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Selig says he'll retire proudly in three years

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig says he will be stepping down in three years when his contract ends, content that the sport is in good health.

"My contract runs for the next three-plus years. I'll be 75 years of age and I want to teach and write a book and do some other things," Selig, the former Brewers owner, said Thursday.

He became "interim commissioner" in 1992 and took the job permanently six years later.

Selig said he was proud of "changing the economic landscape" of the major leagues through revenue sharing and a luxury tax on big-spending clubs and was gratified by revenue growth from $1.2-billion in 1992 to last year's $5.2-billion.

He also called the labor deal announced at the World Series "amazing," guaranteeing peace with players through 2011 after decades of rancor.

Despite calling this "the golden age of baseball," Selig admitted there were still issues, saying he had "a sleepless night last night worrying about a lot of things."

They include the depth of suspected steroid abuse in the sport that has yet to be determined, and baseball being bounced from the Olympics. This season's World Series between the Cardinals and Tigers also had the lowest TV ratings ever while MLB drew record attendances and produced record revenues.

MEADOWS DECISION FOR RAYS: The team has to decide by midnight whether to offer arbitration to reliever Brian Meadows. If the Rays do, and he signs elsewhere as a free agent, they would receive a compensatory pick - between the first and second round - in the June draft. But Meadows, on whom the Rays last month declined a $1.05-million option, could accept arbitration, end up getting a similar amount and would be considered a signed player.

Meadows was 3-6 with a 5.17 ERA in 53 games.

Also, Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura is expected in the Tampa Bay area this weekend to meet with team officials and medical staff. Negotiations are ongoing and the Rays have until Dec. 15 to sign him.

BLUE JAYS: Royce Clayton agreed to a $1.5-million, one-year deal, but general manager J.P. Ricciardi said he may not play exclusively at shortstop.

PHILLIES: Pitcher Adam Eaton finalized a $24.5-million, three-year contract. A first-round pick by the club in 1996, he is 54-45 with a 4.40 ERA in seven major-league seasons, including 7-4 with a 5.12 ERA in 13 starts in his only season with the Rangers in 2006. He has been on the disabled list six times in his career, but the Phillies expect him to fill out their rotation.

RED SOX: In the midst of negotiations with potential ace Daisuke Matsuzaka, the team agreed to a two-year deal with another Japanese player - left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima. In 439 Japanese major-league games, he is 34-32 with a 3.36 ERA and 41 saves.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

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