Pavano remains with Twins, eyes title
Right-hander accepts arbitration, will stay with Minnesota
Carl Pavano, who found a good fit with the Twins following a midseason trade, was one of three potential free agents who were offered and accepted salary arbitration rather than test the market this offseason.
"Carl loves the coaching staff [in Minnesota], and he thinks it's a tremendous group of guys," O'Connell told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "He feels like this is the best way for him to win a world championship."
Twins general manager Bill Smith says Pavano was a solid addition to the team.
"Carl was a huge contributor to our division championship this year in two months," said Smith. "We had a lot of good reports on him. He's great in the clubhouse, he's a competitor. ... We know that he's a hard worker, and he's going to do everything he can to carry over the success he had this year with us into 2010."
Westbrook takes another step forward in Puerto Rico: Jake Westbrook, who underwent Tommy John surgery following the 2008 campaign and missed this past season, had a solid second outing in the Puerto Rico Winter League.
The 32-year-old, a former All-Star who has been with Cleveland since he was 23, allowed one run and four hits in a three-inning appearance.
"He was really good," Cleveland general manager Mark Shapiro told MLB.com. "Good sinker, all his pitches were there. He felt really good, which is obviously great to hear. He said it's the best he's felt in a game situation since the surgery [in May 2008]. Definitely more positive progress."
Thomas added to Tigers' bullpen: After spending the past few seasons playing in Korea, Brad Thomas has agreed to terms with the Tigers.
"We're counting on [Thomas] to be part of our bullpen," general manager Dave Dombrowski told MLB.com. "He has quality stuff."
Penny has a huge fan in La Russa: Manager Tony La Russa has long coveted Brad Penny, who has agreed to a one-year deal with the Cardinals.
"Since the first day I saw him pitch for the Marlins, he was a guy that came on the radar for [pitching coach] Dave Duncan and myself, from Day 1," La Russa told MLB.com. "When I saw that he might be moved by the Marlins we were interested, and since then he's gone a couple places. We were always trying to make what happened today happen. We just like all he brings to a team as far as getting guys out."
Valverde searching for a team: Jose Valverde turned down the Astros' offer of salary arbitration Monday night.
"We didn't get arbitration," Valverde told the Houston Chronicle. "We gave a chance to Houston and let them make an offer, and they didn't offer anything. So I'll remain a free agent."
DiFelice to miss all of 2010 season after surgery: Mark DiFelice underwent surgery to repair partial tears in both the rotator cuff and labrum and won't be able to pitch in 2010.
"It took me so long to get to the big leagues, I'm not going to give up now," DiFelice, 33, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I want to continue my career. There was a question of it being career-ending, but Dr. [William] Raasch said he believes I can continue my career.
"The rotator cuff had a partial tear. If it had been completely torn, that would probably be it. He said the labrum was pretty beat up, probably by wear and tear."
DiFelice pitched in the Minors for 11 years before making his Major League debut with Milwaukee in 2008.
Bartlett likely to hit leadoff for Rays: Rays manager Joe Maddon is leaning toward using Jason Bartlett as a leadoff hitter rather than speedier options like Carl Crawford or B.J. Upton.
"I would say J.B. [would be the leadoff hitter]. As of right now -- I thought a little bit about that -- Jason Bartlett did a tremendous job," Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "You guys that were with us last year saw it. I mean, he really blossomed into a really good hitter, period, but as a leadoff guy, he seems more apt or willing to want to work the at-bat, the count.
"The number of pitches that he saw last year was very, very good. You remember we've talked a lot about fly balls with him, getting him out of the air, more on a line. He did that. He did that to a larger degree, used the middle of the field better, opposite field better. I think that he readjusts how he thinks as a hitter when he's up at that spot, and it's very productive. He's a great baserunner. He might be our best baserunner, and he can steal a bag."
Betancourt back for another year with Rockies: Reliever Rafael Betancourt, who had a 1.78 ERA in 25 1/3 innings after joining the Rockies on July 23, accepted salary arbitration with the club.
"When you get to those last nine outs, you need reliability. And Rafael helps give us that," manager Jim Tracy told the Denver Post.
New addition Bruney could be closer for Nationals: Brian Bruney will have a prominent role in the Nationals bullpen, according to general manager Mike Rizzo, who originally drafted Bruney with the Diamondbacks in 2000.
"He's a big-stuff guy," Rizzo told the Washington Post. "He's had great success at the highest level of competition. He's pitched in the playoffs, under pressure. We feel he's going to be one of the back-end-of-the-bullpen guys, and we feel he really makes us a better club because he strengthens one of our weak points in the bullpen."
Figgins could switch to second base in Seattle: Chone Figgins, who has agreed to a four-year deal with the Mariners, could play second base if the Mariners are able to re-sign Adrian Beltre.
General manager Jack Zduriencik indicated the club was still pursuing Beltre, who earlier this week declined the team's offer of arbitration.
"Me and Jack [Zduriencik] kind of talked, so it would probably be second," Figgins told the Seattle Times of his expected position on the club. "I've moved around pretty much my whole career except last year, but even then I played a couple of games at second base. So, I think those guys know that I'm pretty much prepared for anything."
Hawksworth gets hitched, deems it a memorable moment: Blake Hawksworth, who was married in November, is writing a blog for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. In his first entry, the Cardinals pitcher says life has never been better than the day he was married.
"Nov. 14 was, to this day, the best day of my life. I got married to my beautiful wife Courtney out in Riverside, Calif., at The Mission Inn Hotel," he wrote. "It was so much fun to celebrate with friends and family and to see some current and former teammates out on the dance floor cuttin' loose. Sorry, I can't reveal any names."
Carroll honored by Cleveland writers: Free agent Jamey Carroll, who spent last season with the Indians, has been selected as the winner of the Frank Gibbons/Steve Olin Good Guy award by the Cleveland baseball writers. The award goes to the member of the Indians organization that helps the reporters covering the team do their job.
"I'm honored to win the award," Carroll told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. "I feel it's important to respect all aspects of my job and the writers fall into that category."
Pudge agrees two-year deal with Nats: Ivan Rodriguez has reportedly agreed to terms on a two-year deal with the Nationals, who envision the future Hall of Famer as a backup and mentor to Jesus Flores and someone who can step in if Flores has lingering issues from his shoulder surgery.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.