The Kansas City Royals agreed to Martin Maldonado on Saturday

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SURPRISE Curt Schilling Jersey , Ariz. (AP) — giving them a veteran catcher after losing Salvador Perez to a season-ending injury.The deal includes up to $1.4 million in incentives for games caught, according to a person familiar with the terms, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Maldonado still must pass a physical for the contract to become official.Maldonado spent last season with the Angels and Astros, hitting .225 with nine homers and 44 RBIs in 119 games. But his biggest strength has been his ability to frame pitches and play defense, and his experience should help what is expected to be a young Royals team this season.In fact, Maldonado’s Gold Glove in 2017 broke Perez’s streak of four straight.Perez underwent Tommy John surgery last week after tearing a ligament in his throwing arm during a spring training workout. Perez is expected to remain with the club while rehabbing this season, and the hope is that the six-time All-Star will be ready by next spring.“We move on. That’s the way it is,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Salvy is going to be with us all year long http://www.diamondbacksfanproshop.com/authentic-zack-greinke-jersey , he’s going to be there doing his rehab — the rehab is a difficult process. But we have to continue to move forward.”Perez’s injury meant the Royals were poised to enter the season with Cam Gallagher, a defensive-minded career backup, and 22-year-old Meibrys Viloria, who has had just 22 big league at-bats.They had also been mulling the use of Frank Schwindel, a college catcher now at first base.But general manager Dayton Moore said he would seek a veteran backstop, whether it was through free agency or a trade. And speculation quickly settled upon the 32-year-old Maldonado, mainly because he was the only veteran that wasn’t already in a major league camp.He broke into the majors with Milwaukee in 2011 and spent his first six years there, before a season-plus with the Angeles. Los Angeles traded him to the Astros last July, and Maldonado helped the club reach the AL Championship Series before losing to the Boston Red Sox.He will have a quick turnaround before opening day.The Royals played the Diamondbacks on Saturday and face the Padres on Sunday, then have split-squad games against the Mariners and Rangers on Monday. But after that Gregor Blanco Jersey , they have just 14 more games before the start of the regular season, including split-squad games next weekend.Kansas City opens the regular season March 28 against the White Sox. SEATTLE — The Oakland Athletics won their battle with the Tampa Bay Rays for an American League wild-card playoff spot Monday night.And now they become the Rays’ best friend.With just five games remaining after Monday’s 7-3 win at Seattle, the A’s (95-62) need help from the Rays and/or the Boston Red Sox if they are to pass the New York Yankees (96-60) for the AL’s first wild card.Article continues below ...That now becomes the A’s goal, with the holder of the top wild card earning the home-field advantage in the single-elimination game next week.The A’s were able to stay within 1 1/2 games of the Yankees, winners earlier in the evening at Tampa Bay, despite knowing they had already clinched a playoff berth by virtue of the Rays’ loss.The A’s will need a similar businesslike approach when left-hander Brett Anderson (4-5, 3.96) duels with Mariners righty Mike Leake (10-10, 4.10) in the second game of the series on Tuesday night.Presumably, the Oakland clubhouse will have dried after a wild celebration following Monday’s win that assured the A’s first postseason appearance since 2014.“This is not a surprise to anybody in our locker room,” A’s manager Bob Melvin gushed afterward. Oakland had finished 2017 with a 75-87 record Fernando Rodney Jersey , a full 10 games out of the final wild-card spot.“We knew we had (the playoff spot) once the game started, but it was kinda cool to finish it off like this,” Melvin continued. “You want to do it the right way. You don’t want to lose and then go in there and celebrate. This is the way you want to do it.”Jonathan Lucroy, Jed Lowrie, Khris Davis and Matt Chapman homered in Monday’s win, and now they’ll set their sights on Leake, who had shut out the A’s on two hits over eight innings on Aug. 15, two weeks before getting shelled for six runs and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings in a rematch.Chapman and Stephen Piscotty had first-inning home runs off Leake in a five-run explosion that helped produce a 7-5 victory at a point when the Mariners also were competing for a wild-card spot.Leake has made seven lifetime starts against the A’s, going 1-2 with a 3.48 ERA.Anderson matched Leake pitch-for-pitch for 7 2/3 innings in the Aug. 15 contest, leaving a scoreless game in the bottom of the eighth.The Mariners went on to win the game 2-0 on a Dee Gordon home run in the 12th inning.Gordon also homered Jorge De La Rosa Jersey , just his fourth of the season, in Monday’s loss. He’s gone 3-for-9 without an extra-base hit in his career against Anderson.The 30-year-old has pitched brilliantly at Safeco Field in his career, going 3-2 with a 1.20 ERA in nine games, including eight starts.He’s 8-4 with a 1.82 ERA overall against the Mariners in 18 meetings (17 starts).The Mariners (85-71), who finish the season with four games against Texas, need to win five of their remaining six to reach the 90-win mark for just the sixth time in franchise history, the first time since 1997.
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