Former Cy Young winner to rejoin Dodgers
Former NL Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne has agreed to a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and would receive a $500,000, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster.
Gagne won the 2003 NL Cy Young with the Dodgers, when he converted all 55 save chances, and saved 152 games over three seasons through 2004. The right-hander converted a record 84 consecutive save chances during that time, but had operations on his pitching elbow in 2005 and 2006, and back surgery in 2006.
Now 34, he hasn't pitched in the majors since 2008, when he was 4-3 with a 5.44 ERA and 10 saves in 17 chances for Milwaukee. The Brewers released him from a minor league contract last March after doctors found he had a frayed rotator cuff. He signed with the Quebec Capitales of the independent Can-Am League and went 6-6 with a 4.65 ERA in 17 starts.
TIGERS MAKE OFFER
Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski says he has made a contract offer to free agent Johnny Damon.
Dombrowski confirmed the offer in a telephone interview with The Associated Press after telling reporters in Lakeland, Fla., that the Tigers were interested in signing the outfielder.
The 36-year-old Damon hit .286 with 24 homers for the New York Yankees last season. He likely would bat leadoff for the Tigers, filling the void left when Detroit dealt Curtis Granderson to the Yankees.
Damon also would give Detroit a left-handed bat it needs and a veteran in the outfield, where his savvy is an asset and his arm a liability.
The Atlanta Braves also appear interested in adding Damon.
Damon helped the Yankees win the World Series for the first time since 2000, hitting .282 with 23 homers and 82 RBIs, but he was coming off a $52 million, four-year contract.
The Chicago White Sox withdrew their offer to Damon, general manager Ken Williams said yesterday, a decision first reported by www.ESPNChicago.com.
BRANYAN WILL SIGN
A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that first baseman Russell Branyan has reached a preliminary agreement to rejoin Cleveland.
The deal is subject to a physical, the person said yesterday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the contract isn't final.
Originally selected by the Indians in the seventh round of the 1994 amateur draft, Branyan played for Cleveland from 1998 until he was traded to Cincinnati in June 2002 for Ben Broussard.
Now 34, he set career highs of 31 homers and 76 RBIs for Seattle last year.
Cubs: Chicago Cubs lefty Ted Lilly has no major damage in his sore right knee.
Lilly says the knee had been bothering him for a couple of days, so he went to a doctor Thursday to have it checked out. To his relief and that of the Cubs, an MRI showed just some wear and tear.
Lilly says he feels no pain in the left shoulder he had cleaned up with arthroscopic surgery in November. He says he still hopes to catch up to the rest of the pitchers in camp.
Braves: Jair Jurrjens says he'll be behind other Atlanta pitchers at the start of spring training as he works out stiffness in his right shoulder.
He says he expects to be ready for the start of the season.
An MRI on the shoulder this week revealed inflammation but no structural problems. Jurrjens says he's happy with the results but says the shoulder is "really tight."
Jurrjens was 14-10 with a 2.60 ERA last season.
Mets: New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel is thinking about dropping speedy shortstop Jose Reyes from the leadoff spot.
Manuel spent almost half of his 40-minute news conference yesterday at Port St. Lucie, Fla., discussing what to do with Reyes, who didn't play after May 20 last season and wound up having surgery on his right leg.
Manuel pondered moving Reyes to the No. 3 spot in the order last spring training. If that happens, Manuel said outfielder Angel Pagan and second baseman Luis Castillo could lead off.