Mariners and Brendan Ryan avoid arbitration with two-year deal

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This deal was announced earlier in the week, then denied, but now it’s officially official.

According to Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald, the Mariners avoided arbitration with infielder Brendan Ryan by agreeing to a two-year contract.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but Stephen Hawkins of the Associated Press previously reported that Ryan agreed to a two-year, $2.75 million contract that would pay him $1 million this season and $1.75 million in 2012.

Ryan, who turns 29 in March, was acquired from the Cardinals last month after falling out of favor with Tony La Russa and some of his teammates. While he’s still one of the best defensive middle infielders in the game, he collapsed to a meager .223/.279/.294 batting line with a 573 OPS last season. Fits right in with the Mariners, right?

Now that we know Chone Figgins is officially moving back to third base, Ryan projects to be the starting second baseman for the Mariners this season, at least until Dustin Ackley is ready for the big leagues.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: