MLB Notebook: Cubs finalize deal for Japanese closer

Published:

Associated Press

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have finalized a $9.5 million, two-year contract with Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa.

The 32-year-old right-hander had 220 saves in 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League. He played for Japan at the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics and the the 2008 Olympics.

Diamondbacks complete deals with Hinske, Nieves

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks completed one-year contracts with free agent Eric Hinske and catcher Wil Nieves on Thursday.

A veteran of 11 major league seasons, Hinske spent the last three years with the Atlanta Braves. He hit .197 with two homers and 13 RBI in 132 at-bats this year.

Nieves has batted .229 (191-for-834) with seven home runs and 81 RBI in 314 major league games over nine seasons.

Reed Johnson stays with Braves on $1.75M deal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Reed Johnson, the top pinch hitter in the National League last season, rejoined the Atlanta Braves on Thursday with a $1.75 million, one-year contract that includes a club option for 2014.

Atlanta acquired Johnson and pitcher Paul Maholm from the Chicago Cubs on July 30. Johnson hit a combined .290 with three home runs and 20 RBI last season. He batted .419 (18-for-43) as a pinch hitter.

Choate, Cardinals finalize $7.5M, 3-year deal

ST. LOUIS -- Reliever Randy Choate and the St. Louis Cardinals have finalized a $7.5 million, three-year contract.

He gets $1.5 million next season and $3 million in each of the following two years. He can earn an additional $250,000 annually based on relief appearances: $50,000 for 70, $75,000 for 75 and $125,000 for 80.

The 37-year-old left-hander tied for the major league lead with 80 pitching appearances this year.

Haren joins Nationals on one-year contract

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Dan Haren has agreed to a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals.

The 32-year-old Haren was a free agent after going 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts for the Los Angeles Angels in 2012. The Angels nearly traded him to the Cubs after the season, then declined their $15.5 million option for 2013.

Haren is 119-97 with a 3.66 ERA with four clubs in the majors and was an All-Star in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Yankees, Gardner reach one-year deal

NEW YORK -- Speedy outfielder Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees have agreed to a $2.85 million, one-year contract that avoids salary arbitration.

Gardner was limited to 31 at-bats last season because of a right elbow injury that sidelined him from mid-April until late September. He made $2.8 million.

Source: McCarthy agrees with Diamondbacks

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A person with knowledge of the negotiations says pitcher Brandon McCarthy has reached agreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks on a two-year contract.

The physical will be especially important for McCarthy, who was Oakland's opening day starter last season.

McCarthy was hit in the right side of the head by a line drive Sept. 5. The 29-year-old sustained an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture, then underwent a two-hour surgery.

Last month, McCarthy spent two days undergoing extensive evaluations by renowned concussion expert, Dr. Michael Collins, at the University of Pittsburgh. He was cleared by Collins to begin working out and resuming his regular offseason routine.

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