Padres get Aaron Harang for $3.5 million

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The Padres have finalized their contract with Aaron Harang. According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, it turns out he’ll receive a one-year, $3.5 million contract with a mutual option for 2012.

Harang, a San Diego-native, is 18-38 with a 4.71 ERA since finishing fourth on the ballot for the National League Cy Young in 2007. The 32-year-old right-hander went 6-7 with a 5.32 ERA over 22 games (20 starts) with the Reds this past season and was left off the team’s postseason roster for the NLDS against the Phillies.

Harang’s peripherals, which have been pretty healthy in the past, took a bit of a slide this past season, but he’s well worth signing at these terms. While his flyball tendencies hurt him at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him rebound next season pitching half of his games at the cozy confines of PETCO Park.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

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Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.

Phillies release veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday

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The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.

Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.