MLB·ROUNDUP

Ex-Blue Jays closer Giles finalizes 2-year deal with Mariners

The Seattle Mariners finalized a two-year contract worth $7 million US with former Blue Jays reliever Ken Giles on Friday that includes a club option for the 2023 season.

Will miss 2021 season following Tommy John surgery; pitcher Robert Dugger DFA'd

Former Blue Jays closer Ken Giles has signed with the Mariners for two years but will miss the upcoming season following Tommy John (elbow ligament) surgery last fall. (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images/File)

The Seattle Mariners finalized a two-year contract worth $7 million US with former Blue Jays reliever Ken Giles on Friday that includes a club option for the 2023 season.

Seattle signed Giles knowing he won't pitch for the Mariners this season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Manager Scott Servais stressed that no matter how far along Giles gets in his recovery, he won't pitch in the majors in 2021.

"There is no chance of that happening," Servais said. "We will not let that happen. That's not the agreement and everybody understood you to do the right thing and taking our time getting him back."

Seattle designated for assignment right-handed pitcher Robert Dugger to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Giles.

When healthy, Giles has been one of the top relievers in the American League. He had 23 saves and a 1.87 earned-run average in 53 games for Toronto in 2019, with 83 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 53 innings pitched. In 2017, Giles compiled 34 saves and 2.70 ERA in 63 appearances for the Houston Astros.

'Elite-level stuff'

But arm trouble emerged last season. Giles appeared in just four games before deciding in late September to undergo Tommy John surgery.

"Ken has been among the most valuable relievers in baseball since making his debut back in 2014," general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "He has consistently dominated the strike zone with elite-level stuff. He will not be able to contribute this season as he continues the rehab from TJ surgery, but we are confident in his ability to impact our club in 2022 and potentially beyond."

Giles met with Servais as pitchers and catchers reported to the team's spring training facility in Peoria, Ariz., this week.

Servais said the likely plan is for Giles to remain in Arizona rehabbing after the team heads north for the start of the regular season.

Johnny Damon arrested after DUI stop

Former all-star Johnny Damon was arrested Friday in central Florida on a charge of resisting an officer after he was pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence, according to court and jail records.

Damon, 47, was booked into the Orange County Jail early Friday after an incident in Windermere, Fla., a wealthy suburb of Orlando popular with professional athletes. He is charged with resisting an officer without violence, a first-degree misdemeanour.

Jail records show Damon's wife, Michelle Mangan-Damon, also was arrested. She is facing charges of battery on an officer and resisting with violence.

Former major leaguer Johnny Damon was arrested Friday on a charge of resisting an officer in Florida after he was pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence. (Submitted by Orange County Sheriff's Office)
A police officer pulled over Damon's SUV after it swerved, hit a curb and drove past a stop sign, according to the Orlando Sentinel, citing a police report. Authorities said Damon slurred his words and he seemed unsteady on his feet.

Damon's wife got out of the car even though she was instructed to stay inside while they waited for another officer to show up, according to the report. The officer grabbed Mangan-Damon's wrist and tried to push her against the car. Damon got between them and the officer and former player scuffled as the officer tried to put Damon and his wife in handcuffs, according to the report.

Damon agreed to take a breath test at a DUI testing centre where his blood-alcohol level measured between .300 and .294, more than three times the state's legal limit for driving, according to the report. Besides the misdemeanour charge, Damon was cited for running a stop sign and driving under the influence of alcohol.

Hendriks eager to win White Sox closer job

Liam Hendriks is taking nothing for granted.

The Chicago White Sox newcomer insists he has to earn the closer's job this spring and says he's just another reliever until he does. Except, of course, he's not just another reliever.

The White Sox landed one of baseball's best when they signed Hendriks to a $54 million US contract in January, a major addition for a team with championship aspirations.

"That's the attitude you want," new manager Tony La Russa said. "If you see him in person, how strong he is, I'm not going to disagree with him. Let him think he has to make it."

Hendriks established himself as one of baseball's best relievers during his five years with the Oakland Athletics before joining the White Sox. The 32-year-old former Blue Jays relief pitcher earned his first all-star invitation in a breakout season in 2019, with 25 saves and 1.80 ERA.

Hendriks dominated again last season, finishing second in the majors with 14 saves and 1.78 ERA in the pandemic-shortened year. He struck out 37 and walked just three in 25 1/3 innings.

With files from The Associated Press

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