Outfielder Scott Podsednik was designated for assignment yesterday by the White Sox, who no longer had a spot for the catalyst of their 2005 World Series title team.
The 31-year-old never regained the form he showed in 2005, when he batted .290 and stole 59 bases, the second-highest total in franchise history. He hit a pair of home runs during the playoffs, including a game-ending drive in Game 2 of the Series against Houston.
Podsednik was slowed by injuries and batted .243 with 12 steals and 30 runs in 62 games last season, his third in Chicago. He hit .261 and stole 40 bases in 2006.
Indians sign Kobayashi
The Indians became the latest team to tap into Japan's talented pitching pool, agreeing to a $6.25 million, two-year contract with free agent closer Masahide Kobayashi
The deal for Kobayashi, who had at least 20 saves in each of the past seven seasons, includes a $3.25 million club option for 2010.
The 33-year-old spent the past nine seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines. The righthander is one of three pitchers in Japanese baseball history with more than 200 saves.
He will move into the back end of Cleveland's bullpen as a setup man for closer Joe Borowski, who led the AL with 45 saves last season. The Indians recently exercised Borowski's $4 million option for 2008.
The Indians, who took the World Series champion Red Sox to Game 7 of the AL Championship Series, are hoping they can follow the success Boston had in signing Japanese pitchers. Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka and reliever Hideki Okajima were instrumental in helping the Sox win their second Series title in four years.
Girardi names staff
New Yankees manager Joe Girardi
announced his 2008 coaching staff, which has some holdovers but some fresh faces as well. The returnees are hitting coach Kevin Long,
first-base coach Tony Pena
, and Dave Eiland,
who traveled with the Yankees last September and has been promoted to pitching coach. Rob Thomson
, who also worked under Joe Torre
, will be Girardi's bench coach. Two members of Girardi's 2006 staff when he was with the Marlins, Bobby Meacham
and Mike Harkey
, have joined Girardi in New York. Meacham will coach third base and Harkey will be the bullpen coach.
Mets get Estrada
The Mets acquired Johnny Estrada
from the Brewers for reliever Guillermo Mota
, moving quickly to plug a hole at catcher after talks with Yorvit Torrealba
collapsed. The 31-year-old Estrada batted .278 with 10 homers and 54 RBIs for the Brewers last season. He can become a free agent after the 2008 season . . . Geoff Blum
, who helped beat Houston in the '05 Series while with the White Sox, agreed to a $1.1 million, one-year contract with the Astros. The 34-year-old infielder played for the Astros in 2002 and '03. In 2005, his 14th-inning homer for the White Sox beat Houston in Game 3 of the Series. Blum hit .252 with five homers and 33 RBIs for San Diego last season.
The defense team of Greg Anderson
, who spent months in federal prison for refusing to testify against his training client, baseball home run king Barry Bonds
, told the New York Daily News that Anderson won't turn on Bonds. Bonds recently was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, and Anderson could be called to testify again. He faces a return to prison if he doesn't cooperate . . . Kenny Rogers
is representing himself in negotiations with the Tigers and hopes the team will be patient with him as he learns his new craft. Rogers and Tigers president Dave Dombrowski
had a talk Monday aimed at bringing the pitcher back for a third season in Detroit. "I just let him know I need to get up to speed on my new job, so I need some time to do so," Rogers wrote in an e-mail . . . Lawrence Baras
of Brookline, the founder of Israel's financially struggling pro baseball league, is being sued in US District Court in Boston by a Florida woman who claims he defrauded her of the $275,000 she invested in his bagel business and used the money for personal expenses and to support the league.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.