Angels give infielder Izturis $10 million deal

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The Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels and infielder Maicer Izturis have agreed to a three-year, $10 million contract through 2012.
The deal comes after Izturis asked for $3 million in what was to be his last year of arbitration eligibility. The Angels proposed a $2.3 million salary.
Assuming that the two sides would have eventually settled at the midpoint, the Angels are essentially buying out Izturis’ first two years of free agency for $7.35 million. The 29-year-old utilityman hit a career-best .300/.359/.434 with eight homers and 65 RBI in 387 at-bats last season. He finished the year as the starting second baseman against righties, but Howie Kendrick is expected to get every opportunity to win back that job this spring.

Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.