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Francisco Rodriguez returns to Brewers with two-year, $13-million deal

Relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez will return to the Milwaukee Brewers

Francisco Rodriguez will be jogging out of the bullpen again for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The closer and the Brewers agreed to a $13-million, two-year contract, a deal subject to the successful completion of a physical.

“One of the things we focused on was the depth in our bullpen, and bringing back a closer who’s very durable put everybody back into a natural spot,” Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. “It actually turns a bullpen which may have been looked at as thin into a bullpen that has some depth when you go through it.”

The 33-year-old Rodriguez revived his career last season, when he converted 44 of 49 save chances. Rodriguez went 5-5 with a 3.04 earned-run average, with 73 strikeouts and 14 home runs given up in 68 innings.

Rodriguez is in his native Venezuela and won’t join the Brewers until he obtains a work visa. He’ll also need to pass a physical examination and the team will have to clear space on the 40-man roster before the deal is finalized.

Rodriguez pitched for the Angels from 2002 to ’08.

Cardinals' Wainwright has abdominal strain

Adam Wainwright has been diagnosed with an abdominal strain but the St. Louis ace could be available to pitch the Cardinals' opener at Wrigley Field on April 5.

Wainwright strained the muscle on Monday while putting a 45-pound weight back on a rack. General manager John Mozeliak said Thursday the strain is about belt high.

“Based on all the different studies and what the doctor saw he feels this was the best news we could have gotten,” Mozeliak said.

Wainwright said the pain originally felt like a twinge when it first occurred and the injury bothered him when he ran or lunged but did not affect his pitching. He walked off a practice field Tuesday following the team's stretch, returned to St. Louis on Wednesday and was examined by Dr. Michael Brunt on Thursday.

“In the end I feel good about what we know, and I know Adam is relieved,” Mozeliak said.


Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth is back on the field, but he's not 100%. Werth participated in outfield drills Thursday during the Nationals' first full-squad workout but was generally limited as he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery. ... San Francisco Giants closer Santiago Casilla was hit on his left shin by a batted ball and left for X-rays during a spring training workout. Casilla was throwing batting practice to Casey McGehee when the reliever got hit. Casilla sustained a bruised shin and could miss his next throwing session due to soreness. ...

Atlanta Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons has a slight left oblique strain. On the day of the team's first full-squad workout, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez couldn't give a date when Simmons will be ready for exhibition games but said the injury wasn't serious. Simmons fielded balls during workouts Thursday but didn't hit or throw. ...

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed two-time Cy Young winner Johan Santana, 36, to a minor league contract, hoping the former ace can make it back to the majors. ... Blue Jays left fielder Michael Saunders could be sidelined until around the All-Star break after stepping on a sprinkler while shagging fly balls and tearing cartilage in his left knee on Wednesday.

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