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Tigers, Cabrera near rich extension

At 24, third baseman Miguel Cabrera has established himself as one of the game’s best hitters.

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At 24, third baseman Miguel Cabrera has established himself as one of the game’s best hitters.

KISSIMMEE — Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers reached a preliminary agreement Saturday on an eight-year, $153.3-million contract extension, ESPNdeportes.com reported.

The All-Star third baseman is scheduled for a physical on Monday to complete the deal.

Cabrera's contract would be the richest in club history and the fourth-richest in baseball history. He would have been eligible for arbitration in 2009 and free agency after the season.

Cabrera, 24, one of the game's best hitters, and left-hander Dontrelle Willis were acquired from the Marlins in December for a package of six players.

LOPEZ ENDS COMEBACK: Three-time All-Star Javy Lopez retired after being reassigned to the Braves' minor-league camp, ending his bid to return to the majors as a backup catcher.

Lopez, 37, who sat out last season, decided against trying to extend his 15-year career in the minors. He batted .188 this spring in his attempt to become Brian McCann's backup.

BOOMER READY TO GO: Left-hander David Wells, who turns 45 in seven weeks, wants to pitch. Yet the season is a week away and no one is knocking down his door, let alone knocking on it.

"We've had some calls," Greg Clifton, Wells' agent, told the New York Times. "A lot of them were: 'We'll see. We'll have to see where we're at. Got to stick with the young kids,' whether it's the Rangers or the Giants or whoever."

EX-YANKEE HAS CANCER: Former Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles will have surgery for prostate cancer early next month. "They told me they got it early," Nettles said. "It's treatable. So I've got to think positive."

Also, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano didn't start against the Blue Jays because of back stiffness. And left-hander Andy Pettitte was scratched from a minor-league start with back spasms. He is expected to make his next start Thursday.

BALLPARK DEBUTS: A week before the Nationals' new ballpark officially opens, the George Washington Colonials and St. Joseph's Hawks pleased their fans with a test run. The hometown Colonials christened the 41,000-seat, $611-million Nationals Park with a 9-4 win over the Hawks on a cool, overcast afternoon. The Nationals debut the park Saturday in their preseason finale against the Orioles.

JAPAN EXHIBITION: Bobby Crosby and Jack Hannahan hit back-to-back homers and Emil Brown drove in the winner in the ninth as the Athletics beat the Yomiuri Giants 4-3 in Tokyo. Oakland meets the Hanshin Tigers today before regular-season games against the Red Sox on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Boston beat the Tigers 6-5 earlier in the day.

CUBS SET LINEUP: Manager Lou Piniella said Kosuke Fukudome will bat fifth, Alfonso Soriano will remain second and, barring a trade, the opening day lineup is set. A day earlier, Piniella said he might bat the struggling Fukudome second before camp breaks.

ASTROS: Former Rays right-hander Brandon Backe is returning to form after missing most of the past two seasons with an elbow injury. He allowed two earned runs and six hits in five innings of a 6-5 win over the Reds and said he had a more consistent release point.

CARDINALS: Right-hander Kyle Lohse had a strong spring debut, allowing two runs in five innings in a 6-3 win over the Twins. … Left-hander Mark Mulder faced hitters for the first time since shoulder surgery in September, throwing 30 batting-practice pitches to minor-leaguers.

MARLINS: Former Rays left-hander Mark Hendrickson was chosen by manager Fredi Gonzalez to start the season opener March 31 against the Mets.

ORIOLES: Manager Dave Trembley chose right-hander Jeremy Guthrie to start March 31 against the Rays, rewarding him for a breakthrough 2007 with the opening day assignment at Camden Yards.

PIRATES: Second baseman Freddy Sanchez will see a specialist Monday to try to find the cause of shoulder pain that has limited the two-time All-Star to two appearances in the field.

Best bet of the day

Phillies at Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m., Knology Park, Dunedin: The battle of North Pinellas features two top pitchers, Philadelphia's Cole Hamels against Toronto's A.J. Burnett.

>>AREA TEAMS

Blue Jays: Knology Park, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Game tickets: (727) 733-9302 or bluejays.com.

Phillies: Bright House Field, 601 N Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Game tickets: (727) 467-4457 or phillies.com.

Yankees: Legends Field, 1 Steinbrenner Drive, Tampa. Game tickets: (813) 879-2244 or ticketmaster.com.

Tigers, Cabrera near rich extension 03/22/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:45am]
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