Press Box

Baseball

December 03, 2009

The Braves took a major step toward solidifying their pitching staff by agreeing Wednesday to a $7 million, one-year contract with left-handed closer Billy Wagner.

"The bullpen is one of the areas we needed to upgrade to get where we want to go," Atlanta general manager Frank Wren said. "Billy was at the top of our list. The first day of free agency, we gave him a call."

The 38-year-old six-time All-Star, who replaces last year's co-closers Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, gets $6.75 million in 2010. The deal includes a $6.5 million club option for 2011 with a $250,000 buyout. The option becomes guaranteed if he finishes 50 games next season.

Wagner, who has 385 career saves, missed most of last season following elbow ligament replacement surgery. The Mets traded him to Boston in August and he went 1-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings for the Red Sox.

•The Athletics agreed on a one-year deal with right-handed reliever Joey Devine, who missed the 2009 season after elbow surgery in April. ... The Padres are expected to announce on Thursday the hiring of Dick Enberg, 74, to a multiyear deal to do television play-by-play. ... The Yankees began their organizational meetings in Tampa. Among the topics is whether to try acquiring Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

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