Johnny Cueto could pitch for Dominican Republic in WBC finals

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Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto was late to arrive to spring training due to visa issues that came about trying to travel with his ill father. As a result, he did not pitch for the Dominican Republic in the first or second rounds of the World Baseball Classic.

If the D.R. is able to advance to the finals, however, Cueto might be able to pitch for the team, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Cueto said, “If the third round comes around and they need me, then I will cross that bridge when we come to it.” Cueto also apologized for not being able to contribute in the first and second rounds, saying, “I’m sorry. I would like to represent my country. I hope they understand why.”

Cueto made his Cactus League debut on Saturday, pitching two innings in a split-squad game against the Reds. He’s entering the second year of a six-year, $130 million contract signed with the Giants in December 2015. He finished the past season with an 18-5 record, a 2.79 ERA, and a 198/45 K/BB ratio over 219 2/3 innings.

The Dominican Republic lost its opening game of the second round to Puerto Rico 3-1 on Tuesday. It will face Venezuela next on Thursday night and wrap up the group in a game against the United States on Saturday.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.