What’s on Tap: Previewing Thursday evening’s action

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As usual, we have an abbreviated schedule on Thursday, which included four afternoon games. One of those games is a battle of the Sox, as the White Sox and Red Sox are doing battle at Fenway Park. James Shields started that one and has pitched well, finally bouncing back after four consecutive starts in which he yielded at least seven runs.

Tonight’s late game will pit the visiting Athletics against the Angels, as Kendall Graveman opposes Tim Lincecum. Lincecum pitched well in his 2016 debut for the Halos, giving up a lone run on four hits and a pair of walks with two strikeouts in six innings against the A’s on Saturday. The 32-year-old right-hander hadn’t pitched in the majors since June 27 last year with the Giants.

Lincecum appeared to be on his last legs, settling for a mid-season, one-year, $2.5 million deal. The two-time Cy Young Award winner posted a 4.68 ERA over parts of four seasons from 2012-15. If he’s going to have lasting success this year, he’ll need to do better than the two strikeouts in six innings he recorded against the A’s, who have the league’s worst offense.

The rest of Thursday’s action…

Chicago Cubs (Jon Lester) @ Miami Marlins (Wei-Yin Chen), 7:10 PM EDT

New York Mets (Matt Harvey) @ Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler), 7:10 PM EDT

San Diego Padres (Christian Friedrich) @ Cincinnati Reds (John Lamb), 7:10 PM EDT

Arizona Diamondbacks (Zack Greinke) @ Colorado Rockies (Eddie Butler), 8:40 PM EDT

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

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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.