Ex-Pirate will wear pinstripes this year

The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — Joining the New York Yankees caused Neil Walker to smile, despite a hefty drop in salary.

The free agent infielder agreed Monday to a $4 million, one-year contract, a 77 percent pay cut in a deal that allows New York prospects Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar more time to mature in the minor leagues.

Walker earned $17.2 million last season, when he accepted a qualifying offer from the New York Mets.

The one-time Pittsburgh Pirate likely will start at second base and Brandon Drury, acquired from Arizona last month, will play third. Walker can make $500,000 in performance bonuses: $125,000 each for 425, 450, 475 and 500 plate appearances.

The 32-year-old hit .265 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs last year for the Mets and Milwaukee, who acquired him Aug. 12.

Pirates falter

BRADENTON, Fla. — Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy gave up one run and struck out five in five innings as the Orioles beat Pittsburgh, 8-5, in a Grapefruit League game Monday afternoon.

Jonathan Schoop hit his third home run of the spring for the Orioles.

Starling Marte doubled for Pittsburgh and is batting .478 this spring. Teammates Josh Harrison, Colin Moran, Francisco Cervelli and Cory Dickerson each added two hits. Jose Osuna drove in two runs.

Pirates starter Alex McRae worked three innings, giving up one hit and no runs. He struck out two and walked one.

Gonzalez returns

The Colorado Rockies finalized a $5 million, one-year contract to bring back three-time All-Star and popular clubhouse leader Carlos Gonzalez.

His agreement was announced Monday and includes $3 million in bonuses based on days on the active roster.

Gonzalez had a $20 million salary last year in the final season of an $80 million, seven-year contract and became a free agent after nine seasons with the Rockies. The three-time Gold Glove outfielder struggled for most of last season as the Rockies returned to the postseason for the first time since 2009. He showed signs of breaking out of his funk down the stretch, though, hitting six of his 14 homers in September.

Gonzalez was a member of the Rockies team that went to the playoffs in 2009. The team returned to the postseason last season but lost 11-8 at Arizona in the NL wild-card game as Gonzalez went 2 for 5 with an RBI.

The 32-year-old was acquired from Oakland on Nov. 12, 2008, as part of a deal that sent Matt Holliday to the Athletics. Gonzalez could not find a long-term deal in a cool market for free agents and returns to a crowded outfield that includes reigning NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon, good friend Gerardo Parra, Ian Desmond, Raimel Tapia and David Dahl, who missed last season with a rib injury.

Twins add Lynn

TAMPA, Fla. — By patiently monitoring baseball’s slow-moving market this winter, the Minnesota Twins have made several significant improvements to the team that made a surprise run last season to the AL wild card game.

The Twins finalized a $12 million, one-year contract on Monday with right-hander Lance Lynn, another low-risk move toward strengthening their pitching staff that ranked 19th in the major leagues in 2017 with a 4.59 ERA.

Lynn will take the mound today for an exhibition against Baltimore.

After missing the 2016 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Lynn went 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA in 33 starts for St. Louis in 2017 last year. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Lynn was an All-Star in 2012, his first full season in the majors. He was the 39th overall draft pick in 2008 by the Cardinals out of Mississippi.

With the Twins, Lynn will join fellow newcomer Jake Odorizzi, acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay, in the rotation. Jose Berrios will likely take the mound on opening day on March 29 against the Orioles, and Ervin Santana will join the group in late April or early May once he’s recovered from surgery on his middle finger. Kyle Gibson will likely round out the starting five.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Twins released right-hander Anibal Sanchez on Sunday after a three-week stint with the club. Sanchez gets $403,226 in termination pay rather than his $2.5 million salary, which was not guaranteed.

By signing Lynn, who turned down a $17.4 million qualifying offer by the Cardinals, the Twins forfeited the 95th overall pick in the amateur draft in June.

Lucroy finds work

OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics landed a new starting catcher, finalizing a $6.5 million, one-year contract with free agent Jonathan Lucroy.

The team announced the deal Monday and Lucroy was in spring camp at Mesa, Arizona. The 31-year-old two-time All-Star batted .265 with six home runs and 40 RBIs in 123 games last season for Texas and Colorado, which acquired him on July 30.

Bruce Maxwell, the first major leaguer to kneel for the national anthem last year following NFL players’ leads, had been the projected starter before the acquisition of Lucroy.


n Bartolo Colon could be pitching his way into the Texas Rangers’ rotation at age 44 as he continues to shut down hitters half his age in spring training.

The Rangers also ended their try to move Matt Bush from the bullpen into the rotation.

“I’m very happy and I get to go back to doing what I know how to do,” Bush said Monday. “There are plenty of good starters and this is a role they need me to go back to. They know what they are doing and I feel like it is the right decision.”

The Rangers’ rotation has a lot of moving parts.

Cole Hamels, Matt Moore and Doug Fister appear to be locks for the top three spots. Mike Minor remains a candidate, but could be switched to closer, a role he was effective in at the end of last season with Kansas City.

Left-hander Martin Perez threw 69 pitches in a minor league game Monday, allowing six runs, three earned, in four innings. He has been set back in spring training after breaking his right elbow in December. He could begin the season on the disabled list.

This past Sunday in a start against the Los Angeles Angels, Colon allowed one unearned run over four innings. He permitted two hits, walked none and struck out three. He threw first-pitch strikes to the 15 hitters he faced.