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MLB notebook: Baseball hopes to reach new drug deal this week

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 8:36 p.m.

NEW YORK — People familiar with the negotiations tell the Associated Press that baseball players and management hope to reach a new drug agreement this week that would increase initial penalties for muscle-building steroids and decrease suspensions for some positive tests caused by unintentional use.

The deal also would eliminate the loophole allowing Alex Rodriguez to earn almost $4 million during his season-long ban, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.

The sides hope to reach an agreement by Sunday.

Around the league

The Mets said former pitcher Frank Viola, 53, will undergo heart surgery next week in New York. ... Former World Series and All-Star closer Neftali Feliz was sent to the minor leagues by the Rangers. ... Former Pirates pitcher Zach Duke was told he'd make the Brewers' Opening Day roster. ... Mets right-hander Matt Harvey will rehabilitate from elbow ligament-replacement surgery in New York during homestands and work at the team's spring training complex in Port St. Lucie when the Mets are on the road. ... Michael Pineda will be the Yankees' fifth starter. He missed the past two seasons after right shoulder surgery. ... The Mariners released left-hander Randy Wolf at his request. Wolf was in camp on a minor league deal after missing last season following Tommy John surgery. ... The Dodgers optioned infielder prospect Alex Guerrero to Triple-A Albuquerque.

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