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MLB notebook: Former Pirates catcher Barajas signs with D'backs

| Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, 6:06 p.m.
Former Pirates catcher Rod Barajas signed a minor league contract Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, with the Diamondbacks — the team he started his major league career with in 1999.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Former Pirates catcher Rod Barajas signed a minor league contract Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, with the Diamondbacks — the team he started his major league career with in 1999. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Former Pirates catcher Rod Barajas returned to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he started his major league career.

The team said Sunday the 37-year-old agreed to a minor league contract. He will go to spring training and compete with Wil Nieves for a backup job behind Miguel Montero.

Barajas hit .206 with 11 homers and 31 RBI in 321 at-bats for the Pirates last year. According to STATS, he threw out just four of 97 runners attempting to steal on him.

Also, infielder Aaron Hill's $40.5 million, four-year contract with the Diamondbacks calls for salaries of $11 million in 2014 and $12 million in each of the following two seasons.

The 30-year-old Hill was signed for $5.5 million this year and agreed to the new deal Friday.

Issues in Hernandez deal

Felix Hernandez's record-setting contract with the Seattle Mariners may have hit a snag.

ESPN reported that after the framework of a seven-year, $175 million deal — a record for a pitcher — had been discussed, concerns have arisen about his pitching elbow.

Sources said the two sides aren't close to finalizing the extension because of the medical issue.

Hernandez, a right-hander, has thrown 1,620 13 innings before his 27th birthday.

Hernandez is under contract with the Mariners for $19.5 million this season and $20 million in 2014.

Indians sign Dice-K, Giambi

The Cleveland Indians signed Japanese right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor league contract. Matsuzaka, who pitched for Indians manager Terry Francona with the Boston Red Sox, must pass a physical for the deal to be finalized. The 32-year-old Matsuzaka has won 50 major league games since signing a $52 million, six-year contract with Boston as free agent in 2007.

The Indians also signed first baseman-designated hitter Jason Giambi to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The 42-year-old Giambi spent the past three-plus seasons filling a part-time role with the Rockies.

Freese gets 1-year deal

Former World Series MVP David Freese will earn $3.15 million under his one-year contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, nearly six times the $518,000 he made last year. A St. Louis County native, Freese hit .283 with 20 home runs and 79 RBI last season and earned his first All-Star appearance.

Hairston, Cubs finalize pact

Outfielder Scott Hairston and the Chicago Cubs finalized a two-year contract. The 32-year-old Hairston hit .263 with a career-high 20 homers, 57 RBI and 25 doubles last year in his second season with the New York Mets.

Galarraga joins Reds

Pitcher Armando Galarraga agreed to a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds and will try to win a job at spring training.

The 31-year-old right-hander was 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA in five starts last year with the Houston Astros. He lost a perfect game on June 2, 2010, while pitching for Detroit when first base umpire Jim Joyce called Cleveland's Jason Donald safe on what replays showed should have been the final out of the game.

Orioles' contract details

All-Star closer Jim Johnson will make $6.5 million, and pitcher Jason Hammel will earn $6.75 million under their one-year contracts with the Baltimore Orioles. In addition, the Orioles were working toward a $5.8 million, two-year contract with middle reliever Darren O'Day.

Lowe gets shot with L.A.

Mark Lowe and the Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to a minor league contract, giving the team another bullpen option in spring training. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-2 with a 3.43 ERA in 36 relief appearances for the Texas Rangers last year.

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