Nationals’ Starlin Castro placed on administrative leave by MLB

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WASHINGTON –Washington Nationals infielder Starlin Castro was placed on administrative leave Friday by Major League Baseball under its domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.

The leave was imposed under the policy adopted by MLB and the players’ union in 2015 and can be the initial step leading to a longer suspension. The administrative leave – during which a player is paid but cannot play for up to seven days – has been extended for players under the policy in the past while MLB investigates an allegation.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez said he learned of the situation Thursday night.

“What I can tell you about myself and this organization, as you know, we do not tolerate any kind of domestic abuse,” Martinez said. “Speaking for myself, I think it’s awful.”

Washington faces San Diego this weekend in the first series out of the All-Star break.

Castro was placed on the restricted list June 16 due to what Martinez at the time said were “family matters.” The 31-year-old infielder was reinstated two days later and pinch-hit in a game that night against the New York Mets.

“This is a totally different situation,” Martinez said. “If I would have known about this a month ago, we would have had a different conversation. I can tell you that.”

Castro is hitting .283 with three home runs and 38 RBIs in 87 games so far this season. He is in his second season with the Nationals after stints with the Cubs, Yankees and Marlins.

The Nationals reinstated infielder Jordy Mercer from the 10-day injured list and he was in the lineup at third base against the Padres.

“Obviously, this is disturbing news, but we can’t let this deter what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to accomplish, and that’s to win another championship,” said Martinez, who spoke to the team about Castro before the game. “We need to stay positive.”

Also Friday, the Nationals agreed to terms on a major league contract with catcher Rene Rivera. Rivera, 37, hit .236 with two homers and nine RBIs in 21 games with the Cleveland Indians this season.

Washington catchers Yan Gomes (oblique strain) and Alex Avila (bilateral calf strain) are on the 10-day injured list.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks 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.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.