Ravens

Travis Hafner agrees to $2M deal with Yankees

Travis Hafner agrees to $2M deal with Yankees

NEW YORK (AP) Travis Hafner and the New York Yankees have agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract that allows him to earn up to $4 million more in bonuses based on plate appearances.

Limited by injuries the past five seasons, the 35-year-old gives the Yankees a designated hitter with power potential from the left side of the plate. He essentially takes over the role filled last season by Raul Ibanez, who signed a $2.75 million, one-year deal with Seattle in December.

Hafner played in only 66 games for Cleveland last year because of knee and back problems and hit .228 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs in 263 at-bats. The Indians declined a $13 million option, electing to pay him a $2.75 million buyout.

The signing brings the Yankees' projected payroll to about $208 million for 18 players.

Hafner has not played the field since 2007 because of a spate of injuries and has appeared in the field in just 72 games over 11 big league seasons. He's played in more than 100 games only once since 2008.

Selected by Texas in the 31st round of the 1996 amateur draft, Hafner made his major league debut six years later. He spent 10 years with Cleveland and is a .278 career hitter with 201 homers and 694 RBIs. He has a .287 average with 152 home runs against right-handed pitching.

He would earn $100,000 apiece for 150 plate appearances, 155 and each additional 15 through 275 under Friday's deal. He would receive $125,000 apiece for 290 and each additional 15 through 425; and $175,000 apiece for 440 and each additional 15 through 575.

To clear a roster spot, the Yankees designated outfielder Russ Canzler for assignment.

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Demone Harris keeps his promise, surprises the woman who found engagement ring

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Demone Harris keeps his promise, surprises the woman who found engagement ring

Here's some good news for the world.

Demone Harris had a whirlwind of week that he will never forget: He was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week after returning from their game in London, then flew out to Baltimore to work out with the Ravens where he quickly learned that he was missing the engagement ring he planned to purpose to his girlfriend with that same weekend.

Shortly after learning the devastating news, the Ravens called Harris to tell him he not only made the practice squad, but they also found the ring at the hotel Harris was staying at in Baltimore.

Harris received the ring shipped to him overnight and proposed to his girlfriend as planned. (She, of course, said "yes".)

But the happy ending didn't just stop there.Harris took to Twitter in which he was determined to find the person who found the ring and "do something nice" for them. Well, something nice is exactly what he did.



Harris found the woman, Yvonne, who saved the big day and rewarded her with two Visa gift cards of $500 each. It was a gesture, he said to show her how much he and his now fiancĂ© appreciate her kindness and honesty.

"I hope this story gave you guys hope that there are still genuine and good people in the world," he wrote on Twitter.

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Can Nationals’ key six make it through three more wins?

Can Nationals’ key six make it through three more wins?

HOUSTON -- Going 1-0 is taxing.

Ask the Nationals pitchers. Just make sure to talk with the select few being used. 

Washington is trying to finish a World Series win behind six pitchers. Maybe six-and-a-half, at most seven, if Tanner Rainey and Fernando Rodney are included. No matchup guys. No bullpen depth. Just a formula of tying the yoke to one of four starters that day, then Daniel Hudson and Sean Doolittle when necessary.

The question is if those six people can make it through three more wins.

A few things have made this approach viable. One is the starting rotation being populated with guys accustomed to a lot of innings. Washington finished with two of the top five in innings pitched this year (Stephen Strasburg at No. 2 and Patrick Corbin at No. 5), in addition to Max Scherzer, who routinely leads the league in innings pitched. Another is a willingness to accept varied roles and workload in the bullpen. The idea of a “closer” has been tossed outside. A person to obtain key outs is inserted into the game at the most crucial -- and beneficial -- time. 

“I think it’s Huddy,” Sean Doolittle said when asked why the bullpen has worked this way. “I think when you have an anchor like that at the back of the bullpen, it kind of lets guys slide into certain spots in front of him. And when he can go multiple innings and come in early in the game with runners on base -- that’s tough. Not a lot of guys who pitch in that closer’s role are comfortable doing that. But he has experience pitching in so many different roles, he brings that versatility to our group.”

Corbin has helped. He came out of the bullpen again Tuesday to wipe three more outs away and help the Nationals earn a 1-0 series lead. He appears likely to start Game 4 in Nationals Park after pitching his “bullpen session” in Game 1 of the World Series. Among the questions for Corbin, and Davey Martinez, is if Corbin is available for one out Wednesday night in Game 2. Picture left-handed Michael Brantley up with two runners on base and two out in the seventh inning. Brantley’s career OPS against left-handed pitchers is 125 points lower than it is against right-handed pitchers. Martinez said he would speak to Corbin late Monday to see what’s next.

Doolittle was already prognosticating after Game 1. Tomorrow may always be just a day away, but it might as well not exist in this current formula.

“Regardless of the score, the situation, I think we all expected to be in there in some capacity,” Doolittle said. “And I think guys are willing to go multiple innings -- we’ll figure tomorrow out tomorrow. Stras is going to give us a good start and we feel good about having him out there, and he’s going to go as long as he can. We’ll piece it together after that. I think that’s how we’ve thought about it here for a while.”

And, is there enough juice for the six pitchers to handle the current day, eventually turning “tomorrow” into a parade?

“Oh my gosh,” Doolittle said. “Are you kidding me? YES. Yes. We just had a few days off. Us old guys got to put our feet up and rest a little bit. Then we had a couple really good workouts before we came down here. But, at this point in the season, you’re feeding off adrenaline so much. We’re all a little bit tired, sure. Not a lot of guys have been here before. This is the latest they’ve ever played. But when you’re out there, there’s so much adrenaline, there’s so much energy you’re just feeding off that so much. I think we are absolutely in a good spot physically and mentally for the rest of the series.”

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