POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Dec 21, 2013
MINNEAPOLIS » The Minnesota Twins have found a replacement for Joe Mauer at catcher.
The Twins and catcher Kurt Suzuki agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract on Friday, a person with knowledge of the agreement told the Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Suzuki has to pass a physical before the contract can be signed.
Minnesota was in the market for a veteran catcher after announcing last month that Mauer was moving to first base.
Suzuki, a Baldwin High graduate from Maui, hit .232 with five homers and 32 RBIs for the Washington Nationals and Oakland A's last season. He'll be counted on to help integrate newcomers Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to the starting rotation and bring along younger pitchers like Kyle Gibson and Alex Meyer.
The 30-year-old Suzuki will also be tasked with mentoring prospect Josmil Pinto, who filled in nicely for Mauer at the end of last season. Pinto hit .342 with four homers in 21 games last season. But the 24-year-old Venezuelan has a long way to go when it comes to defense and calling a game, so Suzuki and bench coach Terry Steinbach will be there to help him along.
Youkilis headed to Japan for $4 million salary
NEW YORK » Kevin Youkilis is leaving the major leagues after an injury plagued season and heading to Japan. The three-time All-Star has agreed to a one-year contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League, agent Joe Bick said Friday.
Youkilis, a 34-year-old first baseman and third baseman, will have a $4 million base salary and can earn $1 million bonuses
After nine seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Youkilis signed a $12 million, one-year deal with the New York Yankees. But a back injury limited him to 28 games, and his season ended June 13.