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[December 18, 2014]  The Sports Xchange
 
 12/18/2014 MLB Note - Atlanta Braves Markakis, Nick

RF Nick Markakis underwent fusion surgery on a herniated disk in his neck Dec. 17, but he should ready to join the team for spring training in late February. Recovery time after the operation is projected to be eight weeks.

The Braves signed Markakis, 31, to a four-year, $4 million contract knowing that he had the injury since before the 2013 season when he was with the Orioles. Markakis played through the neck injury last season, appearing in 155 games and batting .276/.342/.386 with 14 home runs and 50 RBIs.

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MLB Note - Kansas City Royals Volquez, Edinson

RHP Edinson Volquez and the Royals agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal on Dec. 17, multiple media outlets reported. Volquez must pass a physical to complete the contract.

Volquez, 31, posted the lowest ERA of his career last season, 3.04, while finishing 13-7 in 32 games (31 starts) for the Pirates. He signed a one-year, $5 million deal with Pittsburgh last winter after splitting the 2013 season between the Padres and the Dodgers. Over 10 years in the majors with the Texas Rangers, Reds, Padres, Dodgers and Pirates, Volquez has a 66-59 record and a 4.44 ERA in 191 games (185 starts).
 

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MLB Note - Seattle Mariners Ruggiano, Justin

OF Justin Ruggiano was acquired by the Mariners on Dec. 17 in a trade that sent RHP Matt Brazis to the Cubs.

Ruggiano, 32, hit .281 with a .337 on-base percentage, a .429 slugging percentage, six homers and 28 RBIs in 81 games during his lone season in Chicago. He is arbitration-eligible this winter.

"I think he's a nice fit," Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said. "We were in pursuit of an outfielder that can play all three outfield spots. And he can do that. "We view this guy as a guy that can certainly hit left-handed pitching. He's done that in his career. He's a tough kid. He's a gamer and wants to win.

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MLB Note - Baltimore Orioles Davis, Chris

1B Chris Davis received approval from Major League Baseball to use Adderall for the 2015 season. Davis, 28, was suspended 25 games in September for testing positive for amphetamines. He missed the final 17 games of the 2014 regular season and then sat out all seven of the Orioles' playoff games due to the suspension. He has one more game left to serve and will miss Opening Day. Manager Buck Showalter said Dec. 16 that he was told by the first baseman of the exemption. "It's a good thing," Showalter said in reference to Davis gaining therapeutic use exemption for Adderall, which is commonly used to combat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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MLB Note - Cleveland Indians Kipnis, Jason

2B Jason Kipnis had left ring finger surgery Dec. 16, and he could be slowed at the start of spring training. Kipnis damaged a tendon in the finger during an offseason weight-training workout, and a pin was inserted to help the healing process. According to Indians trainer James Quinlan, Kipnis might not be ready to bat at the start of spring training, though he should be set for all other baseball activities.

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MLB Note - San Francisco Giants Romo, Sergio

RHP Sergio Romo and the Giants agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract, according to multiple reports Dec. 17. The Giants decided to bring back Romo, a free agent, after he lost the closer's job last season and became a setup man.

Romo, who has been with the Giants during their three title runs since 2010, finished 2014 regular season by giving up just two runs and three walks while striking out 23 in his last 19 1/3 innings covering 23 outings. In 64 games last season, he finished with a 6-4 record and 23 saves with 3.72 ERA.

During the postseason, Romo went 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA, with both decisions coming in the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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MLB Note - Chicago Cubs Brazis, Matt

RHP Matt Brazis was acquired by the Cubs on Dec. 17 in a trade that sent OF Justin Ruggiano to the Mariners.

Brazis, 25, went a combined 4-1 with six saves and a 2.36 ERA in 40 relief appearances between high Class A and Double-A last season.

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MLB Note - San Diego Padres Myers, Wil

OF Wil Myers was the centerpiece of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17, and he will head from the Rays to the Padres is all players pass their physicals and the swap is completed.

Myers was one of the top prospects in baseball when he was acquired by the Rays from the Royals in the December 2012 deal that sent right-hander James Shields to Kansas City. He hit .293 with a .354 on-base percentage, a .478 slugging percentage, 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 88 games in 2013, and he won AL Rookie of the Year. Last season, he batted .222/.294/.320 with six homers and 35 RBIs in 87 games. Myers was held back in 2014 by wrist injuries, a right wrist fracture that sidelined him for nearly half the season and a nagging left wrist injury that may have led to some of his early offensive struggles.

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MLB Note - Tampa Bay Rays Rivera, Rene

C Rene Rivera is headed from the Padres to the Rays as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Rivera, 31, hit .252/.319/.432 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs in 103 games for the Padres last season.

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MLB Note - Tampa Bay Rays Smith, Burch

RHP Burch Smith is headed from the Padres to the Rays as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Smith, 24, missed almost the entire 2014 season due to a forearm injury before returning to pitch well in the Arizona Fall League. He went 1-3 with a 6.44 ERA in seven major league starts for San Diego in 2013.

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MLB Note - Tampa Bay Rays Bauers, Jake

1B Jake Bauers is headed from the Padres to the Rays as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Bauers, 19, batted .296/.376/.414 with eight homers and 64 RBIs in 112 games for low Class A Fort Wayne last season.

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MLB Note - Tampa Bay Rays Souza, Steven

OF Steven Souza Jr. is headed from the Nationals to the Rays as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Souza, 25, gained a bit of fame for his diving catch that saved RHP Jordan Zimmermann's no-hitter in September. He struggled at the plate for Washington (.130/.231/.391, two homers, two RBIs in 21 games), but he hit well for Triple-A Syracuse (.350/.432/.590 with 18 homers and 75 RBIs in 96 games). Souza could emerge as a regular outfielder in Tampa Bay.

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MLB Note - Tampa Bay Rays Ott, Travis

LHP Travis Ott is headed from the Nationals to the Rays as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Ott, 19, finished 1-4 with a 3.93 ERA in a combined 13 starts between short-season Class A and low Class A last season.

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MLB Note - San Diego Padres Hanigan, Ryan

C Ryan Hanigan is headed from the Rays to the Padres as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Hanigan, 34, hit .218/.318/.324 with five homers and 34 RBIs in 84 games for Tampa Bay last season.

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MLB Note - San Diego Padres Castillo, Jose

LHP Jose Castillo is headed from the Rays to the Padres as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Castillo, 18, appeared in just three minor league games in 2014, allowing two runs in 4 2/3 innings in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

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MLB Note - San Diego Padres Reyes, Gerardo

RHP Gerardo Reyes is headed from the Rays to the Padres as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Reyes, 21, went 2-1 with three saves and a 4.09 ERA in 20 relief appearances for short-season Class A Hudson Valley last season.
 

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MLB Note - Washington Nationals Turner, Trea

SS Trea Turner is headed from the Padres to the Nationals as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Turner will be a "player to be named," as he can't be officially traded until June, one year after the Padres made him a first-round pick out of North Carolina State.

Turner, 21, hit a combined .323/.406/.448 with five homers, 24 RBIs and 23 stolen bases in on 69 games in the low minors this year. He was considered on the Padres' top prospects.

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MLB Note - Washington Nationals Ross, Joe

RHP Joe Ross is headed from the Padres to the Nationals as part of a three-team, 11-player deal agreed to on Dec. 17. Ross, 21, split last season between high Class A and Double-A, going 10-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 23 games (22 starts).

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MLB Note - Miami Marlins Morse, Michael

1B/OF Michael Morse and the Marlins finalized a two-year, $16 million deal on Dec. 18. Morse, who is from Broward County, is projected as a first baseman with the Marlins. The team is set at the outfield positions with Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. Morse spent last season with the Giants and batted .300 in the postseason, mostly as a pinch-hitter. He hit .279/.336/.475 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 131 regular-season games.

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MLB Note - Seattle Mariners Bawcom, Logan

RHP Logan Bawcom was designated for assignment by the Mariners on Dec. 17 to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for newly acquired OF Justin Ruggiano. Bawcom, 26, went 4-4 with six saves and a 4.93 ERA in 40 appearances for Triple-A Tacoma last season.

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MLB Note - Oakland Athletics De Leon, Jorge

RHP Jorge De Leon, who made a combined 19 appearances for the Astros the past two seasons, was released by the A's on Dec. 17. He was claimed off waivers by Oakland from Houston on Oct. 9.

De Leon, 27, had no decisions and a 4.91 ERA in eight major league games last season. He finished 4-5 with five saves and a 3.01 ERA in a total of 46 appearances in Double-A and Triple-A. Overall in the majors, De Leon is 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA in 17 1/3 innings.
 

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MLB Note - Boston Red Sox Varvaro, Anthony

RHP Anthony Varvaro was traded by the Braves to the Red Sox on Dec. 17 in exchange for minor league RHP Aaron Kurcz and cash. The Braves designated Varvaro for assignment Dec. 15. Varvaro, 30, went 3-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 61 relief appearances for Atlanta last season.

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MLB Note - Atlanta Braves Kurcz, Aaron

RHP Aaron Kurcz was dealt from the Red Sox along with cash to the Braves in exchange for RHP Anthony Varvaro on Dec. 17. Kurcz, 24, went 3-2 with three saves and a 2.14 ERA in 34 relief appearances for Double-A Portland last season. He missed the previous season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

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