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Roundup: Hamels becomes Phillies' $144-million man

The SportsXchange

The Phillies agreed to a six-year, $144 million contract extension with left-handed pitcher Cole Hamels.

The 28-year-old had been negotiating with the club since spring training and talks intensified as the non-waiver trading deadline approached. Hamels was offered a six-year, $126 million contract over the All-Star break.

The pressure of pitching for his next deal didn't appear to weigh on Hamels this season. He's 11-4 with a 3.23 ERA and 131 strikeouts. He has an 85-58 record with a 3.38 ERA.

The Phillies were negotiating against the clock and with Hamels signed, might have to listen to offers on their other marketable assets, including 35-year-old starting pitcher Roy Halladay and 33-year-old starter Cliff Lee.

The Phillies have $89 million in total salary committed to the three starting pitchers and first baseman Ryan Howard next season.

Hamels' deal would be the second-richest for a pitcher, behind only the six-year, $161.5 million deal the Yankees gave CC Sabathia. Hamels surpasses Johan Santana, who signed a $137.5 million, six-year deal with the Mets.

---The Dodgers made a bold move late Tuesday night, acquiring third baseman Hanley Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate from the Miami Marlins for right-hander Nathan Eovaldi and minor league pitcher Scott McGough.

"For me this day is not easy, the Marlins have been my family, the only one I had in baseball," Ramirez told ESPNdeportesLosAngeles.com. "I will never forget who gave me that first opportunity that every human being needs. They will always be in my heart."

"I leave with some regret, not having helped bring a championship to Miami, but otherwise, I just keep positive memories of my time with the team," Ramirez said.

The move solidifies the Dodgers' infield, which has lacked production all season because of the slumps endured by third baseman Juan Uribe and first baseman James Loney, and adds a left-handed option to the bullpen, which has had only one lefty -- Scott Elbert.

Ramirez was available because, like Uribe and Loney, he's having a poor season (.246) in his first year at third base, but he led major league shortstops with 124 home runs from 2006 to 2010. He hit only .243 last year and frequently has been accused of a less than positive attitude. He'll begin his Dodgers career at shortstop because Dee Gordon is on the disabled list.

"It's no secret I love (Ramirez). He needs to have a fresh beginning, a new beginning," said Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria in a FOX Sports interview. "This is a very painful moment for me. But we had to do something."

It's an expensive move for the Dodgers. Ramirez is making $15 million this year and is due to make $15.5 million next year and $16 million in 2014.

Choate, who turns 37 in September, is the classic situational left-hander. He has pitched just 25 1/3 innings in 44 appearances this year, and left-handed hitters are batting just .150 against him.

Eovaldi, 22, is 1-6 with a 4.15 ERA in his first full season as a starter for the Dodgers, but he frequently has been victimized by a lack of run support.

McGough, also 22, was 3-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 35 appearances for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. He was drafted in the fifth round in 2011.

The Marlins insist they are not giving up on the season even though they traded second baseman Omar Infante and starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez to Detroit for three prospects.

Emilio Bonifacio will move from center field to replace Infante at second base. Left-hander Wade LeBlanc will replace Anibal Sanchez in the starting rotation, with his first start set for Saturday against San Diego.

Justin Ruggiano will play center field. Greg Dobbs started in right field Tuesday, but manager Ozzie Guillen said he could move Ruggiano there and move Bonifacio to center and have rookie Donovan Solano play second base.

Guillen tried his best to put a positive spin on the developments earlier Tuesday, before the Ramirez trade was announced.

"I know a lot of people say, 'OK, they're done. Out,'" Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "(But) I still like my lineup, especially with (Giancarlo) Stanton coming back (next month).

"If they play up to their potential, of course we're going to compete. We still have a face, we still have people here to get this thing done."

---The mother of Hall of Fame infielder Cal Ripken was found safe Wednesday, one day after a man abducted her from her Baltimore home at gunpoint, according to a Baltimore Sun report.

Vi Ripken, 74, "is safe and with her family," the Aberdeen Police Department said in a statement. She was forced into her car by a man between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. ET Tuesday, police told the paper, and found early Wednesday unharmed in her car.

"As you now know, our mother was abducted at gunpoint from her home yesterday morning," the Ripken said in a statement. "This has been a very trying time for our family, but we are grateful and relieved that mom is back with us, safe and healthy.

"We want to thank everyone for their tremendous support, especially all of the law enforcement agencies that worked so hard and quickly. This is on ongoing investigation, so we hope everyone understands that we cannot comment further at this time. Thank you."

Vi Ripken described her abductor as a tall, thin white man with glasses. Police spokesman Lt. Fred Budnick had no other details.

Police are searching for a white male, late 30s to early 40s, who was last seen wearing a light-colored shirt, [camouflage] pants and eyeglasses, and was armed with a handgun, the Aberdeen Police said.

Rikpen's son, Cal Jr., is a Hall-of-Famer who played in 2,632 consecutive games. Another son, Billy, also played in the big league. Her late husband, Cal Sr., was a onetime Orioles manager and a longtime coach.

---The New York Yankees have already found a replacement for injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez, and he's already on the roster, according to an ESPN.com report.

"Eric Chavez is the solution," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com Wednesday, one day after Rodriguez broke his hand. "I'm very comfortable with Eric Chavez as Alex's replacement."

Chavez, won six Gold Gloves as the third baseman for the Oakland Athletics. Utilityman Jayson Nix will serve as Chavez's backup. Earlier, the team recalled utility infielder Ramiro Pena from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to come off the bench.

Rodriguez was hit on the left hand by an 88-mile hour change-up from Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Surgery isn't expected to be required, and the team believes Rodriguez will miss six to eight weeks.

"Because we're going to get him back, I don't see this as a particular area of need," Cashman told ESPN.com. "It doesn't mean I won't listen."

San Diego's Chase Headley, Philadelphia's Placido Polanco and Ty Wigginton and Seattle's Chone Figgins are among the third baseman expected to be available.

---The Yankees recalled infielder Ramiro Pena to fill the roster spot created when third baseman Alex Rodriguez was placed on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his left hand.

Pena is a versatility utility player who can play three infield positions and the corner outfielder spots.

General manager Brian Cashman told the New York Post "price tag" is the top consideration for the team when considering trade options at third base. The candidates, including Chase Headley of the Padres and Phillies veteran Placido Polanco, are being reviewed by Cashman but he said the Yankees won't make a move unless it "makes sense."

In the interim, left-handed hitting Eric Chavez will start against right-handers and manager Joe Girardi will mix and match against left-handed pitchers.

---The Tampa Rays designated Hideki Matsui for assignment to clear a roster spot for newly acquired infielder Ryan Roberts.

Matsui, 38, signed April 30 and was added to the major league roster May 29. He hit two home runs in his first three games with the club but none since in a total of 34 games, including 23 starts.

Roberts was batting .250 with 34 RBIs in Arizona. The 31-year-old utility man was a regular for the Diamondbacks last season and hit 19 home runs with 18 stolen bases in 143 games.

Matsui spent nine seasons in the majors with the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics following a 10-year career with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League.

With the A's in 2011, Matsui batted .251 with 12 home runs.

In other Rays news, injured third baseman Evan Longoria (hamstring) ran the bases and fielded grounders during a Wednesday workout.

Longoria could head out on a minor-league rehab assignment during the team's current nine-game road trip. He could return in mid-August.

---The semifinals and finals of the 2013 World Baseball Classic will be hosted by the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.

Major League Baseball announced the site in a news release Wednesday.

The WBC final and semifinal was previously played in San Diego at PETCO Park (2006) and Dodger Stadium (2009).

Miami and Arizona will host the early rounds of the tournament at their MLB stadiums.

"We are very pleased to partner with three franchises that will prove to be outstanding hosts of the 2013 World Baseball Classic," said Paul Archey, MLB senior vice president of international business operations. "The Giants, the Marlins and the D-backs share our commitment to continuing the game's remarkable global growth, and their world-class cities and ballparks will welcome the unique brand of enthusiasm inspired by the World Baseball Classic."

Japan won the first two WBC titles.

---The Houston Astros recalled pitcher Xavier Cedeno from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The lefty posted a 2.89 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 12 games in the major leagues this season. He will pitch in middle relief.

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