Yankees Pay $2 Million to Keep Gooden in Pinstripes

From Staff and Wire Reports

Dwight Gooden's $2-million option was exercised Friday by the New York Yankees.

Gooden was 11-7 with a 5.01 earned-run average last season and provided a highlight when he pitched a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners on May 14.

Gooden, signed by the Yankees as a free agent on Oct. 16, 1995, was hit hard late in the season and missed the postseason because of a tired arm.

If the Yankees had not exercised the option, they would have had to pay a $300,000 buyout.


Outfielder Roberto Kelly, disappointed with his limited role with the Twins last season, agreed to a $750,000, one-year contract.

That likely means Minnesota will not shop for an expensive, power-hitting right fielder to replace Kirby Puckett and will focus instead on improving its pitching and trying to attract free-agent catcher Terry Steinbach, a Minnesota native.

Kelly batted .323 with six homers, 47 runs batted in, 17 doubles and four triples in 98 games last season, his eighth full year in the majors.

He was especially effective as a starting in right field after Puckett was forced into retirement by the loss of vision in his right eye.

In 49 starts in right field, Kelly batted .393 with five homers, 29 RBIs, 10 doubles and two triples.


Catcher Darrin Fletcher's $1.35-million option for 1997 was exercised by the Montreal Expos.

The Expos must now decide whether to keep Fletcher, 30, and his left-handed power as insurance for newly-acquired catcher Chris Widger or trade him to cut their payroll.

The Expos hope the right-handed batting Widger, a rookie obtained from Seattle in a five-player deal this week that sent pitcher Jeff Fassero to the Mariners, will become their starting catcher next season.


Outfielder Jim Eisenreich, pitchers Mike Henneman, Mike Maddux, and Jamie Navarro and catcher Dave Valle filed for free agency, raising the total to 88.


Baltimore Oriole outfielder B.J. Surhoff underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to be ready to play by spring training, the team said.

Surhoff had been suffering from a tear in the meniscus cartilage in the knee throughout the playoffs.


Pat Hentgen was tagged for five runs in the first inning, and the Japanese all-stars opened an eight-game goodwill series by beating the U.S. major leaguers, 6-5, in Japan.

Brady Anderson homered for the major leaguers, back in Japan after a four-year absence. The tour that had been scheduled in 1994 was canceled by the major leaguers' 232-day strike.

The major league team had five hits against six pitchers, none after the fifth inning. After the major leaguers tied the score in the fifth, John Franco of the New York Mets gave up the go-ahead run on a run-scoring single by Takeshi Yamasaki.

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