November 17, 2012

Major League Notebook: Melky Cabrera joins Blue Jays

The Associated Press

NEW YORK - The Toronto Blue Jays made another big deal Friday -- outfielder Melky Cabrera is set to join them in his return from a drug suspension.

Cabrera and the Blue Jays reached agreement on a two-year contract worth $16 million. The deal is pending a physical.

Earlier this week, the Blue Jays got shortstop Jose Reyes, and pitchers Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Miami Marlins in a blockbuster trade that could involve a dozen players.

Toronto hasn't reached the playoffs since winning its second straight World Series in 1993, and often has been stuck behind big spenders in the AL East. After going 73-89 this year, the Blue Jays have made a splash in the offseason.

Cabrera, 28, was leading the National League in hitting at .346 for the San Francisco Giants when he drew a 50-game suspension Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone test.

Cabrera later asked to be removed from consideration for the NL batting title, feeling it would be a tainted crown -- a rule change in the number of required plate appearances for the champion let his Giants teammate, Buster Posey, win at .336.

The Giants didn't put Cabrera on their postseason roster on the way to winning the World Series, even after he became eligible at the start of the NL Championship Series.

Cabrera hit 11 home runs with 60 RBI in his lone year with San Francisco. He hit .305 with 18 homers and 87 RBI the previous season with Kansas City, then was traded to the Giants.

Cabrera made his major league debut in 2005 with the New York Yankees and stayed with them until being traded to Atlanta after the 2009 season.

The Blue Jays had their share of sluggers -- Edwin Encarnacion hit 42 homers and Jose Bautista added 27 -- but didn't score at an exceptional rate.

Toronto averaged 4.42 runs per game last season, slightly below the AL average.

Cabrera is friendly with Encarnacion and Bautista, another reason that he felt comfortable joining the Blue Jays.

MARLINS: Chuck Hernandez was hired as the pitching coach and Rob Leary as bench coach under new manager Mike Redmond.

BRAVES: Atlanta agreed to a two-year deal with backup catcher Gerald Laird.

ATHLETICS-PADRES: Oakland traded right-hander Tyson Ross and minor league first baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones to San Diego for infielder Andy Parrino and left-hander Andrew Werner.

THE ALAMODOME, a 20-year-old facility in San Antonio that has hosted NFL games, the NCAA Final Four and the NBA finals, will be home to baseball for the first time when Texas and San Diego play two exhibition games March 29-30.

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