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  1. Rays

Rays pitcher David Price not available for World Baseball Classic

STILL CONFIDENT: Manager Joe Maddon said the Rays are “going to be good again next year.”
Published Dec. 4, 2012

NASHVILLE — Rays AL Cy Young Award winner David Price said he would be honored to be chosen for Team USA but will not be able to pitch in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

"No chance I would play in that," he said via text message. "It would be a huge honor though."

Asked about the possibility, Price responded, "Don't think I'm allowed" to by the Rays.

Further, he said, for him it was "way too early for a pitcher to be game ready like they are."

The WBC is during the spring, with the U.S. team, on a schedule released Monday, opening play March 7-10. Rays 3B Evan Longoria, recovering from hamstring surgery, already said he can't play.

RODNEY CHANGE-UP: Closer Fernando Rodney has changed agents, leaving the ACES agency and signing on with Dan Lozano. Rodney has a bargain-priced $2.5 million salary for 2013 and is then a free agent.

RAYS MATTER: The Rays have some interest in now Marlins SS Yunel Escobar, he of the eye-black controversy. Oakland may, too. ... Executive VP Andrew Friedman said they "still definitely have interest" in non-tendered OF Ben Francisco, depending on the final makeup of the team. … Even with several holes to be filled, manager Joe Maddon said, "We're going to be good again next year. Trust me, we're going to be really good.'' … A meet-and-greet with Longoria, Maddon and Price and lessons from coaches Derek Shelton and Jim Hickey are among items in a special mlb.com auction, through Thursday, benefiting Stand Up To Cancer. ... The Yanks, who will be without 3B Alex Rodriguez until at least June, may go for Jeff Keppinger.

NAPOLI, OTHER MOVES: Mike Napoli joined the Red Sox, agreeing to a three-year, $39 million deal with plans to split time between catcher and first base. … CF Angel Pagan returned to the Giants, agreeing to a four-year, $40 million deal. … RHP Joakim Soria agreed to a deal with Texas, which also retained C Geovany Soto for a $2.75 million, one-year deal. . … Umpire Hank O'Day, former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th century C/1B Deacon White were voted into the Hall of Fame by the Pre-Integration Era committee.

ELSEWHERE: Former All-Star OF Lenny Dykstra was sentenced to 6½ months in prison for hiding baseball gloves and other heirlooms from his playing days that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing. … Former pitcher Jim Deshaies agreed to a four-year contract to serve as a Cubs TV analyst.

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