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Napoli to Boston, Loney To Tampa Bay, A-Rod Out

December 4, 2012
By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Boston Red Sox began to play catch-up by getting All-Star catcher Mike Napoli, Tampa Bay took a chance on James Loney and the New York Yankees prepared for more time minus Alex Rodriguez during a brisk Monday at baseball's winter meetings.

Soon after the Hall of Fame welcomed three new members from long ago, teams got busy. The World Series champion San Francisco Giants kept center fielder Angel Pagan, while the Texas Rangers brought back catcher Geovany Soto and made a deal for injured closer Joakim Soria.

Top free agent Josh Hamilton remained in play after hitting 43 home runs with 128 RBI for the Rangers last season.

Coming off a last-place finish, Boston tried to resolve its catching situation. Napoli got a $39 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

The Red Sox are aiming at another prize, too, exploring trade possibilities to pry Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets. Boston GM Ben Cherington didn't mention the knuckleballer by name, simply saying the price for pitching was "always steep for the better guys."

The Yankees know Rodriguez won't be in the lineup on opening day. The 37-year-old third baseman, looking nothing like the slugger who ranks fifth on the career list with 647 homers, will have surgery on his left hip and could be out until the All-Star break.

"It's a significant blow," Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. "But we've dealt with significant blows and, hopefully, we'll be able to deal with this one, as well."

Rodriguez is a 14-time All-Star and baseball's highest-paid player at $275 million. This will be his sixth stint on the disabled list in six seasons, including a trip in 2009 after surgery on his right hip.

Loney found a new home in Tampa Bay. The 28-year-old first baseman hit a combined .249 with six homers and 41 RBI for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston.

Soria reached a two-year agreement with Texas after missing the entire season for Kansas City because of his second Tommy John surgery. The Royals declined their option on the two-time All-Star for next year.

The first announcement at the meetings podium came from the Hall of Fame, which said its pre-integration panel had elected former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, longtime umpire Hank O'Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White. They were honored for their achievements before the first half of the 20th century, and increased Cooperstown's membership to 300.

Ruppert brought Babe Ruth to New York, built Yankee Stadium and transformed the pinstripers into baseball's most dominant power. He did so much, many people just figured he was already enshrined.

"The family is so thrilled," great-grand-nephew K. Jacob Ruppert told The Associated Press by phone. "His mark is now indelible."

"Growing up, I was under the impression that he was inducted sometime in the 1940s or 1950s. But I guess it never happened. Some things in history aren't appreciated. If it's not in the here and now, it's off the radar screen."

Expanded replay, however, is still important to Major League Baseball.

Commissioner Bud Selig has said he wants to add video reviews for trapped balls and fair-or-foul calls next season. MLB executive Joe Torre said "we're looking at it" but offered no guarantee that the technology would be in place by then.

 
 

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