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Rasmus, Hunter, Kottaras agree to deals

Rasmus, Hunter, Kottaras agree to deals

NEW YORK (AP) Toronto outfielder Colby Rasmus, Baltimore pitcher Tommy Hunter and Oakland catcher George Kottaras agreed to one-year contracts, leaving 133 players eligible to file for salary arbitration Tuesday.

Rasmus gets $4,675,000 under Monday's agreement, Hunter $1.82 million and Kottaras $1 million.

San Francisco catcher Buster Posey, Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward, Boston outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Chicago Cubs pitcher Matt Garza and Giants outfielder Hunter Pence are among those eligible to file.

Players and teams are scheduled to swap proposed salaries Friday, and hearings before three-arbitrator panels will take place next month in Phoenix.

Most cases will settle before they go to hearings, and some players eligible for arbitration already have agreed to contracts. Tampa Bay pitcher David Price, the AL Cy Young Award winner, reached a one-year agreement for $10,112,500.

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Asher Wojciechowski returns to mound after blister issue on right middle finger

Asher Wojciechowski returns to mound after blister issue on right middle finger

SARASOTA, Fla. — Asher Wojciechowski knew he threw one bad pitch. And Travis d’Arnaud sent it to the left field stands. 

But aside from the mistake in the second inning, Wojciechowski felt good after his first appearance of the spring, a start against the Braves on Wednesday at Ed Smith Stadium. 

Wojciechowski had to delay his first appearance for a few days after a blister issue on his right middle finger. 

“First time out there, you always kind of have that little self-doubt when it’s been through the offseason,” Wojciechowski said. “It’s nice to go out there and execute pitches and get back into the rhythm.”

He ended the day after two innings pitched with one earned run allowed — the home run — as well as two hits. He struck out two batters on 33 pitches, 24 of which were strikes.

Most importantly, though, the blister issue didn’t hamper the right-hander on any of his pitches.

“I made one mistake to D’Arnaud, first pitch of the second inning,” Wojciechowski said. “Kind of knew he was going to swing and just didn’t execute that pitch. For the most part, just happy with how I felt. Looking to build on each outing and get ready for the season.”

Last season, Wojciechowski threw in 17 games, and 16 starts for the Orioles. He posted a 4.92 ERA in 82 ⅓ innings pitched. He struck out 80 batters and posted a WHIP of 1.31. 

Now, he’s got his sights set on cementing his role in a starting rotation, one that has his name penciled in as one of the first starters.

“I would say my mentality is, yes, win a rotation job no matter what,” he said. I don’t want to change my mindset on how I compete, or how I prepare. I want to go out there and give it everything I have every single day. When it comes to the mindset and preparation, I’m not changing anything I’m doing. That being said, it is kind of nice knowing I have somewhat of a role. But I’m not letting that change the way I prepare.”

One of the things he’s hoping will help gain a more permanent fixture in the rotation is a split-changeup, a pitch he added over the offseason. He threw two against the Braves, to varying degrees of success.

“I was happy with one of them, it was just a little bit off,” Wojciechowski said. “I threw one to (Ozzie) Albies and I thought it was good, it was just a little bit off. Then I threw another one to (Johan) Camargo and it was just alright. Definitely trying to utilize that pitch more, just going to have to throw it in these games and see how it works against hitters.”

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Yankees’ Luis Severino to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss entire 2020 season

Yankees’ Luis Severino to undergo Tommy John surgery, miss entire 2020 season

The Yankees were dealt one of their biggest blows of the offseason Tuesday when general manager Brian Cashman announced that starter Luis Severino has a partially torn UCL that will require Tommy John surgery, ending his 2020 season before it even started.

Severino, 26, figured to be the Yankees’ No. 2 starter in a rotation that looked like one of the best in baseball just last month. The loss of Severino now raises questions for a New York group that will be without James Paxton (back surgery) and Domingo German (domestic violence suspension) for the first two months.

The Dominican right-hander was hoping to return to full strength this spring after making just three starts last season with shoulder and back injuries. He posted back-to-back top-10 AL Cy Young finishes in 2017 and 2018 with a 3.18 ERA and 450 strikeouts over that span.

New York will instead look to newly acquired ace Gerrit Cole to provide stability at the top of its rotation. Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ are the only definitive candidates to fill out the staff behind him, with Jordan Montgomery, Jonathan Loaisiga, Deivi Garcia, Michael King and Luis Cessa among the candidates to compete for the remaining two spots.

The Orioles will face the Yankees to open the season March 26-29. While there’s little doubt Cole would’ve started Opening Day even if Severino was healthy, Baltimore would’ve still likely seen Severino in that series.

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