January 23

Major League notebook: Red Sox beards are going

The World Series champs will start the season with a fresh new look.

The Associated Press

BOSTON — For the Boston Red Sox, bushy beards are so last year.

click image to enlarge

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, the bandleader of the beard brigade during Boston's run to the 2013 World Series title, said he will be shaving his beard off before spring training.

The Associated Press

Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, the bandleader of the beard brigade during Boston’s run to the 2013 World Series title, said he will be shaving his off before spring training so he can file it “in the archive” with his memories of the team’s improbable championship.

“It was a pretty cool experience. Want to bottle it up and enjoy it,” he said Thursday, still with his recognizable chin scruff. “I’ll start 2014 pretty clean.”

Some players already have shaved their beards, but Jon Lester was sporting a trimmed-back style before the 75th annual dinner of the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Designated hitter David Ortiz and outfielder Shane Victorino cut theirs off for charity shortly after the World Series.

Manager John Farrell said the rest will soon follow.

“We’ve come to an agreement that when we get on the field we’ll be cleaned up,” he said.

All three of the team’s recent World Series trophies were on display in the ballroom before the dinner, where former Atlanta Braves pitcher and newly elected Hall of Famer Tom Glavine received the organization’s highest honor, the Judge Emil Fuchs Award for long and meritorious service to baseball. Pitcher John Lackey was honored with the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity.

YANKEES: Masahiro Tanaka chose to play for the team because it appreciated him the most among the many major league teams chasing him.

“They gave me the highest evaluation and are a world-famous team,” Tanaka said in Tokyo after agreeing to a $155 million, seven-year deal with the Yankees.

Tanaka said he was “relieved” the deal was done and looked forward to standing on the mound at Yankee Stadium.

Asked what his goal will be, Tanaka’s response was direct: “To become world champions.”

In addition to the deal with Tanaka, the Yankees must pay a $20 million fee to his Japanese team, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, over the next 18 months.

His agreement calls for $22 million in each of the first six seasons and $23 million in 2020, and it allows him to terminate the deal after the 2017 season and become a free agent.

Asked to deliver a message to Yankees fans in English, Tanaka said he plans to let his performance on the field do the talking.

“I don’t speak English so I’ll just have to win the trust and confidence of the fans with my performance on the field,” the 25-year-old right-hander said.

RAYS: Tampa Bay signed right-hander pitcher Grant Balfour to a 2-year, $12 million deal.

Balfour, 36, was 62 of 67 in save opportunities the past two seasons with Oakland.

Balfour played with Tampa Bay from 2007-10 and helped the Rays reach the 2008 World Series.

ROYALS: Reliever Jon Rauch agreed to a minor league contract and will report to the major league spring training camp.

Rauch, 35, a right-hander, was just 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA in 15 appearances for the Marlins last season, but he was 3-7 with a respectable 3.59 ERA with the Mets in 2012.

MARINERS: Outfielder Endy Chavez is remaining with Seattle and will report to spring training next month with a minor league contract.

The move gives Seattle additional outfield depth.

Seattle will induct former manager Lou Piniella into the team Hall of Fame on Aug. 9.

INDIANS: Cleveland agreed to terms with free-agent reliever David Aardsma on a minor league contract with an invitation to training camp.

Aardsma, 32, spent most of last season in the New York Mets’ bullpen. He went 2-2 with a 4.31 ERA in 43 games. He stranded all 19 runners he inherited and allowed one run over his final nine outings. Aardsma was in training camp with the Yankees last season and with Miami before signing with the Mets in May.

BREWERS: The team is in talks with free agent Matt Garza to fortify its pitching staff.

Milwaukee issued a statement following reports of a $52 million, four-year agreement. The team said a deal hasn’t yet been reached.

GIANTS: Infielder Joaquin Arias agreed to a $2.6 million, two-year contract to avoid salary arbitration.

PADRES: Xavier Nady is among the players who were invited to spring training on minor league contracts.

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