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Tigers, Rodriguez inch closer to deal

The Tigers and catcher Ivan Rodriguez moved closer to finalizing a $40-million, four-year contract, which could be announced Monday.

The sides faxed language Saturday aimed at finishing the agreement, the Associated Press reported.

The sides moved to the verge of an agreement Wednesday and have worked since then at putting the deal in writing.

He took a physical Thursday.

Detroit, 43-119 last season, has signed second baseman Fernando Vina ($6-million for two years), outfielder Rondell White ($6-million for two years) and right-hander Jason Johnson ($7-million for two years).

Henson moves step closer to leaving Yanks for NFL

NEW YORK _ Drew Henson asked the Yankees to negotiate a settlement for the rest of the six-year, $17-million deal he signed in 2001, the Bergen County (N.J.) Record reported. It's expected Henson, who was drafted by the Texans in April, will pursue opportunities as an NFL quarterback.

Throughout the winter, Henson has been working on his passing game at the IMG academy in Bradenton, headquarters of his agent. Henson did not play winter ball and did not participate in any baseball activity at the Yankees' Tampa complex.

A former Michigan quarterback, Henson struck out 122 times last year at Triple-A Columbus, committing 28 errors at third base while hitting .234 with 14 homers and 78 RBIs.

Henson's slow development led to the July 31, 2003, acquisition of Aaron Boone from Cincinnati. When news broke of Boone's suspected torn left ACL on Jan. 16, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman left Henson's name out of the pool of possible replacements. Instead, the Yankees invited Tyler Houston to compete with Enrique Wilson, Miguel Cairo, and Erick Almonte at third.

JAPAN: Former Reds left-hander Dan Serafini will pitch for the the Lotte Marines, the Japanese team managed by former Mets manager Bobby Valentine. Serafini is 15-16 with one save in his six-year career. He went 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA last season for the Reds.

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