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Fowler spurns O's, remains with Cubs

Dexter Fowler surprises his Cubs teammates, who thought zoo animals would make an appearance, at spring training.

Chicago Tribune/TNS

Dexter Fowler surprises his Cubs teammates, who thought zoo animals would make an appearance, at spring training.

MESA, Ariz. — Outfielder Dexter Fowler agreed to stay with the Cubs, spurning a $33 million, three-year offer from the Orioles to accept a $13 million, one-year deal with Chicago on Thursday that includes a mutual option for 2017.

"This is where my heart is," he said.

To help make the deal work within the team's payroll limits, the Cubs traded outfielder Chris Coghlan, a former East Lake High standout, to the Athletics for pitcher Aaron Brooks.

Fowler rejected a $15.8 million, one-year qualifying offer from the Cubs in November.

Orioles executive vice president for baseball operations Dan Duquette said their issue was that Fowler insisted on being able to terminate his agreement after 2016 and become a free agent again.

Fowler's agent, Casey Close, said the Orioles intentionally ignored free agency rules. "In my 25 years in this business, never before have I witnessed such irresponsible behavior on so many fronts," he said.

Fowler, 29, was not expected back. Manager Joe Maddon brought everyone to the mound Thursday, delaying until Dexter could come out. The players thought zoo animals were coming, then Fowler appeared and was mobbed Fowler with hugs and handshakes.

A-Rod feeling well

TAMPA — Alex Rodriguez arrived at Yankees spring training feeling relaxed.

He reported last February after missing 2014 while serving a suspension for violations of baseball's drug agreement and labor contract. And he missed most of 2013 after hip surgery.

This year, no such issues for the 40-year-old. He called last spring training "an extremely challenging situation."

"Overall, I just feel so much better coming into this year," Rodriguez said after the Yankees' first full-squad workout. "I'm in a good place."

There were no boos at Steinbrenner Field, unlike last year.

"Look, I made some big mistakes, and that's never going to go away," Rodriguez said. "2015 for me was, in many ways a Cinderella season (.250, 33 homers, 86 RBIs), and I don't take it for granted. To be able to wear a uniform at the age of 40 is pretty cool."

Also, leftfielder Brett Gardner will take a slow approach at spring training because of a lingering bruised left wrist sustained from running into the wall in the wild-card game.

RULE CHANGES: MLB abolished two of its time-honored traditions, announcing that mound visits by managers and pitching coaches would be limited to 30 seconds from the time they leave the dugout and changing the rules on slides to limit injuries. Runners trying to break up a double play must make "a bona fide attempt to reach and remain on the base." Contact is permitted, but runners cannot change direction once they start their slide.

Giants: Right-hander Matt Cain had a procedure to have a cyst removed from his upper right arm. He will rehab and is expected to resume throwing in approximately 10 days.

Tigers: Right-hander Anibal Sanchez hasn't thrown since experiencing soreness in his lower right triceps Monday. An MRI exam revealed inflammation. Sanchez has missed time with arm-related injuries in each of the past three seasons.

OBITUARY: White Sox co-owner and vice chairman Eddie Einhorn died Tuesday at 80 due to complications following a stroke. He was the club's vice chairman for 25 years and was president and chief operating officer from 1981-1990. He started as a broadcasting pioneer — founding the TVS Television Network, which helped popularize college basketball nationally — spent more than 30 years in baseball and was on the Bulls' board of directors.

Fowler spurns O's, remains with Cubs 02/25/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2016 9:42pm]
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