The Brewers ban high-fives because of a pinkeye outbreak

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Bob Nightengale reports that the Milwaukee Brewers have temporarily banned high fives. Not because they annoy Buster Olney, but for more practical reasons: 12 players have been diagnosed with pinkeye. And everyone else is sick too:

[Brandon] Kintzler became the 12th member of the Brewers to be stricken by the virus. And we’re not even counting 15 to 20 players who have been battling bronchitis, flu, cold and nasal complications this spring.

“This is so crazy,” says outfielder Ryan Braun, who returned Sunday after being sent home for two days with a flu bug. “I still don’t feel great.”

The Brewers have the worst record in the Cactus League right now. Normally you can’t attribute that to anything that matters, but I feel like maybe there is a good excuse for it now.

In other news, I’m glad I ended up skipping visiting Brewers camp in Maryvale this year.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.