Halos lock up Howie Kendrick with 4-year, $33.5M extension

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Anaheim’s spending spree continues.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Angels have agreed to a four-year contract extension with second baseman Howie Kendrick. The deal will cover his final year of arbitration-eligibility and his first three years of free agency.

Kendrick posted career-bests across the board in 2011, batting .285/.338/.464 with 18 home runs, 63 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 583 plate appearances. He’s also become an elite defender at second base, with some of the best range in the bigs.

Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. Kendrick made $3.3 million last year.

UPDATE, 9:39 PM: Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register has confirmed Rosenthal’s report, and says the money involved is “to be announced.” Look for details to be leaked within the next few days.

UPDATE, 10:25 PM: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale says the extension is worth $33.5 million.

The Twins didn’t listen to CC Sabathia’s wishes concerning bunting

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Earlier this month, Yankees starter CC Sabathia jawed at the Red Sox after Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt. Sabathia fielded it fine, but threw the ball away for an error. After the game, he called Nunez’s bunt “weak” and said the Red Sox should “swing the bat.” Sabathia, of course, is not that limber these days. Along with being 37 years old, the lefty has also battled knee and hamstring issues this season.

The Twins apparently didn’t hear what Sabathia had to say about bunting. After Brian Dozier singled off of Sabathia to lead off the top of the first inning on Tuesday, Joe Mauer laid down a bunt on the third base side and reached safely. Jorge Polanco then laid down a bunt of his own, also on the third base side, and was initially ruled out, but after replay review was ruled safe to load the bases with no outs.

Fortunately for Sabathia, he was able to limit the damage, getting Eduardo Escobar to ground into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and inducing an inning-ending ground out from Byron Buxton. It’ll be interesting, though, to see if the Twins continue to bunt against Sabathia throughout the night.

Jake Arrieta to return to Cubs’ rotation on Thursday

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Cubs starter Jake Arrieta has been out over two weeks with a strained right hamstring, but he’s ready to return to action. The right-hander threw a bullpen on Tuesday and it went well, so he will start in Thursday’s series opener against the Brewers in Milwaukee, MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat reports.

Arrieta, 31, returns with a 14-9 record, a 3.48 ERA, and a 157/53 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. If he stays on schedule, he’ll make three starts through the end of the regular season, including the regular season finale on October 1 against the Reds.

Arrieta is expected to max out at 75-80 pitches on Thursday and will ramp up through the end of the month.