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Baseball notebook

Braves finalize deal with Lowe

Ex-Sox will lead revamped rotation

Andruw Jones hit .158 in 75 games with the Dodgers. Andruw Jones hit .158 in 75 games with the Dodgers. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)
Associated Press / January 16, 2009
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The Atlanta Braves finalized their $60 million, four-year contract with Derek Lowe yesterday after the former Red Sox righthander passed a physical.

Lowe went 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA for the Dodgers last season. He likely will become the top starter in Atlanta's restructured rotation, joined by fellow newcomers Javier Vazquez and Kenshin Kawakami.

The 35-year-old Lowe will be introduced at Turner Field today, capping a comeback week for the Braves after longtime starter John Smoltz signed with the Red Sox, stirring up bitter complaints by fans and even star third baseman Chipper Jones about the direction of the team.

"This has been a very slow-developing offseason. I think the economy probably has a lot to do with that," said Braves general manager Frank Wren. "I can understand people getting a little impatient. We were getting impatient. We were wanting to get things done and have an idea what our club was going to look like."

Lowe will receive $15 million a year in a contract that runs through 2012. Most enticing for the Braves, he's never been on the disabled list, making him one of only three current players (along with Livan Hernandez and Brad Ausmus) to play at least 12 years without ever going down with an injury.

Bonds seeks ban
Lawyers for Barry Bonds attacked as inadmissible much of the government's known evidence in its perjury prosecution, including planned testimony from former mistress Kimberly Bell that she witnessed rages and physical changes allegedly caused by steroid use.

The same court filing asking for the evidence ban also shows federal prosecutors intend to call athletes who received a so-called doping calendar from Bonds's personal trainer, Greg Anderson.

Though they aren't named in the filing, current and former big leaguers Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Benito Santiago, Armando Rios, and Bobby Estalella all have been linked to Anderson, who is alleged to have maintained a doping calendar for Bonds.

Bonds's attorneys said it appears the government wants to call the athletes rather than Anderson to discuss the calendar, and they asked a judge to prevent that because that doesn't prove who created the documents.

The lawyers also asked for a blanket prohibition on showing the jury the calendar even if Anderson does testify, arguing there's no proof that Bonds knew the documents existed before he testified before a December 2003 grand jury investigating sports doping.

Grand jury summons
Connecting the dots in the case against Roger Clemens, prosecutors brought convicted steroids dealer Kirk Radomski to the grand jury in Washington, a day before they're to meet with Brian McNamee, who says he injected the seven-time Cy Young Award winner with performance-enhancing drugs.

A federal grand jury has been asked to determine whether Clemens should be indicted on charges of lying to Congress last year when he denied using steroids and human growth hormone.

Radomski and McNamee figure to be among the primary witnesses against Clemens.

"I can't comment on an ongoing investigation," Radomski told ESPN.com. "I don't want to do anything to cross them up."

Radomski, a former Mets clubhouse attendant who admitted giving dozens of major leaguers steroids and human growth hormone, pleaded guilty in 2008 to distributing steroids and laundering money. He led federal investigators and baseball investigator George Mitchell to McNamee, Clemens's former personal trainer.

Dodgers release Jones
Andruw Jones, a $36.2 million bust with the Dodgers, was released.

Heralded as the answer to the Dodgers' power-hitting void when he signed his rich two-year contract in December 2007, Jones was injured part of last season and was mostly ineffective otherwise, hitting only .158 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 75 games.

"Obviously, this is a disappointing day for both us and Andruw, as we all had high hopes for him when he signed last year given his track record and everything that we had seen from him in the past and heard about him," Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said in a statement. "I know that Andruw is also very disappointed in the way things turned out and the best thing to do at this point is to turn the page and we wish him well."

The Dodgers tried to trade Jones, but found no takers. The Dodgers owe him $22.1 million, which he'll receive over the next six years.

Howard, Fielder file
Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder were among 111 players who filed for salary arbitration, an annual ritual that gives many of them large pay increases. World Series MVP Cole Hamels, Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla, and White Sox closer Bobby Jenks also filed . . . Free agent righthander Bartolo Colon, a former Cy Young winner and two-time All-Star who went 4-2 last season for the Red Sox, agreed to a $1 million, one-year contract with the White Sox. A two-time 20-game winner, Colon could earn an additional $2 million based on innings . . . David Eckstein and the Padres agreed on an $850,000, one-year contract, and the 2006 World Series MVP, who is expected to play second base for San Diego, can earn another $150,000 in performance bonuses . . . All-Star shortstop Michael Young will accept the Rangers' decision to move him to third base to make room for heralded prospect Elvis Andrus, and doesn't expect to be traded . . . Righthander Dave Bush and the Brewers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $4 million, one-year contract . . . Rico Brogna, who played for five teams, including the Red Sox, in a nine-year major league career, was hired as an assistant football coach at Wesleyan University.

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