kimbrel, 25, the All-Star closer. That came two days after the 23-year-old Teheran agreed to terms on a six-year, $32.4 million deal.

Earlier this month, the Braves announced multiyear deals with a pair of 24-year-old hitters - Freeman and Heyward.

Freeman, the All-Star first baseman, agreed to the biggest contract in Braves history - $135 million for eight years.

Of all the new deals, only Heyward's is for fewer than four years. Heyward, the outfielder who won his first Gold Glove in 2012, signed for two years and $13.3 million.

Even management has been included in the wave of new deals. Manager Fredi Gonzalez and Wren also have been given contract extensions.

Simmons ranks with Freeman, Kimbrel, Teheran, Heyward, Justin Upton, left-hander Mike Minor and others as the foundation for the Braves' future. Chipper Jones retired after the 2012 season, and Tim Hudson and catcher Brian McCann departed as free agents after last season, leaving the team that won 96 games last year with a young roster.

Simmons hit only .216 against left-handers last season, and he hit only .219 in 283 at-bats as a leadoff hitter. The team took off when Heyward was moved to the leadoff spot, and Simmons was more productive in other spots in the lineup.

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 Posted: Fri Feb 21st, 2014 06:13 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) The Boston Red Sox have reached agreement with left-hander Chris Capuano on a $2.25 million, one-year contract, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity on Thursday because completion of the deal was pending a physical. Capuano can earn an additional $2.75 million in performance bonuses.

Capuano, 35, has spent his first nine seasons in the National League, the last two with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA last season when he went on the disabled list twice and was limited to 24 appearances, 20 of them starts. In 2012, he made an NL-high 33 starts and was 12-12 with a career-best 3.72 ERA.

The Red Sox wanted another experienced starter after Ryan Dempster said Sunday he would not pitch in 2014, citing physical and personal reasons. That still left the World Series champions with five quality veterans in the rotation - Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront. They also have several outstanding starting prospects.

''I like the group that's here right now,'' manager John Farrell said on Wednesday. ''We also recognize where we start at the beginning of the year isn't always where we end up.''

Capuano is 73-83 with a 4.26 ERA in 238 games, including 209 starts. In 2005, he was 18-12 with a 3.99 ERA for Milwaukee.

He pitched nine games in 2003 as a rookie with Arizona and spent the next four seasons with Milwaukee but didn't pitch in 2008 and 2009 after having his second Tommy John elbow surgery. He returned to the Brewers in 2010 then pitched for the New York Mets in 2011.

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 Posted: Sat Feb 22nd, 2014 04:42 am
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DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) The Toronto Blue Jays have claimed pitcher Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles.

The Blue Jays announced the move Friday. Infielder Brent Morel was designated for assignment.

The 25-year-old Hendriks went 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA in 10 games last season with Minnesota. The right-hander from Australia is 2-13 with a 6.06 ERA in three season with the Twins.

Hendriks was claimed by the Chicago Cubs off waivers from Minnesota last December. Later in the month, the Orioles claimed him.

The 26-year-old Morel spent last season in the Chicago White Sox system, mostly in Triple-A. He has played 194 games in the majors and hit .229 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs.

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