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Closer hopeful gets three-year deal from White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. — With job security out of the way, White Sox left-hander Matt Thornton can turn his attention to proving he should be Chicago's closer.

The All-Star reliever agreed to a $15 million, three-year deal Sunday that adds two years and $12 million to his previous one.

Thornton, 34, posted a 2.67 ERA with a career-high eight saves last season. He struck out 81 in 602/3 innings to become the first White Sox pitcher to lead AL relievers in strikeouts since Keith Foulke in 1999.

"It was an easy choice with an organization like this, with what they've done the last five months or so, retaining the core guys, adding the pieces and expecting to win," Thornton said.

Manager Ozzie Guillen hasn't chosen who will be Bobby Jenks' replacement as the closer but indicated at times during the offseason that he would prefer Thornton in the role.

UMPS MEET with players, MLB: The unions for players and umpires held a rare joint meeting with management in Fort Myers. The 2½-hour session was set at the request of the players association after a series of missed calls in the playoffs.

CARPENTER HEALING: Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter, recovering from a strained left hamstring, felt only mild discomfort during a morning bullpen session and said he expects to be ready for opening day.

VETERAN RETIRES: Frank Catalanotto, who played for five teams in a 14-year career, announced his retirement. Catalanotto, 36, batted .291 with a .357 on-base percentage and a .445 slugging percentage while playing several positions.

BREWERS: Rightfielder Corey Hart aggravated his strained left oblique muscle during drills Saturday and might not be ready for the regular season.

DODGERS: Tests showed no serious issues with first baseman James Loney's swollen left knee, and he could return to the lineup as early as Wednesday.

METS: Carlos Beltran tested his right knee in a game for the first time this spring, getting a hit and sliding home. The All-Star centerfielder is expected to play right this season.

PADRES: The team hopes centerfielder Cameron Maybin can return to the lineup today after missing five games with concussionlike symptoms.

RANGERS: Right-hander Neftali Feliz bruised his left shin after being hit by a line drive during live batting practice. X-rays were negative.

ROYALS: Shortstop Alcides Escobar was scratched from the lineup after a bug bite caused an infection on his right arm.

International Baseball

Who: Seoul, South Korea; Nether­lands and Canadian national teams; Rays, Phillies, Blue Jays; St. Petersburg College and St. Pete Storm (amateur team)

Where: Al Lang Field,

St. Petersburg

Tickets: $6; (727) 551-3000,

stpeteinternationalbaseball.com, Al Lang box office

Wednesday: Rays vs.

Netherlands, 1

Friday: Netherlands vs. SPC, 7

Sunday: Phillies vs. Netherlands, 1

Closer hopeful gets three-year deal from White Sox 03/06/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2011 9:11pm]
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