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Baseball briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 12, 2001


Red Sox, Cone agree to one-year deal

BOSTON -- David Cone left the Yankees for their biggest rival.

The 38-year-old former Cy Young Award winner agreed Thursday to a one-year contract with Boston.

"He wants to beat the Yankees," Boston general manager Dan Duquette said. "Why else would he sign with the Red Sox?"

Cone, who has five World Series rings, has a 184-116 record and a 3.40 ERA over a 15-year career but struggled last season, going 4-14 with a 6.91 ERA in 155 innings.

He did not start in the post-season, making just two relief appearances. One was key: In Game 4 of the World Series, he got Mike Piazza to fly out in the fifth inning.

"Obviously we still think he has a lot left to offer," Red Sox pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said. "He's one of those class pitchers of the last decade, one of the clutch pitchers over the last decade. He's got something to prove."

The deal is not guaranteed, meaning Boston could release him during spring training and owe just termination pay. But if he makes the roster and pitches regularly during the season, he could make between $4-million and $5-million.

The Red Sox announced the agreement at the 62nd annual dinner of Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The crowd of almost 1,200 roared -- but not as loudly as after the introduction of Manny Ramirez, Boston's new $160-million outfielder.

Cone will compete for a fifth spot in the rotation with Tomo Okha, Paxton Crawford, Tim Wakefield, Pete Schourek and Sun-Woo Kim. Boston's first four starters are Pedro Martinez, Frank Castillo, Rolando Arrojo and Hideo Nomo.

Cone had been with the Yankees since 1995, but he wasn't interested in returning as a fifth starter next season. The Yankees wanted to cut his salary, $12-million last season, and offered a guarantee of only $500,000.

He lost eight straight decisions during a 15-start winless streak last season and just seemed to be regaining form when he dislocated his left shoulder Sept. 5.

BREWERS: Right-hander Jimmy Haynes agreed to a $2.2-million, one-year contract, more than double his salary last season. Haynes, 28, was 12-13 with a 5.33 ERA in 33 games last season, leading the team with a career-high 199 1/3 innings.

CUBS: Sammy Sosa is scheduled to meet with team officials today in Fort Lauderdale to discuss a contract extension. The team reportedly has offered a $68-million, four-year extension to Sosa, who signed a $42.5-million, four-year extension in 1997. Sosa, 32, wants a five-year extension for $85-million to $90-million, according to reports.

METS: Left-hander Tom Martin was acquired from Cleveland for catcher Javier Ochoa. Martin, 30, was 1-0 with a 4.05 ERA in 31 games with the Indians, striking out 21 in 33 1/3 innings. Ochoa, 21, spent most of last season at Class A Columbia.

PHILLIES: Right-hander Jason Boyd was designated for assignment to open a roster space for outfielder Brian L. Hunter, signed this week. Philadelphia has 10 days to trade Boyd, release him or send him outright to the minors.

RANGERS: Right-hander Pat Mahomes, let go by the Mets last month, agreed to a minor-league contract.

YANKEES: Don Zimmer will return as bench coach this season, his 53rd in professional baseball. Mel Stottlemyre also will return as pitching coach after he missed parts of last season because of cancer.

MINOR LEAGUES: Tom Lawless, a utility infielder whose career is best remembered for a three-run homer in Game 4 of the 1987 World Series, was hired as manager of the Fort Wayne Wizards of the Midwest League.

MEMORABILIA: With federal prosecutors estimating as much as 90 percent of memorabilia to be counterfeit, Major League Baseball is starting a program to authenticate autographs and game equipment at ballparks. Representatives from Arthur Andersen LLP will be sent to about 200 games this season. The games will be chosen for their "milestone" quality -- such as opening day or when a player is expected to reach 3,000 hits. The representatives will affix a special hologram sticker to items such as bats, balls, hats and other memorabilia. The items will be listed in a database on baseball's Web site for potential buyers to check.

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