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gengm125
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins welcomed Josh Willingham to the team on Thursday, a move that had many bracing for a wave goodbye to Michael Cuddyer. Willingham agreed to a US$21 million, three-year contract, giving the Twins a player with strikingly similar offensive numbers to Cuddyers over the past six seasons. Twins GM Terry Ryan was unavailable for comment on Thursday and the team planned to hold an introductory conference call with Willingham on Friday. Ryan said earlier in the week the team had not ruled out Cuddyer returning, and its no secret that both Ryan and manager Ron Gardenhire would love to keep the versatile veteran around both for production on the field and leadership in the clubhouse. Adding Willingham, a right-handed hitting outfielder to help balance out a lefty-heavy lineup, would help ease the sting if Cuddyer doesnt return. The 32-year-old hit .246 with a career-high 29 homers and 98 RBIs for the As last year. Cuddyer hit .284 with 20 homers and 70 RBIs last season, earning an all-star bid for the first time in his 11-year career. Over the past six seasons, Cuddyer has hit .266 with 66 homers while Willingham has hit .257 with 69 home runs. Willingham has played mostly left field throughout his career, but the Twins would likely have to move to him right field if Cuddyer goes, so the weak-armed Ben Revere could play left field. Willingham will make $7 million per season for each of the next three years. If he reaches 525 plate appearances in 2013, his 2014 salary would increase to $8 million. He has only reached that plateau one time in that last four years, with Oakland Athletics last season. The Twins were looking for more power from the right side of the plate to help balance a batting order that has lefties Denard Span, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau near the top. Willingham has topped 20 homers four times in six full major league seasons, and the hope is he will have similar success at spacious Target Field, one of the most difficult ballparks to hit it over the fence. If Cuddyer does leave, the Twins would receive two draft picks as compensation. He has been a Gardenhire favourite for years because of his hustle, discipline, dependability and versatility. Cuddyer has played right field, centre field, first base, second base, third base and DH over the last few seasons for the Twins, filling in for numerous injuries the team has endured. But the Twins are also determined to keep the payroll at around $100 million, meaning Cuddyer would likely have to take a decent paycut from the four-year, $33 million contract he just finished to stay in Minnesota. ED Belfour Blackhawks Jersey. Angel Pagan hit a three-run home run in San Franciscos five-run eighth inning and the Giants beat the Diamondbacks 8-5 on Thursday in a game that was halted briefly in the top of the first due to a swarm of bees in the outfield. David Rundblad Jersey. 14 TCU, 50-48, snapping the Horned Frogs 25-game regular season winning streak in epic fashion. The back-and-forth thriller featured eight lead changes, none more unlikely than Ross Evans splitting the uprights from 27 yards out to give the Horned Frogs a 48-47 edge after they trailed by 24 entering the final 15 minutes. http://www.blackhawkshockeyproshop.com/Denis-Savard-Blackhawks-Jersey/. Max Pacioretty broke a third-period tie, Tomas Plekanec scored twice and Montreal beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 Thursday night. Bobby Orr Blackhawks Jersey. Sources tell TSNs Luke Wileman the team signed Canadian international Issey Nakajima-Farran on Thursday. Duncan Keith Jersey. -- David Garrard lost his starting job the same way he got it: Just days before the season opener and in stunning fashion.If NBA stars are serious about playing overseas, basketballs governing body says they will be welcomed. Just as long as they promise to leave once the lockout ends. FIBA announced Friday it would clear NBA players under contract to play in its leagues during the work stoppage, provided the deals they sign come with opt-out clauses. In a ruling that paves the way for players to earn a paycheque, FIBA agreed with NBA and players association officials that players are free to sign anywhere but do so at their own risk of injury. "As the world governing body for basketball, we strongly hope that the labour dispute will be resolved as soon as possible, and that the NBA season is able to begin as scheduled," secretary general Patrick Baumann said in a statement. "In view of our role to promote basketball worldwide, we support any player wishing to play the game, wherever and whenever. We do so while obviously taking the interests, rights and obligations of all parties into account." Playing overseas has emerged as an option for NBA players during a work stoppage that threatens to last months and could even wipe out the entire season. Nets all-star Deron Williams has a deal with Turkish club Besiktas -- which is also courting Kobe Bryant -- and most top players said they would consider playing overseas. Union executive director Billy Hunter has endorsed the idea, with players believing it will pressure owners at the bargaining table if they see their players have options elsewhere, and FIBA may have been faced with a legal challenge had it denied the players. "Our players are gratified by todays announcement by FIBA, although it comes as no surprise," Hunter said in a statement. "We have consistently advised our members that in the event of a lockout they would have the right to be compensated for playing basketball irrespective of whether they were under contract to an NBA team or not. We have encouraged all of our players to pursue such opportunities and will continue to do so." If a player under NBA contract agrees to a deal in a FIBA-affiliated league, he first must be cleared to go by the NBA. The league will allow partial clearance, meaning it must be guaranteed the player returns to his NBA team once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. FIBA will then give its approval once the player has signed a declaration stating he will do so. There is still plenty of doubt that top players will head to Europe or Asia. All-star-caliber players may not find enough money to make it worthwhile, and numerous players who have signed overseas have stories of missed or late payments from their teams there. Also, their NBA teams could void their contracts if they are significantly injured playing in another league. Still, scoring champion Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City said Thursday he was "about 50-50" on the idea, while Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul both said they would consider China during a promotional tour in Hong Kong this week. FIBA also expressed its pleasure that so many players are willing to play this summer despite the risks. Argentina Basketball Federation president German Vaccaro told FIBA.com that it had secured insurance Thursday, allowing Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and its other top players to take part in the FIBA Americas tournament it is hosting. France and Russia also have lined up arrangements to have their NBA players take part in Europes qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympics. "We are delighted to see that, in spite of widespread doubts related to the lockout, national teams competing in this summers Olympic qualifiers will be able to count on the participation of most of their NBA stars," Baumann said. If NBA stars aare serious about playing overseas, basketballs governing body says they will be welcomed.dddddddddddd Just as long as they promise to leave once the lockout ends. FIBA announced Friday it would clear NBA players under contract to play in its leagues during the work stoppage, provided the deals they sign come with opt-out clauses. In a ruling that paves the way for players to earn a paycheque, FIBA agreed with NBA and players association officials that players are free to sign anywhere but do so at their own risk of injury. "As the world governing body for basketball, we strongly hope that the labour dispute will be resolved as soon as possible, and that the NBA season is able to begin as scheduled," secretary general Patrick Baumann said in a statement. "In view of our role to promote basketball worldwide, we support any player wishing to play the game, wherever and whenever. We do so while obviously taking the interests, rights and obligations of all parties into account." Playing overseas has emerged as an option for NBA players during a work stoppage that threatens to last months and could even wipe out the entire season. Nets all-star Deron Williams has a deal with Turkish club Besiktas -- which is also courting Kobe Bryant -- and most top players said they would consider playing overseas. Union executive director Billy Hunter has endorsed the idea, with players believing it will pressure owners at the bargaining table if they see their players have options elsewhere, and FIBA may have been faced with a legal challenge had it denied the players. "Our players are gratified by todays announcement by FIBA, although it comes as no surprise," Hunter said in a statement. "We have consistently advised our members that in the event of a lockout they would have the right to be compensated for playing basketball irrespective of whether they were under contract to an NBA team or not. We have encouraged all of our players to pursue such opportunities and will continue to do so." If a player under NBA contract agrees to a deal in a FIBA-affiliated league, he first must be cleared to go by the NBA. The league will allow partial clearance, meaning it must be guaranteed the player returns to his NBA team once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached. FIBA will then give its approval once the player has signed a declaration stating he will do so. There is still plenty of doubt that top players will head to Europe or Asia. All-star-caliber players may not find enough money to make it worthwhile, and numerous players who have signed overseas have stories of missed or late payments from their teams there. Also, their NBA teams could void their contracts if they are significantly injured playing in another league. Still, scoring champion Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City said Thursday he was "about 50-50" on the idea, while Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul both said they would consider China during a promotional tour in Hong Kong this week. FIBA also expressed its pleasure that so many players are willing to play this summer despite the risks. Argentina Basketball Federation president German Vaccaro told FIBA.com that it had secured insurance Thursday, allowing Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and its other top players to take part in the FIBA Americas tournament it is hosting. France and Russia also have lined up arrangements to have their NBA players take part in Europes qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympics. "We are delighted to see that, in spite of widespread doubts related to the lockout, national teams competing in this summers Olympic qualifiers will be able to count on the participation of most of their NBA stars," Baumann said. ' ' '

May 19, 2014 at 5:48 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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