Major League Baseball
Tampa's Gonzalez Reaches 1-Year Deal With Marlins
MIAMI - Free-agent outfielder Luis Gonzalez and the Florida Marlins reached a preliminary agreement on a $2 million, one-year contract. Gonzalez, a Tampa native, must pass a physical for the deal to be completed, a person familiar with the negotiations said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team had not yet announced the agreement. The deal includes $1 million in performance bonuses. Florida also agreed to a one-year contract with infielder Dallas McPherson. A former top prospect in the Angels' system, McPherson missed the 2007 season after undergoing back surgery a year ago to remove a herniated disc.The 40-year-old Gonzalez, who has spent most of his career in left field, likely will be Florida's fourth outfielder. Left fielder Josh Willingham and right fielder Jeremy Hermida return as starters. Jackson Chastises MLB Over Umpire Checks NEW YORK - Jesse Jackson criticized Major League Baseball on Thursday for sending investigators to the hometowns of umpires to ask neighbors questions that include whether the ump belongs to the Ku Klux Klan. "Major League Baseball has done a disservice to its progressive social history by equating southern whites with white supremacists," Jackson said in a statement. "I am surprised the professional league which helped change social attitudes in all sports leagues about segregation, by championing Jackie Robinson, would make such a destructive move." World Umpires Association president John Hirschbeck and union spokesman Lamell McMorris said Wednesday that Tom Christopher, the Milwaukee-based supervisor of security and investigations in the commissioner's office, had asked questions about Klan membership to neighbors of umpires Greg Gibson and Sam Holbrook, who reside in Kentucky. In addition, Hirschbeck said similar questions had been asked to neighbors of umpire Ron Kulpa, who lives in suburban St. Louis. Baseball stepped up background checks last August, after it became public that the FBI was investigating NBA referee Tim Donaghy for betting on games. INDIANS: Free-agent reliever Jorge Julio agreed to a minor-league contract and was invited to spring training. MARINERS: Brad Wilkerson agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract, a move that could signal Seattle is close to acquiring pitcher Erik Bedard from Baltimore. Wilkerson can play all three outfield positions plus first base, and the Mariners have discussed trading outfielder Adam Jones to Baltimore along with others for Bedard. NATIONALS: Johnny Estrada agreed to a $1.25 million, one-year contract, giving Washington an experienced catcher to back up Paul Lo Duca, who is recovering from knee surgery. PHILLIES: Free-agent third baseman Pedro Feliz finalized an $8.5 million, two-year contract. With the option and performance bonuses, the contract could be worth up to $15 million over three years. REDS: Right-hander Matt Belisle agreed to a one-year, $1.25 million contract, leaving second baseman Brandon Phillips as Cincinnati's only player left in arbitration. YANKEES: Morgan Ensberg agreed to a minor-league contract, giving the team another contender to play first base. Ensberg would get a $1.75 million, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster and would have a chance to earn $2.25 million more in performance bonuses. He would get the full amount if he has 525 plate appearances.