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Nationals, top pick reach deal at deadline

WASHINGTON — The Nationals said they reached an agreement with No. 1 overall draft pick Bryce Harper on a $9.9 million, five-year major-league contract.

Clubs faced a deadline of midnight Monday to come to terms with players picked in June's amateur draft.

A year ago, the Nationals agreed to a record-breaking $15.1 million, four-year contract with top pick Stephen Strasburg a little more than a minute before the deadline. Strasburg made his big-league debut June 8, a day after Harper was drafted.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Harper, 17, is a power-hitting junior college catcher the Nationals will convert to an outfielder. He's the first JUCO player taken first overall.

Several teams had not announced deals with their top picks by 12:20 a.m. Announcements were expected to continue trickling in until about 1 a.m.

OBITUARY: Joe L. Brown, the general manager whose shrewd trading and expert rebuilding of the Pirates farm system resulted in two World Series championships, died Sunday in Albuquerque, N.M., after an extended illness. He was 91.

Mr. Brown succeeded Branch Rickey as general manager after a last-place season in 1955. He stayed on the job through 1976, a span in which Pittsburgh won the 1960 and 1971 World Series and five NL East titles.

CUBS: 1B Derrek Lee was out of the lineup with a bulging disc in his lower back.

ORIOLES: RH reliever Jason Berken went on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

PHILLIES: 2B Chase Utley, out since June 28 with a right thumb sprain, is expected to return to the lineup tonight. 1B Ryan Howard may take a little more time: Out since Aug. 3 with a sprained left ankle, he felt a little sore Sunday a day after working out.

RANGERS: RF Nelson Cruz went on the disabled list for the third time this season because of hamstring issues. … The new ownership group made its first front-office hire, naming Jay Miller senior vice president effective Aug. 30.

Nationals, top pick reach deal at deadline 08/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 1:42am]

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