Furcal, Braves agree on $2.2M

Published: Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 10, 2003 at 10:30 p.m.
ATLANTA - Shortstop Rafael Furcal and the Atlanta Braves agreed Friday to a $2.2 million, one-year contract.
Furcal, 24, batted .275 with eight home runs, 47 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 154 games last season, when he made $405,000. He ranked second in the major leagues with 21 bunt hits.
The NL Rookie of the Year in 2000, Furcal has hit .281 with 16 homers, 114 RBI and 89 stolen bases in 364 games over his three-year major league career.
Furcal's deal makes catcher Henry Blanco the only Atlanta player still eligible for salary arbitration.
  • ANGELS: The World Series champion Anaheim Angels have moved up their first game to March 30, making them the U.S. season opener to the major league season.
    The game was moved to Sunday night from April 1. The Angels will host Texas, take Monday off, then finish the three-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday.
    Anaheim will unveil its World Series trophy and flag on March 30 and the players will receive their championship rings on April 2.
    The baseball season starts March 25 in Tokyo with a two-game series between Oakland and Seattle.
  • YANKEES: Hideki Matsui went to Yankee Stadium for the first time Friday and took his physical, part of the details needed to complete his $21 million, three-year contract.
    Matsui, who arrived from Japan on Thursday, was surrounded by Japanese reporters and photographers when he entered and left the ballpark.
    He is to be introduced at a news conference Tuesday, after the deal is finalized. New Yankees teammate Roger Clemens is expected to attend the news conference.
    The 28-year-old outfielder, likely to play left field, was a three-time MVP of Japan's Central League for the Yomiuri Giants.
    He had a .304 career average in Japan with 332 homers and 889 RBIs in 1,268 games. He was second in the Central League last season with a .334 average and led the league with 50 homers and 107 RBIs.
    Matsui agreed to the deal with the Yankees on Dec. 20.
    He was examined Friday by Dr. Stuart Hershon, the Yankees' team physician.
  • MARLINS: Florida and outfielder Gerald Williams agreed Friday to a a one-year contract worth $325,000, giving the team some much-needed bench help.
    The 36-year-old Williams was hitless in 17 at-bats last season with the New York Yankees. He spent much of the season in the minor leagues with St. Louis and Cincinnati.
    Williams can play all three outfield positions, something Florida needed after choosing not to re-sign Eric Owens this offseason. The Marlins also lost veteran outfielder Tim Raines to retirement.
    Williams hit .258 in 11 seasons with the Yankees, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Tampa Bay. He has 80 career home runs but only eight in the last two seasons.
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