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Tampa Bay Rays re-sign reliever J.P. Howell for one year, $1.1 million

ST. PETERSBURG — One free agent left-hander made a decision Monday, as reliever J.P. Howell re-signed with the Rays for one year at $1.1 million.

Howell missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury that required surgery and won't be ready to start next season, but when and if he comes back, he would add much-needed experience to the free agent-depleted bullpen.

The decision to not tender Howell a contract by the Dec. 2 deadline was financial, as it allowed the Rays the opportunity to reduce his salary by more than the maximum 20 percent cut. Howell made $1.8 million last season and would have made no less than $1.44 million if they went through arbitration.

There continued to be no word from the Rays or Padres on the proposed trade of shortstop Jason Bartlett for relievers Cesar Ramos and Adam Russell.

Indications are that the deal is not off and the teams are still talking. The holdup is not on Bartlett's end, so last week's report from the San Diego Union-Tribune suggesting there was an issue with the physical condition of one of the pitchers would seem to be the likely cause.

Ramos, according to milb.com, is on the disabled list after pitching for Hermosillo in the Mexican League earlier this winter, last appearing in a game Nov. 18.

Around the majors

SALARIES UP: The average salary finished over $3 million for the first time. The 912 players in the majors before September roster expansion averaged $3,014,572, up 0.6 percent.

A'S: Free agent slugger Hideki Matsui was working to finalize a contract that would make him the team's new DH. Matsui, 36, batted .274 with a .361 on-base percentage and a .459 slugging percentage last season with the Angels. The team also agreed to terms with right-hander Joey Devine on a one-year contract worth $557,500,

D'BACKS: Mel Stottlemyre Jr. and Joel Youngblood will be minor-league coordinators next season.

MARINERS: Catcher Rob Johnson was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for DH Jack Cust.

METS: Longtime Triple-A manager Ken Oberkfell will be bench coach, Mookie Wilson first-base coach, Dave Hudgens hitting coach and Jon Debus bullpen coach for new manager Terry Collins.

ORIOLES: Right-hander Koji Uehara finalized a $3 million, one-year deal to remain the team's closer. Uehara, 35, has endured two injury-riddled seasons with Baltimore.

PADRES: Right-hander Dustin Moseley finalized a $900,000, one-year contract with the team.

PIRATES: Pitcher Arquimedes Lorenzo of the Dominican Summer League was suspended 50 games under the minor-league drug program.

RANGERS: Backup catcher Matt Treanor signed an $850,000, one-year contract.

ROYALS: Rightfielder Jeff Francoeur passed a physical and officially joined his fourth team in less than two years. He agreed to a one-year contract for $2.5 million last week pending with an option for 2012.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Rays re-sign reliever J.P. Howell for one year, $1.1 million 12/13/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 12:27am]

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