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Vision issue aside, Rays sign 16-year-old Dominican prospect Marte

Published Dec. 18, 2017

BASEBALL

VISION ISSUE ASIDE, RAYS SIGN 16-YEAR-OLD DOMINICAN PROSPECT

The Rays finalized the $820,000 signing of promising 16-year-old international prospect Jelfry Marte, confident the unspecified vision issues that voided his original $3 million contract with the Twins won't be a problem.

"Ultimately it came down to the talent, the makeup, and the comprehensive history with the player to know and understand what he's been able to physically do and accomplish and how that will serve him going forward,'' Rays international scouting director Carlos Rodriguez said Monday via email. "We were pretty thorough examining the vision issue, and we just felt that we are very well positioned to give him every chance to realize his potential, which is very high.''

Marte, who is from the Dominican Republic and ranked the No. 3 international prospect by mlbpipeline.com, before signing with the Twins in July, is a switch-hitter with "exciting ability,'' Rodriguez said, including the quickness, hands, range and arm to stay at shortstop.

MORELAND BACK WITH RED SOX: 1B Mitch Moreland agreed to a $13 million, two-year contract to return to the Red Sox and play for former teammate Alex Cora. "He's a great baseball guy," said Moreland, who was on the Rangers when Cora made a brief appearance there in 2010. "He was a great teammate then, and I don't expect anything different from him as a manager." Moreland, 32, spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Rangers. The 32-year-old left-handed batter hit .246 with 22 homers 79 RBIs in his first season with Boston last year.

DODGERS GET UNDER TAX: The Dodgers brought their projected 2018 payroll under the $197 million luxury tax threshold with the weekend trade that sent 1B Adrian Gonzalez, oft-injured starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy and INF Charlie Culberson to the Braves for OF Matt Kemp. Los Angeles will send Atlanta $4.5 million by May 1 as part of the trade, cutting its 2018 payroll for tax purposes by $25 million to about $181 million while increasing its 2019 payroll by $20 million.

EX-RAY TO CUBS: The Cubs finalized their $13 million, two-year contract with side-arming RH reliever Steve Cishek. The 31-year-old gets $6.5 million in each of the next two seasons under the agreement. Cishek had a 2.01 ERA and a 3-2 record in 49 relief appearances this past season for Seattle and Tampa Bay, which acquired him July 28.

AUTOS

Danica, Stenhouse call it quits

Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse have ended their nearly five-year relationship.

A spokeswoman for Patrick confirmed to the Associated Press that the race car drivers "are no longer in a relationship."

Patrick, 35, didn't attend the season-ending awards ceremony last month in Las Vegas with Stenhouse, 30, who was honored for making NASCAR's playoffs in 2017. That led to speculation about the status of the most prolific couple in motorsports.

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Patrick and Stenhouse announced they were dating in early 2013. She is retiring as a full-time driver and hopes to end her career next year by racing in both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500. It's an outgoing celebration she has dubbed the "Danica Double."

MORE AUTOS: Andretti Autosport will field six entries in next year's Indianapolis 500 now that a car has been announced for two-time runnerup Carlos Munoz. Munoz, 25, made his IndyCar series debut with Andretti Autosport at the 2013 Indy 500. His second-place finish earned him top rookie of the race. The Colombian ran a full season with Andretti the next year, and he finished second again in 2016 to teammate Alexander Rossi.

ET CETERA

SOCCER: Wayne Rooney had one penalty saved and scored on another in Everton's 3-1 win over last-place Swansea in the English Premier League that maintained the team's resurgence under new manager Sam Allardyce. Everton has won four of five since Allardyce was appointed as the full-time replacement for Ronald Koeman at the end of last month, and Rooney has scored in three of them. After Leroy Fer gave Swansea the lead in the 35th minute, Rooney squandered a chance to equalize when his penalty was tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in first-half injury time. The ball bounced out for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to convert the rebound. … Giovanni Savarese has been named coach of the MLS's Portland Timbers. Savarese, 46, has been coach of the NASL's New York Cosmos since 2012.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer; Times wires