They haven't played any World Series games at Wrigley Field lately, but new Chicago Cubs manager Dave Sveum intends to have his players pretending they're in the Fall Classic in every game.
"This organization has got to change as far as how the game is played on an everyday basis," Sveum said Friday, as he was introduced as manager.
"It has to go in another direction to play this game like it's the seventh game of the World Series everyday."
Sveum, who has 20 years of MLB experience as a player and coach, got a three-year contract with an option for 2015.
"He's the ideal guy to lead the organization as it continues to grow," Cubs president Theo Epstein said.
Sveum, 47, inherits a team that finished fifth in the NL Central last season with a 71-91 record. The Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908.
Epstein, who was brought in this year to reshape the Cubs, was general manager of the Boston Red Sox when Sveum was the third base coach there in 2004-05.
"He has intensity, he's fearless and he's extremely comfortable in his own skin," Epstein said. "He has been a strong coach and he'll be a strong manager."
DODGERS REWARD KEMP
The Los Angeles Dodgers made it official, re-signing all-star outfielder Matt Kemp to an eight-year deal Friday worth $160 million.
Kemp, one of the favourites for the NL's MVP award to be announced Tuesday, had a breakout year in 2011, hitting .324 and leading the league with 39 home runs, 126 RBI and 115 runs.
"I still want to win the MVP," he said. "Being thought of as one of the best makes you want to try harder the next year," the 27-year-old said.
RAMOS CHECKS IN
Catcher Wilson Ramos, a kidnap victim for two days last week in his native Venezuela, was in Washington Friday to get checked out by Nationals doctors.
"It's good to see him face to face, grab hold of him, see that he's in good shape," general manager Mike Rizzo said. "He's in a good mind-set. He's happy, smiling and relieved."
Ramos gave a brief statement, thanking fans for their prayers and support.
He will return Saturday to Venezuela and will resume playing winter ball next Tuesday.
Ramos was abducted Nov. 9 by four armed men and freed by police two days later. Eight suspects have been charged.
LAIRD BACK WITH TIGERS
Gerald Laird has signed a one-year contract reported to be worth $1 million to be the Detroit Tigers backup catcher to Alex Avila.
Victor Martinez had been the No. 2 catcher in 2011 but will focus almost exclusively on being a designated hitter next season.
Laird, 32, was with the St. Louis Cardinals this past season, hitting .232. He spent the 2009 and '10 seasons in Detroit.
The players association and owners have agreed on a five-year collective bargaining agreement, Foxsports.com reported Friday. The deal, which was completed without public animosity, will be announced Monday ... The Minnesota Twins have signed switch-hitter Ryan Doumit, 30, to a one-year contract. Doumit offers versatility, with his ability to play the outfield, first base and catcher ... Yankees manager Brian Cashman told ESPN New York Friday that he is interested in re-signing pitchers Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia