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D'backs put Chouinard on waivers

Diamondbacks relief pitcher Bobby Chouinard, charged with a drunken assault of his wife, was placed on waivers at his request Wednesday.

Diamondbacks officials had said they were prepared to wait for the case to proceed through the courts before taking action.

"I didn't want to go into training camp with anything hanging over heads _ for him, for us, for everyone involved," owner Jerry Colangelo said.

The right-hander was 5-2 last season with a 2.68 ERA in 32 appearances. In the first round of the playoffs, he gave up the winning grand slam to Edgardo Alfonzo in the ninth inning of the New York Mets' 8-4 victory in Game 1.

"I am receiving counseling to resolve some difficult and regrettable problems," Chouinard said in a statement issued by the team. "In the best interests of my family and of baseball, I have asked the Diamondbacks to release me so that I can concentrate on continuing to work on my personal and family issues."

If no team claims Chouinard within 48 hours, he would become a free agent and receive $32,967, which is 30 days' termination pay.

Chouinard's wife, Erica, told police he choked and slapped her on Christmas night and pointed a loaded handgun at her head as she pleaded for him not to shoot her. He could face five to 15 years in prison if convicted.

ATHLETICS: Right-hander Ariel Prieto, who hasn't pitched in the major leagues since April 1998, asked an arbitration panel for a raise from $210,000 to $500,000. The Athletics countered at $300,000. A decision is expected today. Prieto, 30, is recovering from reconstructive elbow and shoulder surgery.

BREWERS: Right-hander Juan Acevedo avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a two-year contract worth $1.625-million. The Brewers acquired him from St. Louis on Dec. 20 for former All-Star second baseman Fernando Vina.

INDIANS: The team agreed to a one-year contract with right-hander Sean DePaula, who went from pitching in Class A at the start of last season to facing Boston's Pedro Martinez in the American League playoffs. DePaula is expected to compete for a starting job.

METS: The team hired 11-time Gold Glove winner Keith Hernandez to teach Todd Zeile first base. Zeile said he hopes to build his confidence at the position. Also, pinch-hitter Matt Franco avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year contract worth $462,500.

PIRATES: Left-hander John Smiley cut short his comeback bid because of pain in his throwing shoulder. Smiley, 34, had signed a minor-league contract in an attempt to return from a broken arm sustained while warming up for Cleveland on Sept. 20, 1997.

ROCKIES: The team agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent outfielder Darren Bragg. Bragg spent last season with the Cardinals, hitting .260 with six home runs and 26 RBI. He played in 93 games before tearing a right knee ligament in August and having season-ending surgery.

RED SOX: Right-hander Julio Santana, let go in December, rejoined the team when he agreed to a minor-league contract. Santana was acquired from the Devil Rays in July for a player to be named. But he never pitched for the Red Sox, missing the remainder of the season with shoulder tendinitis.

TIGERS: Outfielder Karim Garcia beat the team in the first salary arbitration case of the year, giving the players their first win in the opener since 1996.

Also, Detroit avoided a hearing with catcher Gregg Zaun by agreeing to a $525,000, one-year contract.

A three-person panel chose Garcia's $700,000 request instead of the team's $470,000 offer. Garcia hit .240 last year with 14 homers and 32 RBI in 288 at-bats and made $270,000.

Zaun, obtained from the Texas Rangers in the deal that brought Juan Gonzalez to Detroit, can earn an additional $140,000 in performance bonuses.

YANKEES: Looking for a backup infielder after a season-ending injury to D'Angelo Jimenez, the team agreed to a minor-league deal with Rafael Bournigal.

BRAVES: Pitcher Tom Glavine said he asked the union to be careful of how much it will seek to reduce John Rocker's suspension: "I think it was important, especially to our guys, to see that some sort of punishment was paid."

Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday suspended Rocker until May 1 and fined him $20,000 for his slurs against minorities and gays in a December Sports Illustrated article.

PADRES: The team ended its pursuit of Danny Tartabull and was close to signing free agent Ed Sprague to a minor-league contract, with an invitation to big-league spring training. Tartabull, who hasn't played since 1997, agreed to a minor-league contract that would have paid him $250,000 if he made the big-league club. But he balked at performance bonuses that would have kicked in at 100 games started. Tartabull wanted the Padres to base the bonus on games played. "We told them that if he wasn't going to accept the teams the way they were, that it would be a deal-breaker," general manager Kevin Towers said.

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