Hamilton jumps to Angels for $125M over 5 years

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Hamilton jumps to Angels for $125M over 5 years

For the second straight year, the biggest bat on the free-agent market is headed to the high-rolling Angels.

Josh Hamilton agreed to a $125 million, five-year contract with Los Angeles on Thursday, leaving the AL West rival Texas Rangers and becoming the latest high-profile star to migrate to Southern California.

Last winter, the Angels lured slugger Albert Pujols with a $240 million deal and pitcher C.J. Wilson - who was Hamilton's teammate in Texas - for $77.5 million. Still, the club missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

``He's a tremendous talent and I think that they've shown they're going to be in on a lot of the best players out there,'' Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said about Hamilton. ``No sugarcoating it, we wanted the player back. And he signed with the Angels. They're better.''

In other news, the Boston Red Sox agreed with Ryan Dempster on a two-year deal worth $26.5 million, while the New York Yankees and Ichiro Suzuki closed in on a contract that would guarantee him between $12 million and $13 million.

Players around the majors who finalized deals included Shane Victorino (Red Sox), Kevin Correia (Twins), Jack Hannahan (Reds), Andres Torres (Giants) and Nate McLouth (Orioles).

But it was Hamilton's decision that made headlines.

Daniels said the 2010 AL MVP had reached a deal with the Angels, another coup for owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto. Two people familiar with the talks disclosed the amount and length of the contract, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not yet final.

``It's a great day to be an Angel/Angel fan!'' Wilson said on his Twitter account.

Los Angeles had spent most of the offseason transforming its pitching staff with the additions of starters Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton along with relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett.

Now, Hamilton joins a power-packed lineup in Anaheim that includes Pujols, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales.

The 31-year-old slugger had a career-high 43 home runs with 128 RBIs in 148 games last season, when the wild-card Rangers slipped up down the stretch and lost the division title to Oakland on the final day of the regular season.

Hamilton was considered a risk by some teams because of his history of alcohol and substance abuse, which derailed his career before his surge with Texas over the past five seasons.

``Josh has done a lot for the organization, the organization has done a lot for Josh, a lot of things that aren't public and things of that nature,'' Daniels said. ``I'm a little disappointed how it was handled, but he had a decision to make and he made it.''

Speaking after a Rangers holiday luncheon, Daniels said he had just been informed of the decision by Hamilton's agent, Michael Moye.

Daniels said he was disappointed ``to some degree,'' especially since the Rangers never got a chance to match any offer during the process, as they had expected. Or at least to be contacted before Hamilton chose another team.

``I never expected that he was going to tell us to the dollar what they had, and a chance to offer it. Our full expectation, the phone call was going to be before he signed, and certainly not after,'' Daniels said. ``Everybody's got to make their own calls.''

While he wouldn't get into specifics, Daniels said his understanding is the deal with the Angels ``is certainly more guaranteed money.''

Hamilton's $25 million average salary matches Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard for the second-highest in baseball, trailing only Alex Rodriguez's $27.5 million average with the Yankees.

The agreement came days after the Los Angeles Dodgers added pitchers Zack Greinke and Ryu Hyun-jin, boosting their payroll over $200 million. Greinke, another offseason target, said he chose the Dodgers over the Rangers.

Elsewhere, the Yankees and Suzuki were likely to settle on a two-year deal, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing.

Acquired from Seattle on July 23, the 39-year-old Suzuki revived his career in New York. A 10-time All-Star, he hit .322 with five homers, 27 RBIs and 14 steals in 67 games for the Yankees to help them win the AL East.

New York also planned to finalize a $12 million, one-year contract Friday with Kevin Youkilis.

The Red Sox landed a reliable starter in Dempster, two people familiar with the negotiations said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement was pending a physical.

The right-hander was a combined 12-8 with a 3.38 ERA for the Cubs and Rangers this year. He has thrown more than 200 innings in four of the past five seasons.

Boston held a news conference to introduce Victorino, the speedy outfielder who agreed to a $39 million, three-year contract at the winter meetings last week. But general manager Ben Cherington said he had nothing to announce on Mike Napoli, the catcher-first baseman who also agreed to a $39 million, three-year deal during the winter meetings, pending a physical. That contract has yet to be announced.

``Our hope is that we'll be able to resolve the issues,'' Cherington said. ``We're working on it.''

Minnesota filled another hole on a staff that was full of them last season, completing a $10 million, two-year contract with Correia. The 32-year-old righty, an All-Star in 2011, went 12-11 with a 4.21 ERA for Pittsburgh last season but lost his spot in the rotation when the Pirates traded for Wandy Rodriguez.

``He knows what he's doing on the mound. He's a guy we've seen quite a bit,'' Twins GM Terry Ryan said. ``When you start cracking his numbers, they're very respectable.''

Cincinnati completed a $4 million, two-year contract with free agent Jack Hannahan, giving the NL Central champions added depth at third base.

Torres returned to the Giants, who gave him his first chance as a regular two years ago. The outfielder signed a $2 million, one-year contract with the reigning World Series champions after helping them to the 2010 title. He was traded to the Mets before last season.

``Great to have him back!'' manager Bruce Bochy wrote in a text message. ``He gives us that much more versatility and character in the clubhouse. Everybody loves Andres as a teammate.''

San Francisco also reached a minor league deal with right-hander Chad Gaudin, and Baltimore finalized a $2 million, one-year contract with McLouth.

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AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum, Dave Campbell, Jimmy Golen and Beth Harris and AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.

Gausman looks for that elusive win against Red Sox

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Gausman looks for that elusive win against Red Sox

Tonight's Game:

Boston Red Sox (31-20) vs. Baltimore Orioles (28-21), Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Starting pitchers:

Eduardo Rodriguez (2016 debut) vs. Kevin Gausman (0-2, 3.24)

Keys to the Game: 

Can the Orioles get to Rodriguez early in the game? He is making his first start of 2016

Can Gausman finally get that first win? He hasn't won in seven starts, but the Orioles have won three of them. 

News and Notes:

— Caleb Joseph injured his groin in the eighth inning and was taken to the hospital for an examination.

— Gausman has won just three of his last 31 starts since Aug. 2014. 

— David Ortiz is batting .462 (6-for-13) with two home runs and four RBIs against Gausman.

— Ortiz has hit 26 home runs in 113 games in Baltimore. 

RELATED: ORIOLES BEGIN BIG SERIES WITH BIG DUD

Orioles open big Red Sox series with big loss

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Orioles open big Red Sox series with big loss

BALTIMORE—The Orioles don’t see many knuckleball pitchers.

There’s Toronto’s R.A. Dickey and Boston’s Steven Wright. After a Memorial Day game against Wright, the Orioles will want to forget that he exists.

After nine innings of flailing away at Wright, the Orioles are hoping they can just forget about him for now and move on to more conventional pitchers. 

As the Orioles looked at this week’s four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, they knew it would be a duel for the top of the American League East, but a chance to miss the great David Price. 

Price might have been preferable to nine innings of Wright. 

Wright baffled the Orioles, pitching his third complete game of the season as the Red Sox pull away for a 7-2 win before 43,926 at Oriole Park on Monday. 

The Orioles (28-21) now trail Boston (31-20) by two games. 

Boston led 3-2 heading to the eighth inning, but four runs off Ashur Tolliver and Mychal Givens enabled the Red Sox to win going away. 

The Orioles had just four hits off Wright (5-4), none after the fifth inning when they tied the score at 2. 

Baltimore’s top five hitters, Adam Jones, Hyun Soo Kim, Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, were a combined 0-for-17 against Wright.

“It was a challenge. He had great stuff today. It never ended up where it started. You can’t really predict where to swing. You just hope that you get one that maybe doesn’t move quite as much. If you do, hey, hang with them,” Trumbo said. 

The Orioles tied the game at 2 when Nolan Reimold tripled in the fifth. He scored on Ryan Flaherty’s double. After Caleb Joseph’s single, which snapped an 0-for-19 streak, Jones’ sacrifice fly scored Flaherty.

That was it for the offense. Wright did walk five and throw two wild pitch, and catcher Ryan Hanigan was charged with a passed ball. 

“How do you prepare for it? It’s different. You hope they don’t have a real good one,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

Showalter didn’t have a great day because he knew a call that cost the Orioles a first inning run was wrong, and nothing could be done about it. 

Mookie Betts led off with a single off Tyler Wilson. He moved to second on an infield out by Dustin Pedroia. Xander Bogaerts’ tapper was to the left of home plate. Joseph threw to first, and Betts rounded third and easily scored. 

Showalter came out to argue that the ball was fouled off Bogaerts’ left foot, but none of the umpires saw it, and the call is not one that’s subject to review by replay. 

“I was hoping the first base ump would see it, but it's hard. We can't see it from the dugout and we're closer than the first base umpire for sure. Usually the hitter gives you a reaction that shows you what's going on but he didn't. He smelled a hit and took off. Made good use of the play. We were able to overturn a couple other mistakes but we couldn't overturn that one,” Showalter said. 

Wilson, who allowed three runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, didn’t use the play as an excuse. 

“I saw a great play by Caleb. I thought he got out of there quick, and made an outstanding play to get him at first. He’s a good runner too, and I was a little frustrated with not getting to home plate, though it’s one of those things that you can’t really practice,” Wilson said.

“It just looks a little different and they don’t score there, it’s 2-2 in the seventh rather than 3-2.”

Boston took a 2-0 lead in the third when Betts singled with one out, and after Dustin Pedroia’s single, Bogaerts’ double drove in Betts. 

Jackie Bradley, Jr., led off the sixth with his ninth home run of the season, and Boston led 3-2. 

Wilson (2-4) walked Bogaerts with two outs in the seventh, and Tolliver came in to face David Ortiz. Bogaerts tried to steal second, and was initially called safe, a ruling that was overturned by replay. 

When Tolliver faced Ortiz to start the eighth, he hit a home run to right field, his 14th, and the Red Sox had a 4-2 lead. 

Travis Shaw walked with one out, Blake Swihart singled, and Mychal Givens replaced Tolliver. 

Rookie Marco Hernandez hit his first major league home run with two outs, a three-run shot, and Boston had a five-run lead. 

NOTES: The Orioles have three triples this season, the fewest in baseball. … Bogaerts has a 23-game hitting streak. … The Orioles made two successful replay challenges, and they’re 6-for-12 this season. … Eduardo Rodriguez, making his season debut, faces Kevin Gausman (0-2, 3.24) on Tuesday night. … Joseph injured his groin in the eighth inning and was going to the hospital for an examination. 

Joseph still waiting for first RBI of 2016

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Joseph still waiting for first RBI of 2016

BALTIMORE—It looked like an ideal spot for Caleb Joseph’s first RBI. The Orioles had loaded the bases with two outs, but Joseph grounded out to end the inning.

Joseph began the game with a .175 average and no RBIs in 22 games. His fifth inning single didn't drive in a run, but it snapped an 0-for19 streak. 

In his first two years with the Orioles, Joseph had 20 home runs and 77 RBIs. 

Manager Buck Showalter said that he has confidence that Joseph will start to hit, but defense comes first for a catcher.

“He will again. I think they all know where the priority is. It’s stressed all through the organization. Offense is just a plus. If you can get offense at a position that normally doesn’t bring it…it’s an added plus,” Showalter said. 

“He makes a lot more contributions catching defensively than he does offensively. Caleb can hit. He’ll hit. I know he’s getting a little frustrated by it because he knows he’s better than that. It’s not one of those things that I stay up at night about.”

RELATED: SHOWALTER REITERATES THAT JIMENEZ GETS NEXT START