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Orioles sign DH Cruz to 1-year deal

Free agent Nelson Cruz and the Orioles have reached agreement on a one-year deal, giving the slugger a fresh start after his drug suspension.

Cruz will earn about $8.5 million and can make more in performance bonuses, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Cruz, 33, was suspended 50 games last year while with the Rangers as a result of Major League Baseball's investigation into Biogenesis, the Miami area clinic accused of distributing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes. He returned from the penalty in time to play one game: He went 0-for-4 in the Rangers' loss to the Rays in a tiebreaker for the second AL wild-card spot.

Baltimore began full-squad workouts at spring training last week in Sarasota, and Cruz was among the last prominent free agents to find a team.

Manager Buck Showalter's team opened camp still in need of a DH, preferably someone to join big-league home run champion Chris Davis in the lineup. Cruz may well find the cozy dimensions at Camden Yards to his liking: He is a career .333 hitter with two homers and nine RBIs in 81 at-bats at the ballpark.

Baltimore signed former Ray Delmon Young to a minor-league contract in the offseason.

BONDS IN CAMP: Home run king Barry Bonds is returning to the Giants as a spring training instructor. He is expected to arrive during the second week of March. Bonds, 49, spent his last 15 seasons with San Francisco, finishing in 2007 under a cloud of steroid suspicions but never officially retiring.

SAFETY FEARS: Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez brought his wife and 2-month-old daughter to Miami from Caracas, Venezuela, to keep them away from the violent and deadly protests in his native country. Alvarez said his daughter was affected twice by tear gas being used to quell violent protests across the country that have left eight people dead and more than 100 injured.

NEW GIG FOR EX-SLUGGER: Newly elected Hall of Famer Frank Thomas is completing details on an agreement to work this season as a studio analyst for Fox Sports 1, based in Los Angeles. Thomas worked the past three seasons for Comcast in Chicago.

CARDINALS: Left-hander Jaime Garcia is set to return to St. Louis today to have doctors examine his surgically repaired pitching shoulder, making it unlikely he'll be ready for the start of the season.

DODGERS: The team signed Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena to a five-year contract, reportedly worth $25 million, including a $7.5 million signing bonus.

METS: Right-hander Matt Harvey threw a baseball for the first time since having elbow ligament replacement surgery on Aug. 22. Harvey threw 20 times from 60 feet to a bullpen catcher and said it felt "awesome." He's not expected to pitch in the majors this season.

PADRES: Third baseman Chase Headley is expected to be sidelined a couple of weeks because of a strained right calf. He was injured in a rundown drill.

RANGERS: Catcher Geovany Soto had arthroscopic surgery to remove a small bone from his left foot. He's expected to be ready for the start of the regular season.

Orioles sign DH Cruz to 1-year deal 02/22/14 [Last modified: Saturday, February 22, 2014 10:46pm]
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