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Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup

Dec 3 (The Sports Xchange) - The Toronto Blue Jays hired Ross Atkins as their new general manager, the club announced Thursday. Atkins had been a member of the Cleveland Indians front office since 2001 and most recently was the team's player personnel director. He is a close friend and former co-worker of Toronto president Mark Shapiro. The 42-year-old Atkins replaces Alex Anthopoulos, who departed after the Blue Jays were eliminated from the American League playoffs by the Kansas City Royals. - - - Zack Greinke has never lost a game in San Francisco, and the Giants are hoping for similar results in their pursuit of the free agent right-hander. Greinke is the best pitcher on the market after David Price agreed to a seven-year, $217 million deal with the Boston Red Sox. There are those who regard the veteran ace as the prime player on the market after his 19-3 season with the Dodgers in 2015. Greinke, 32, opted out of a contract that would have paid him $71 million for the next three seasons. The expectation.is that he will meet or exceed Price's payday. His deal will pay him an average of $31 million per season with the Red Sox. - - - The Seattle Mariners announced the signing of free agent outfielder Norichika Aoki to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2017. The 33-year-old Aoki has spent the past four seasons in the major leagues after coming over from Japan. In 2015 with the San Francisco Giants, Aoki batted .287 with five home runs, 26 RBIs and 14 stolen bases in 93 games. Aoki previously played for the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals after eight seasons with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. In four major league seasons, he has batted .287 with 24 homers, 156 RBIs and 81 stolen bases in 531 games. - - - Former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee has received clearance to pitch and hopes to return in 2016 after missing all of last season due to an elbow injury. Lee, 37, has not pitched in a major-league game since July 2014. He is currently a free agent after the Philadelphia Phillies declined their $27.5 million option for 2016 and paid him a $12.5 million buyout. The four-time All-Star won the American League Cy Young Award in 2008 with the Cleveland Indians when he went a career-best 22-3. Lee is 143-91 with a 3.52 ERA over 13 major-league seasons. - - - The Tampa Bay Rays acquired catcher Hank Conger from the Houston Astros for cash considerations. Conger batted .229 with a career-best 11 homers in 73 games for Houston in 2015 but he threw out just one runner in 43 steal attempts. Conger has a career batting average of .225 over six seasons. He spent the first five years of his career with the Los Angeles Angels. - - - (Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)