Morneau's in the money

SUN MEDIA NEWS SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau avoided arbitration yesterday by agreeing to a one-year contract worth $7.4-million US.

The Twins also reached one-year deals with reliever Juan Rincon ($2.4 million) and outfielder-designated hitter Jason Kubel ($1.3 million).

Morneau, a New Westminster, B.C., native and the American League's Most Valuable Player in 2006, received a raise of nearly $3 million from the $4.5 million he made last year while hitting .271 with 31 home runs and 111 RBIs.

Though he matched his MVP season in power, he dropped 50 points on his average. He's not eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season.

The first Twins player to hit 30 homers in consecutive seasons since Gary Gaetti in 1986 and 1987, Morneau has said previously he's open to a long-term extension but that he'd also like to see how the Twins put together their roster.

Assistant GM Rob Antony said there have been discussions about a long-term extension for Morneau this winter.

"With arbitration staring us in the face, we decided it was best to get this done now," Antony said.

Talks could get going once the team decides what to do with left-hander Johan Santana.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner has been on the trade market for months, and his $13.25 million salary for 2008 would be a big chunk of money off the books if he's dealt.

CLEMENS WILL TESTIFY

WASHINGTON -- Roger Clemens will give Congress a deposition or transcribed interview next Saturday in advance of the House hearing where the pitcher and his former trainer, Brian McNamee, are to testify.

Letters were sent to Clemens, McNamee and three other people yesterday by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis.

The letters ask the witnesses to meet with committee staff on specific dates leading up to the panel's scheduled Feb. 13 hearing. Clemens's lawyer said he would accept.

McNamee, who has been seeking immunity for his congressional testimony, was asked to meet with committee staff Jan. 31.

Clemens's former teammate and workout partner, Andy Pettitte, was asked to appear Jan. 30, while another former teammate, Chuck Knoblauch, was invited for Jan. 24. Pettitte has acknowledged that McNamee injected him with HGH.

"The committee asks that you provide testimony about allegations in Senator George Mitchell's report ... that you and other Major League Baseball players used performance enhancing drugs during your professional baseball career," Waxman and Davis wrote to Clemens.

BOSOX INK LOPEZ

BOSTON -- Lefty specialist Javier Lopez and the Boston Red Sox yesterday agreed to a one-year contract worth $840,000 US.

Lopez was 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 40 2-3 innings last season.

The 30-year-old had 61 relief appearances for the World Series champions, second on the team to Hideki Okajima, who had 66 appearances.

Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis and relief pitcher Kyle Snyder remain in salary arbitration.

Youkilis asked for $3.7 million yesterday and was offered $2.5 million by the Red Sox, up from the $424,500 he made last year.

Snyder asked for $1.025 million and was offered $725,000, up from last season's salary of $535,000.


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