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Cards get extra day to talk with Pujols

JUPITER — The Cardinals and representatives for Albert Pujols have agreed to a 24-hour extension to reach a new contract out of respect for Stan Musial.

The Cardinals Hall of Famer will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom today in Washington, and general manager John Mozeliak said Monday that the club did not want to distract from Musial's special day. Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and Mozeliak will accompany Musial, 90, to Washington.

Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, originally set a deadline for today, the first workout day for pitchers and catchers in Jupiter. Mozeliak said the new deadline is noon Wednesday.

Pujols, 31, is due to make $16 million this season in the final year of his contract, with $4 million of the total deferred without interest.

Pujols is seeking a contract, perhaps as long as a decade, that would make him one of the highest-paid players in the majors and allow him to retire as a Cardinal.

Even if a deal can't be reached by Wednesday, the Cardinals are hopeful of keeping the All-Star first baseman. Numerous times the past few seasons and again at last month's Winter Warmup fan festival in St. Louis, Pujols has expressed his desire to stay with the Cardinals.

Pujols is the only player in history to hit 30 or more home runs in his first 10 seasons, belting 42 with 117 RBIs last year while finishing second in MVP balloting to the Reds' Joey Votto. DeWitt has referred to Pujols as "irreplaceable," but he would be 41 at the end of a 10-year contract.

DEAL FOR MARMOL: Carlos Marmol, once a catcher in the minors, has been rewarded for his expertise as a closer.

Marmol agreed to a three-year, $20 million contract with the Cubs and avoided salary arbitration. Marmol will have a salary of $3.2 million this season, $7 million in 2012 and $9.8 million in 2013.

Marmol had 38 saves in 43 chances with a 2-3 record and 2.55 ERA last season.

In other Cubs news, right-hander Carlos Zambrano showed up insisting his roller-coaster 2010, when he got hurt, got sent to the bullpen and had a dugout tirade, is behind him. "Let's talk about this year now. I never talk about what happened last year or what happened in the past," Zambrano said.

BEDARD HEALING: Mariners left-hander Erik Bedard, who didn't pitch in the majors last year as he recovered from shoulder surgery, threw a few dozen pitches without pain.

If he's healthy come opening day — a big if considering he has missed all or part of the past three seasons — Bedard, 31, is expected to be in Seattle's starting rotation.

"It's been a long road and just glad to be healthy and have no pain," Bedard said. "Just to be here and enjoy baseball."

OBITUARY: Cecil Kaiser, a diminutive left-hander who made $700 a month at the height of his Negro Leagues pitching career in the 1940s, died at the age of 94. His son, Tyrone, said Mr. Kaiser died after a fall at his home in Southfield, Mich.

BLUE JAYS: The team and third baseman Jose Bautista postponed a scheduled arbitration hearing until Friday so the sides can discuss a contract extension, ESPN Deportes reported. Bautista, 30, hit a majors-best 54 homers last season, 38 more than his previous high.

PADRES: Bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds said he plans to miss only limited time as he continues to receive treatment for pancreatic cancer. Akerfelds, 48, was diagnosed in December.

PHILLIES: Manager Charlie Manuel, who is in the last year of his contract, said he hopes he and the club can come to terms on an extension. But if they don't agree by the time the season starts, he doesn't want to discuss it anymore. "My extension and my contract — I definitely don't want it to be a distraction for my team," Manuel said. "I definitely put my team first."

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Cards get extra day to talk with Pujols 02/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 14, 2011 9:41pm]
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