Major League Baseball
MLB News Wire
  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Diamondbacks hire ex-Blue Jay Carter
    By The Sports Xchange

    Joe Carter is reuniting with former teammate Dave Stewart as a special assistant to the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    • Stewart, the Diamondbacks' GM, announced the addition of Carter to his staff on Wednesday.

      The 54-year-old Carter has never held a front-office position. His duties with the Diamondbacks were not disclosed.

      Stewart and Carter were teammates with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993-94 and were part of the 1993 World Series title team.

      Carter played for six different teams during his major league career from 1983 to 1998.

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Braves sign Cuban OF Toscano
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Atlanta Braves and Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano have agreed to a four-year contract, the team announced Wednesday.

    • The $6 million deal includes a $1.2 million signing bonus, and Atlanta has a $1.7 million option for 2019, with a $200,000 buyout.

      To make room on the 40-man roster, the Braves designated outfielder Jose Constanza for assignment.

      Toscano, 25, is the latest addition in the Braves' overhaul of their outfield. They traded Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis and signed Nick Markakis, Zoilo Almonte, Eury Perez and Jonny Gomes.

      Toscano, a left-handed hitter, hit .356 in 2012-13 for Villa Clara in Cuba's top league.

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Freese, Angels agree on one-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Angels avoided arbitration with third baseman David Freese, reaching agreement on a one-year, $6.425 million contract Wednesday.

    • The two sides split the difference between Freese's request of $7.6 million and the team's offer of $5.25 million.

      In his first season with the Angels in 2014 after being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals, Freese batted .260 with 10 homers and 55 RBIs in 134 games.

      Freese's deal leaves the Angels with outfielder Matt Joyce and right-hander Garrett Richards as their remaining arbitration-eligible players.

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Four minor leaguers suspended
    By The Sports Xchange

    Four minor league players were suspended for violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the Office of the Commissioner announced Wednesday.

    • Free-agent right-handed pitcher Raymond Hanson received an 80-game suspension without pay after testing positive for Furosemide, a performance-enhancing substance, and New York Yankees minor-league shortstop Tyler Palmer was suspended 50 games without pay after testing positive for Amphetamine, a stimulant.

      Also, Arizona Diamondbacks minor-league right-handed pitcher Felipe Perez was given a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the program, and Pittsburgh Pirates minor-league first baseman Kevin Ross was hit with a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

      Palmer is on the roster of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Yankees, Perez is with Class A Hillsboro in the Northwest League and Ross is a member of Class A West Virginia in the South Atlantic League.

      The suspensions will be served at the start of the minor league season.

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    MLB notebook: Chicago fans remember Banks
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chicago Cubs fans paid their respects to Ernie Banks after the statue of the legend was placed in a downtown Chicago plaza on Wednesday.

    • Fans gathered in Daley Plaza to take photos of the statue that normally stands at Wrigley Field. The statue will remain at the plaza through Saturday.

      The Hall of Famer known as "Mr. Cub" died Friday night at the age of 83. The family of Banks announced Sunday that he died after suffering a heart attack.

      The Cubs brought back the bronze statue of Banks, which had been removed from Wrigley Field when renovation work began on the ballpark in October. The statue had been in storage in Michigan.

      Mayor Rahm Emanuel, accompanied by Banks' widow, Liz Banks, placed a wreath at the statue on Wednesday. The mayor said that while Banks has long been known as Mr. Cub, he "always will be and always has been Mr. Chicago."

      A public visitation and a memorial service for Banks will be held Friday and Saturday in Chicago.

      ---The Chicago White Sox brought back infielder Gordon Beckham and decided to cut ties with outfielder Dayan Viciedo despite signing him to a one-year deal worth $4.4 million two weeks ago.

      Beckham signed a one-year, $2 million contract to return to the team that traded him to the Los Angeles Angels in August. To make room on the 40-player roster, the White Sox designated Viciedo for assignment -- a possible precursor to a trade.

      Beckham, 28, played his first five-plus seasons with the White Sox and figures to compete for time at second base or be used as a utility infielder.

      ---The Washington Nationals added a veteran arm to their pitching staff, reaching agreement on a one-year, $3.5 million contract with former Toronto Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen.

      The deal includes a mutual option for $7 million in 2016 with a buyout of $1.5 million, according to reports.

      The 33-year-old Janssen posted 81 saves and a 2.94 ERA for the Blue Jays during the past three years, including 34 saves in 2013 and 25 in 2014. He struggled in the second half of last season after becoming ill during the All-Star break and finished with a 3.94 ERA in 45 2/3 innings.

      ---The Miami Marlins officially signed outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to a one-year contract Tuesday night.

      The deal is for $2 million and Suzuki is expected to be the team's fourth outfielder behind right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, center fielder Marcell Ozuna and left fielder Christian Yelich.

      Suzuki enters next season 156 hits shy of 3,000 career hits in the majors and has 4,122 combined hits in Japan and in the majors.

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Nationals agree to deal with RHP Janssen
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Washington Nationals added a veteran arm to their pitching staff on Wednesday, reaching agreement on a one-year, $3.5 million contract with former Toronto Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen.

    • The deal includes a mutual option for $7 million in 2016 with a buyout of $1.5 million, according to reports.

      The 33-year-old Janssen posted 81 saves and a 2.94 ERA for the Blue Jays during the past three years, including 34 saves in 2013 and 25 in 2014. He struggled in the second half of last season after becoming ill during the All-Star break and finished with a 3.94 ERA in 45 2/3 innings.

      With the Nationals, the right-hander is likely to provide late-inning relief help in front of closer Drew Storen. The Washington bullpen lost Ross Detwiler, Rafael Soriano and Tyler Clippard to other teams during the winter.

      Janssen had spent his entire career with the Blue Jays. The former starting pitcher has a 29-24 career record with 90 saves and a 3.55 ERA since 2006.

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Beckham back with White Sox; Viciedo out
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Chicago White Sox brought back infielder Gordon Beckham on Wednesday and decided to cut ties with outfielder Dayan Viciedo despite signing him to a one-year deal worth $4.4 million two weeks ago.

    • Beckham signed a one-year, $2 million contract to return to the team that traded him to the Los Angeles Angels in August. To make room on the 40-player roster, the White Sox designated Viciedo for assignment -- a possible precursor to a trade.

      Beckham, 28, played his first five-plus seasons with the White Sox and figures to compete for time at second base or be used as a utility infielder.

      "Adding Gordon improves the depth and flexibility of our roster," general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. "We are thrilled to have him back. Like Emilio Bonifacio, Gordon brings the ability to play solid defense at multiple positions or play on an everyday basis should the need arise. This also gives (manager) Robin (Ventura) the ability to play matchups more effectively when setting the lineup."

      Since a solid rookie season in 2009, Beckham has become known more for his defense. He hit just .226 with nine home runs and 44 RBIs last season with the White Sox and Angels and has a .245 career average, with 63 home runs and 264 RBIs.

      Viciedo, 25, hit .231 with 21 home runs and 58 RBIs last season, and the White Sox avoided arbitration with the $4.4 million contract earlier this month. The White Sox reportedly have been trying to trade him.

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Cubs fans gather at statue to remember Banks
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chicago Cubs fans paid their respects to Ernie Banks after the statue of the legend was placed in a downtown plaza on Wednesday.

    • Fans gathered in Daley Plaza to take photos of the statue that normally stands at Wrigley Field. The statue will remain at the plaza through Saturday.

      The Hall of Famer known as "Mr. Cub" died Friday night at the age of 83. The family of Banks announced Sunday that he died after suffering a heart attack.

      The Cubs brought back the bronze statue of Banks, which had been removed from Wrigley Field when renovation work began on the ballpark in October. The statue had been in storage in Michigan.

      Mayor Rahm Emanuel, accompanied by Banks' widow, Liz Banks, placed a wreath at the statue on Wednesday. The mayor said that while Banks has long been known as Mr. Cub, he "always will be and always has been Mr. Chicago."

      A public visitation and a memorial service for Banks will be held Friday and Saturday in Chicago.

      The public visitation will be from noon to 8 p.m. Friday at Fourth Presbyterian Church on East Chestnut Street. The memorial service will be at the same church, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.

      Banks was known as Mr. Cub for his identification with only the major league club he played for during his 19-year major league career. He won the National League MVP Award in consecutive years, 1958 and 1959.

      But it was his cheerful personality and his love of the game that made him such a popular player. Banks' catch phrase, "Let's Play Two," reflected his desire to play a doubleheader instead of just one game.

      Banks played shortstop most of his career before moving over to first base in his later years in the league. He hit .274 with 512 homers, 1,636 RBIs and 2,583 hits during his career. Despite his brilliance, Banks never played in the postseason.

  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Marlins officially sign Suzuki to one-year contract
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Miami Marlins officially signed free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki to a one-year contract, the team announced Tuesday night.

    • The deal is for two million and Suzuki is expected to be the team's fourth outfielder behind right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, center fielder Marcell Ozuna and left fielder Christian Yelich. He will be introduced at a news conference in Tokyo at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

      "We are thrilled to have Ichiro Suzuki in a Marlins uniform," said Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria in a statement released by the team. "He is the ultimate professional on and off the field, and will make an excellent addition to our ball club."

      Suzuki enters this season 156 hits shy of 3,000 career hits in the majors and has 4,122 combined hits in Japan and in the majors.

      The first Japanese-born position player to appear in the majors, Suzuki followed a successful nine-year career with the Orix Blue Wave that saw him record 1,278 hits by having even more success with the Seattle Mariners.

      Suzuki was the 2001 American League MVP and Rookie of the Year. He also made 10 appearance in the All-Star game, won the Gold Glove Award 10 times and the Silver Slugger Award three times.

      Suzuki had 10 straight seasons with 200 hits through 2010 and, in 2004, he broke George Sisler's 1920 record for hits in a single season with 262. He also matched Ty Cobb and Pete Rose by leading or tying for the major league lead in hits seven times and was the only player in history to do it five straight seasons (2006-2010).

      In 2 1/2 seasons with the Yankees, Suzuki batted .281 in 360 regular-season games. On Aug. 21, 2013, he recorded his 4,000th combined professional hit with a first-inning single off Toronto Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey at Yankee Stadium.

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    Report: Orioles acquire Snider
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Baltimore Orioles acquired outfielder Travis Snider in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.

    • In return for Snider the Pirates will get 21-year-old pitching prospect Stephen Tarpley and a player to be named later.

      The Orioles need outfield help, because Nelson Cruz left for the Seattle Mariners and Nick Markakis departed to sign with the Atlanta Braves.

      Snider, 26, hit .264 with 13 homers in 140 games last season for Pittsburgh. The Pirates were willing to let him go because prospect Gregory Polanco should be ready to take over in right field.

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    MLB notebook: Royals reach agreement with Dyson
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Kansas City Royals avoided arbitration with outfielder Jarrod Dyson, reaching agreement Tuesday on a one-year, $1,225,000 contract.

    • Additional incentives include $25,000 for 350 plate appearances and $50,000 for making the All-Star game.

      The 30-year-old Dyson, projected as the Royals' fourth outfielder in 2015, is getting a healthy pay boost from $530,000 last season. He requested $1.6 million in arbitration for this season and the Royals offered $900,000.

      In 290 plate appearances last year for the American League champions, Dyson batted .269 with one home run, 24 RBIs and 36 stolen bases.

      --The Cleveland Indians announced that their No. 1 minor-league prospect, shortstop Francisco Lindor, has been invited to Major League camp.

      He will be joined by catcher Jake Lowery, outfielders Tyler Naquin, Jordan Smith and James Ramsey.

      --Five minor league players were suspended for violations of the substance abuse policy, including former New York Mets pitcher Robert Carson.

      Two members of the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization, outfielder Theo Alexander and Carson, both were suspended for 50 games after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

      Free-agent pitchers Kramer Champlin and Kyle Simon received 50-game suspensions after a second positive test for a drug of abuse and free-agent pitcher Chad James was dealt a 50-game suspension for a positive amphetamines test.

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    Former Mets pitcher among five players suspended
    By The Sports Xchange

    Five minor league players were suspended Tuesday for violations of the substance abuse policy, including former New York Mets pitcher Robert Carson.

    • Two members of the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization, outfielder Theo Alexander and Carson, both were suspended for 50 games after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.

      Free-agent pitchers Kramer Champlin and Kyle Simon received 50-game suspensions after a second positive test for a drug of abuse and free-agent pitcher Chad James was dealt a 50-game suspension for a positive amphetamines test.

      Carson, a 26-year-old left-hander, was with the Mets for a portion of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, posting a 6.82 ERA in 31 appearances. Last year, Carson was in the minor leagues with the Angels and Dodgers, logging a 3-8 record with a 5.78 ERA.

      Carson is on the Triple-A Oklahoma City roster this year and had received a non-roster invitation to the Dodgers' big-league camp in spring training.

      Alexander, a 20-year-old outfielder, was a seventh-round draft pick in 2012 who has batted .233 in the rookie leagues the past three years.

      The suspensions will be served at the start of the regular season.

      Eighteen minor leaguers have been suspended this year under the drug program.

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    Royals, Dyson settle on one-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Kansas City Royals avoided arbitration with outfielder Jarrod Dyson, reaching agreement Tuesday on a one-year, $1,225,000 contract.

    • Additional incentives include $25,000 for 350 plate appearances and $50,000 for making the All-Star game.

      The 30-year-old Dyson, projected as the Royals' fourth outfielder in 2015, is getting a healthy pay boost from $530,000 last season. He requested $1.6 million in arbitration for this season and the Royals offered $900,000.

      In 290 plate appearances last year for the American League champions, Dyson batted .269 with one home run, 24 RBIs and 36 stolen bases.

      Other Royals players remaining in arbitration are outfielder Lorenzo Cain, first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and pitchers Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera and Danny Duffy.

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    Top prospect Lindor to open camp with Indians
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cleveland Indians announced Tuesday that their No. 1 minor-league prospect has been invited to Major League camp.

    • Shortstop Francisco Lindor will be joined by catcher Jake Lowery, outfielders Tyler Naquin, Jordan Smith and James Ramsey.

      Lindor, 21, split the 2014 campaign between AA Akron and AAA Columbus, where he hit a combined .276 with 16 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs, 62 RBIs and 75 runs scored in 126 games. He also stole 28 stolen bases.

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    Mariners give Chavez, Gutierrez minor league deals
    By The Sports Xchange

    Adding outfield depth, the Seattle Mariners signed veterans Endy Chavez and Franklin Gutierrez to minor league contracts Monday. Both players were invited to the team's major league spring camp.

    • Chavez, 36, opened last season in the minors but returned to the majors with Seattle in late May.

      Gutierrez, 31, missed the entire 2014 season due to health problems that included a digestive issue.

      In 80 games with the Mariners last season, Chavez hit .276 with a .317 on-base percentage, a .371 slugging percentage, two homers and 23 RBIs. Over 13 major league seasons with seven teams, Chavez has a career .270/.308/.364 batting line with 30 homers, 266 RBIs and 106 stolen bases in 1,151 games.

      Gutierrez appeared in just 41 games for Seattle in 2013 due to injuries and illness. Over a major league career that includes four seasons with the Cleveland Indians and five with the Mariners, Gutierrez owns a .256/.306/.391 hitting line with 67 homers, 279 RBIs and 79 stolen bases in 762 games.

  • Monday, January 26, 2015
    Orioles' Norris, Flaherty avoid arbitration
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Baltimore Orioles settled two of their six pending arbitration cases, agreeing to one-year deals with right-hander Bud Norris and infielder Ryan Flaherty on Monday.

    • According to multiple media reports, Norris will receive $8.8 million in 2015, and Flaherty will make $1,075,000.

      When salary requests were exchanged earlier this month, Norris sought $10.25 million, and the Orioles offered $7.5 million. Flaherty requested $1.5 million, and the team countered with a $900,000 bid.

      Norris, 29, finished 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA in 28 regular-season starts last year while making $5.3 million. He went 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two postseason starts.

      Flaherty, 28, hit .221/.288/.356 with seven homers and 32 RBIs in 102 regular-season games in 2014, when he earned $512,500. He hit .286/.400/.429 with a homer and four RBIs in seven playoff games.

      The Orioles still face possible arbitration hearings with left-hander Zach Britton, left fielder Alejandro De Aza, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez and first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce.

  • Monday, January 26, 2015
    MLB notebook: Yankees may fight A-Rod over bonuses
    By The Sports Xchange

    The New York Yankees are working on legal arguments to void milestone home run bonuses for Alex Rodriguez, according to reports Monday.

    • The New York Daily News reported that the Yankees would go after the bonuses -- worth up to $30 million -- as the two sides continue a frayed relationship.

      Rodriguez, who has 654 home runs, needs to hit just six more to tie Willie Mays' 660 and become eligible for a $6 million bonus as part of the 10-year, $275 million contract he signed with the Yankees in 2007.

      Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, also would pocket $6 million apiece if he tied Babe Ruth (714 homers), Hank Aaron (755), Barry Bonds (762) and topped Bonds' record.

      The Yankees plan to contest the validity of the deal because of Rodriguez's steroid revelations and yearlong suspension, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.

      ---The Cincinnati Reds and catcher Devin Mesoraco reportedly agreed to a four-year, $28 million contract.

      The deal, reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, means the Reds and Mesoraco will avoid arbitration over the next three years and the catcher will be a free agent in 2019.

      Mesoraco had filed for $3.6 million in arbitration, and the team had offered $2.45 million.

      Mesoraco, 26, was an All-Star in 2014, hitting .273 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs.

      --- A public visitation and a memorial service for Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks will be held Friday and Saturday in Chicago, the Cubs announced Monday.

      The public visitation will be from noon to 8 p.m. Friday at Fourth Presbyterian Church on East Chestnut Street.

      The memorial service will be at the same church, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. Limited public seating is available, the team said.

      Banks, a Hall of Famer known as "Mr. Cub," died after suffering a heart attack Friday night, his family said. He was 83.

  • Monday, January 26, 2015
    Services for Ernie Banks to be held this weekend
    By The Sports Xchange

    A public visitation and a memorial service for Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks will be held Friday and Saturday in Chicago, the Cubs announced Monday.

    • The public visitation will be from noon to 8 p.m. Friday at Fourth Presbyterian Church on East Chestnut Street.

      The memorial service will be at the same church, beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday. Limited public seating is available, the team said.

      Banks, a Hall of Famer known as "Mr. Cub," died after suffering a heart attack Friday night, his family said. He was 83.

      Banks played all 19 seasons of his major league career in Chicago. He won the National League MVP Award in 1958 and 1959.

  • Monday, January 26, 2015
    Reds, Mesoraco reach $28M deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cincinnati Reds and catcher Devin Mesoraco reportedly agreed to a four-year, $28 million contract Monday.

    • The deal, reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, means the Reds and Mesoraco will avoid arbitration over the next three years and the catcher will be a free agent in 2019.

      Mesoraco had filed for $3.6 million in arbitration, and the team had offered $2.45 million.

      Mesoraco, 26, was an All-Star in 2014, hitting .273 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs.

  • Monday, January 26, 2015
    Yanks may fight A-Rod over bonus money
    By The Sports Xchange

    The New York Yankees are working on legal arguments to void milestone home run bonuses for Alex Rodriguez, according to reports Monday.

    • The New York Daily News reported that the Yankees would go after the bonuses -- worth up to $30 million -- as the two sides continue a frayed relationship.

      Rodriguez, who has 654 home runs, needs to hit just six more to tie Willie Mays' 660 and become eligible for a $6 million bonus as part of the 10-year, $275 million contract he signed with the Yankees in 2007.

      Rodriguez, who turns 40 in July, also would pocket $6 million apiece if he tied Babe Ruth (714 homers), Hank Aaron (755), Barry Bonds (762) and topped Bonds' record.

      The Yankees plan to contest the validity of the deal because of Rodriguez's steroid revelations and year-long suspension, a source told ESPNNewYork.com.

      If the Yankees move forward, Rodriguez and the MLB Players Association would have the right to file a grievance that could re-open questions about when he has used performance-enhancing drugs.

      Rodriguez made attempts to meet with Yankees executives recently to apologize and clear the air, but he was told, "We'll see you in spring training," according to the Daily News.

      Rodriguez met with new commissioner Rob Manfred last week at MLB's offices, the New York Post reported. Rodriguez initiated the get-together and there were no lawyers on hand.

      Rodriguez has abandoned all lawsuits against the league and the MLB Players Association. He is working to win back the Yankees' starting third base job.

      The Yankees owe Rodriguez $61 million over the next three years. During the offseason, general manager Brian Cashman said he does not know what type of player Rodriguez will be this year, so the club signed Chase Headley for four years and $52 million to play Rodriguez's position.

      Rodriguez has been working out and getting hitting advice from Barry Bonds and Edgar Martinez, among others.

  • Sunday, January 25, 2015
    MLB notebook: Banks died of heart attack
    By The Sports Xchange

    The family of Ernie Banks announced Sunday that the Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer died after suffering a heart attack.

    • The legend known as "Mr. Cub" died Friday night at the age of 83.

      Family attorney Mark Bogen revealed the cause of death -- just seven days before Banks' 84th birthday -- at a news conference in Chicago.

      Banks' wife, Liz Banks, was also in attendance.

      ogen also said that Banks' family is working with the Cubs and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to organize a public memorial this week.

      --Alex Rodriguez made attempts to meet face-to-face with New York Yankees executives to apologize and clear the air, but he reportedly was told, "We'll see you in spring training."

      The New York Daily News reported that the Yankees rejected Rodriguez's attempts to discuss his season-long steroid suspension. Another Daily News source added that Rodriguez is looking "noticeably thinner and massless."

      The New York Post reported earlier that Rodriguez met with new commissioner Rob Manfred last week at MLB's offices. Rodriguez initiated the get-together and there were no lawyers on hand.

      The 39-year-old Rodriguez is working to win back the Yankees' starting third base job.

      --The Minnesota Twins avoided arbitration with reliever Brian Duensing, reaching agreement Saturday on a one-year contract worth a reported $2.7 million.

      The two sides compromised after Duensing requested a $3.1 million salary and the team offer $2.4 million last week. Duensing is eligible to become a free agent after the 2015 season.

  • Sunday, January 25, 2015
    Banks died after suffering heart attack
    By The Sports Xchange

    The family of Ernie Banks announced Sunday that the Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer died after suffering a heart attack.

    • The legend known as "Mr. Cub" died Friday night at the age of 83.

      Family attorney Mark Bogen revealed the cause of death -- just seven days before Banks' 84th birthday -- at a news conference in Chicago.

      Banks' wife, Liz Banks, was also in attendance.

      "It is certainly a sad day for us," she said. "I'd like to thank everyone for being here. ... He was very beloved and he is going to be dearly missed by family, friends and all of his fans."

      Bogen also said that Banks' family is working with the Cubs and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to organize a public memorial this week.

      "Ernie Banks was a wonderful husband, a great father and grandfather," Bogen said Sunday, reading from a statement. "People have called Ernie Banks the ambassador of baseball, but in reality, he was the ambassador for humanity."

      Bogen said that Banks "loved people and wanted to hear their stories, their lives, and not talk about his. Instead of talking about baseball, he would talk about life.

      "Ernie Banks was a kind, loving, positive man who cared about people," Bogen said. "One of his favorite quotes was, 'Life is a song, sing it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a sacrifice, offer it. Life is love, enjoy it now.'"

      Funeral arrangements were being finalized, Bogen said.

      Banks was known as Mr. Cub for his identification with only the major league club he played for during his 19-year major league career. He won the National League MVP Award in consecutive years, 1958 and 1959.

      But it was his cheerful personality and his love of the game that made him such a popular player. His catch phrase, "Let's Play Two," reflected his desire to play a doubleheader instead of just one game.

      Banks played shortstop most of his career before moving over to first base in his later years in the league. He hit .274 with 512 homers, 1,636 RBIs and 2,583 hits during his career.

      Despite his brilliance, Banks never played in the postseason. He nearly got there in 1969, before the Cubs blew a 9 1/2-game lead they had in mid-August. Chicago lost 17 of its last 25 games to help the Amazing Mets win the division title.

      The Cubs have brought back the bronze statue of Banks, which had been removed from Wrigley Field when renovation work began on the ballpark in October. The statue, which had been in storage in Michigan, was expected to be displayed at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago, starting Wednesday.

  • Sunday, January 25, 2015
    Yanks reportedly reject A-Rod's apology attempt
    By The Sports Xchange

    Alex Rodriguez made attempts to meet face-to-face with New York Yankees executives to apologize and clear the air but he reportedly was told, "We'll see you in spring training."

    • The New York Daily News reported that the Yankees rejected Rodriguez's attempts to discuss his season-long steroid suspension.

      Another Daily News source added that Rodriguez is looking "noticeably thinner and massless."

      The New York Post reported earlier that Rodriguez met with new commissioner Rob Manfred last week at MLB's offices. Rodriguez initiated the get-together and there were no lawyers on hand.

      A-Rod has abandoned all lawsuits against the league and the MLB Players Association. The 39-year-old is working to win back the Yankees' starting third base job.

      The Yankees owe Rodriguez $61 million over the next three years. During the offseason, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he does not know what type of player Rodriguez will be this year, so the club signed Chase Headley for four years and $52 million to play Rodriguez's position.

      Rodriguez has been working out and getting hitting advice from Barry Bonds and Edgar Martinez, among others.

  • Saturday, January 24, 2015
    Twins, LHP Duensing agree on one-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Minnesota Twins avoided arbitration with reliever Brian Duensing, reaching agreement Saturday on a one-year contract worth a reported $2.7 million.

    • The two sides compromised after Duensing requested a $3.1 million salary and the team offer $2.4 million last week. Duensing is eligible to become a free agent after the 2015 season.

      Duensing's contract puts the Twins' payroll above $106 million for 2015, an increase of about $20 million over 2013.

      The 31-year-old Duensing has made 135 appearances and worked 115 1/3 innings the past two years with a 3.67 ERA. Last season, he pitched in 62 games and posted a 3-3 record with a 3.31 ERA in 54 1/3 innings.

      "I'm glad the process is over with and we agreed. I love this organization, I like that I’m here," the left-hander said, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I'm excited to get it done."

      In six years with the Twins, Duensing has a 37-36 record with one save and a 4.13 ERA in 299 games.

  • Saturday, January 24, 2015
    MLB notebook: Mr. Cub honored by many
    By The Sports Xchange

    From the White House, sports greats and fans everywhere, tributes poured in for "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks, who died Friday night at the age of 83.

    • The Chicago Cubs honored Banks on the Wrigley Field marquee that said:

      "ERNIE BANKS, 'MR. CUB' 1931-2015"

      Banks was known as "Mr. Cub" for his identification with only the major league club he played for during his 19-year major league career. He won the National League MVP Award in consecutive years, 1958 and 1959.

      But it was his cheerful personality and his love of the game that made him such a popular player. His catchphrase, "Let's Play Two," reflected his desire to play a doubleheader instead of just one game.

      Banks played shortstop most of his career before moving over to first base in his later years in the league. He hit .274 with 512 homers, 1,636 RBIs and 2,583 hits during his career.

      In 2013, Banks was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, a noted Chicago White Sox fan.

      President Obama and wife Michelle issued a statement Saturday, saying Banks "was beloved by baseball fans everywhere."

      "Michelle and I send our condolences to the family of Ernie Banks, and to every Chicagoan and baseball fan who loved him," President Obama said.

      A news conference is planned for Sunday in Chicago.

      ---New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who sat out last year due to a steroids suspension, met with new commissioner Rob Manfred this week to clear the air.

      According to the reports, Rodriguez initiated the get-together and there were no lawyers on hand.

      The Yankees owe Rodriguez $61 million over the next three years. During the offseason, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he does not know what type of player the 39-year-old will be this year, so the club signed Chase Headley for four years and $52 million to play Rodriguez's position.

      Rodriguez has been working out and seeking hitting advice from Barry Bonds and Edgar Martinez, among others.

      ---Oakland Athletics closer Sean Doolittle is expected to miss the start of the season because of a slight rotator cuff tear in his left shoulder.

      The All-Star reliever is not expected to need surgery. The plan is for rest and a strengthening program.

      The A's have no timetable for Doolittle's return. Among the candidates to fill his closer role during spring training will be Tyler Clippard and setup specialist Ryan Cook.

      ---The Chicago White Sox have hired former basestealing star Vince Coleman as a baserunning coach, the team announced.

      Coleman, who had 752 stolen bases during his 13-year career and led the National League in six seasons, will serve as a coach and consultant at the major-league and minor-league levels, general manager Rick Hahn said.

      "Early in the offseason, we identified wanting to have someone with some basestealing acumen and obviously tremendous credentials like Vince has as a means to augment our coaching staff and help draw out a little more from certain players," Hahn said. "It's a real good get in terms of rounding out some of our staff."

      ---The Texas Rangers and designated hitter Mitch Moreland avoided arbitration after settling on a one-year, $2.95 million contract Friday.

      The deal includes a possible $25,000 in additional performance incentives. Moreland requested $3.35 million and the Rangers offered $2.75 million. He made $2.65 million last season.

      The Rangers also reached agreement Friday on a minor-league contract with right-hander Ross Ohlendorf that includes an invitation to spring training. He spent the last two seasons in the Washington Nationals' organization but missed most of 2014 with a back injury.