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Ramírez, Dodgers finally reach accord

Associated Press / March 5, 2009
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The winter of discontent in Mannywood is over.

Manny Ramírez and the Los Angeles Dodgers officially agreed yesterday on a $45 million, two-year contract that keeps him with the NL West champions. The slugger can void the second season of the deal and again become a free agent.

The stalemate was broken during a 6 a.m. meeting that brought the sides face to face at owner Frank McCourt's Malibu home. The gathering came after weeks of protracted negotiations that led to starts, stops, offers and subsequent rejections.

McCourt's frustration with Ramírez's agent Scott Boras surfaced, with the owner describing the agent as "challenging to work with."

The Dodgers confirmed the deal shortly after Ramírez passed a physical. He is set to meet with the media today in Phoenix.

Ramirez gets $10 million this year, and $15 million in deferred money with no interest, payable in $5 million installments each Jan. 15 from 2010 through 2012. If it winds up as a two-year deal, he gets $10 million each season, with three payments of $8,333,333 each Jan. 15 from 2011-13.

Ramirez has until November to decide whether to void the second season.

A-Rod's hip ailing
Alex Rodriguez has a new problem.

Hours after Rodriguez played Tuesday for the Dominican Republic in a tune-up for the World Baseball Classic, the New York Yankees announced he would get his ailing hip checked by a specialist.

An exam Saturday revealed a cyst in Rodriguez's right hip. The 33-year-old slugger was scheduled to visit Dr. Marc Philippon yesterday in Vail, Colo.

Rodriguez's status for the WBC is uncertain. He didn't play in the Dominican Republic's 6-1 loss to the Orioles yesterday.

Martínez auditioning
His work done, Pedro Martínez walked off the mound and received a bear hug from old friend David Ortiz.

Wearing a broad smile, Martínez pointed skyward. Then he slapped high-fives with teammates who jumped out of the dugout to partake in the celebration.

It was just like old times.

Martinez hasn't landed a major league contract as a free agent, in part because he's 37 and has struggled through three consecutive injury-riddled seasons. Yet the righthander is still a favorite of baseball fans and is appreciated by his teammates on the Dominican Republic squad, which is preparing for the WBC.

Martínez went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts for the Mets last year, but he looked sharp against the Orioles.

It was an uplifting performance for Martínez, who performed far better than his pitching line of two innings, three hits, a walk and two strikeouts would indicate.

Santana wants opener
New York Mets ace Johan Santana wants the ball on Opening Day. Santana threw 46 pitches off a mound in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and made it clear he wants to start April 6 in Cincinnati despite concerns over his tender elbow. "I appreciate everything they're doing trying to protect me and trying to keep me healthy," Santana said. "I've been doing this for years now and I know exactly what I have to do and I'm pretty sure I'll be ready for opening day." . . . Oakland pitcher Justin Duchscherer will get a second opinion on his sore right elbow, and it was uncertain whether he'll be ready to begin the season . . . Indians closer Kerry Wood reported no problems with his aching back after pitching batting practice for the first time.

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