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Updated: December 7, 2012 6:26 PM | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Dan Haren officially signs with Nationals: MLB moves



Dan Haren officially signs with Nationals: MLB moves

Right-hander Dan Haren has agreed to a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals.

The NL East champions announced the deal Friday, without giving financial terms. Earlier in the week, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press it would be worth $13 million.

The 32-year-old Haren was a free agent after going 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts for the Los Angeles Angels in 2012. The Angels nearly traded him to the Cubs after the season, then declined their $15.5 million option for 2013.

Haren is 119-97 with a 3.66 ERA with four clubs in the majors and was an All-Star in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

He joins an already formidable Nationals rotation led by Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.

Choate lands in St. Lous

Reliever Randy Choate and the St. Louis Cardinals have finalized a $7.5 million, three-year contract.

The deal was announced Friday, two days after it was agreed to at the winter meetings.

He gets $1.5 million next season and $3 million in each of the following two years. He can earn an additional $250,000 annually based on relief appearances: $50,000 for 70, $75,000 for 75 and $125,000 for 80.

The 37-year-old left-hander tied for the major league lead with 80 pitching appearances this year, splitting the season between the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers. Choate is 11-11 with a 4.02 ERA and six saves in 476 games during a big league career that began in 2000.

Cubs lock up Kyuji Fujikawa

After watching Hideo Nomo, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Ichiro Suzuki, Kyuji Fujikawa determined he's ready for the major leagues.

"When I was still a student, I saw Nomo made it to the United States, and that was a big factor for me," Fujikawa said through a translator Friday after finalizing a $9.5 million, two-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.

"Also, Matsuzaka, who is the same age as I am, struggled a little bit, but his challenge really gave me the motivation to come over here, as well as Ichiro challenge to the major leagues, that motivated me to come over."

The 32-year-old right-hander had 220 saves in 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League. He played for Japan at the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics and the 2008 Olympics.

"Facing better-quality hitters was one of my motivations," Fujikawa said.

He joins a team remaking its pitching staff. Without a World Series title since 1908, the Cubs went 61-101 this year for their first 100-loss season since 1966.

"Rather than add a high quantity of buy-low guys and hope some quality emerged, we felt like we were in a position where we could add one or two quality bullpen pieces because we have some interesting arms to fill out the rest of the pen," Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said. "We were looking for one or two pieces where we felt good about the investment."

Carlos Marmol, nearly traded to the Los Angeles Angels last month, remains the Cubs' closer as Fujikawa gets used to pitching for Chicago.

"There's going to be an adjustment," Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. "We're crazy to think he's going to go right into the season and have no issues. Things will come up. We know that's a part of it."

Fujikawa's strikeouts per nine innings decreased from 13.5 in 2005 to 11.0 this year, when injuries limited his innings and strikeouts to his lows since 2004.

"He's not a guy that tricks you. He really comes right after guys," Hoyer said. "Guys who rely too much on trickery can often be guys that the league figures out quickly. Our hope is that because he pitches with his fastball that he'll be able to pitch to a game plan and be able to establish himself."

Fujikawa will wear No. 11 with the Cubs.

"I was No. 22 with the Hanshin Tigers, but to have a better career than No. 22, I went younger with two ones," he said.

Fujikawa gets a $1 million signing bonus, and $4 million salaries in each of the next two seasons. The deal includes a $5.5 million option for 2015 with a $500,000 buyout and the price could escalate to $6 million based on games.

Other new additions to Chicago's staff include Scott Baker and Scott Feldman.

"From Day 1 when I visited here a few weeks ago, I really loved the city," Fujikawa said. "From that day on, it was Cubs, Cubs, Cubs."

Gardner, Yankees avoid arbitration

Speedy outfielder Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees have agreed to a $2.85 million, one-year contract that avoids salary arbitration.

Gardner can earn $150,000 in performance bonuses under Friday's deal: $25,000 each for 375, 400, 425, 450, 475 and 500 plate appearances.

Gardner was limited to 31 at-bats last season because of a right elbow injury that sidelined him from mid-April until late September. He made $2.8 million.

Diamondbacks agree with Brandon McCarthy: source

Right-hander Brandon McCarthy reached agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a $15.5 million, two-year contract, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said Friday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because McCarthy's deal was pending a physical.

The physical will be especially important for McCarthy, who was Oakland's opening day starter last season.

McCarthy was hit in the right side of the head by a line drive off the bat of the Los Angeles Angels' Erick Aybar on Sept. 5. The 29-year-old pitcher sustained an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture, then underwent a two-hour surgery.

Last month, McCarthy spent two days undergoing extensive evaluations by renowned concussion expert, Dr. Michael Collins, at the University of Pittsburgh. He was cleared by Collins to begin working out and resuming his regular off-season routine.

Oakland's medical staff initially warned that McCarthy's situation was very much "life-threatening."

Now, McCarthy checks in with Dr. Collins once a week to let him know that everything is going well, or if something seems a little off. McCarthy said in November that his concussion symptoms had subsided, but he still has to use caution and take notice of everything when exerting himself.

McCarthy went 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA this year in his sixth big league season and second with the A's. He was 9-9 with a 3.32 ERA in 2011.

McCarthy, who didn't immediately respond to messages Friday, said he planned to begin playing catch this month, then throw bullpens starting in January if all continues to go well.

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