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Rangers talking contract extension with left-hander Matt Harrison

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The Rangers and Matt Harrison have already had some preliminary discussions about a contract extension, but the left-hander told Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest yesterday that he’s hoping to have more talks this weekend while he’s in town for the team’s Fan Fest.

“We’re definitely still talking,” said Harrison. “We’ll see where that goes. We haven’t got anything finished yet. I’m excited about what’s happening and the opportunity to spend some time here. I definitely will have some time to think about that tomorrow.”

After posting a 3.39 ERA in his first full season in the rotation in 2011, Harrison finished eighth in the AL Cy Young balloting last season by going 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA and 133/59 K/BB ratio over 213 1/3 innings. The 27-year-old southpaw is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and is line for a nice raise from the $2.95 million salary he made in 2012.

Harrison is under team control through 2014, so the Rangers could buy out his final two years of arbitration and maybe some free agent years. The club already has Yu Darvish locked up through 2017 and Derek Holland under contract through 2016 with club options for 2017 and 2018.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.

Nationals acquire Derek Norris from Padres

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 01:  Derek Norris #3 of the San Diego Padres prepares to bat against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of a MLB game at Chase Field on October 1, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
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According to an official team announcement, the Nationals have acquired catcher Derek Norris from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Pedro Avila.

Norris, 27, batted a career-low .186/.225/.328 in 458 PA with the Padres in 2016. He hit career highs with 14 home runs and nine stolen bases, but his dismal production rate through the second half of the season spelled the end of his time in a starting role in San Diego. Norris’ departure from the Padres also confirms 24-year-old Austin Hedges‘ spot on the roster, as reported by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell:

Heading to San Diego is 19-year-old right-handed starter Pedro Avila, who was acquired by the Nationals as an international free agent in 2014. The 19-year-old spent his first season in Single-A Hagerstown and went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA and 2.42 K/BB rate in 93 innings.