Talented shortstop Andrelton Simmons has agreed to a seven-year contract extension with the Atlanta Braves Thursday.
Though financial details were not disclosed by the club, local media estimated the deal to be worth $58 million.
Simmons, 24, won the Gold Glove for fielding excellence in 2013 when he led all players in the majors with 499 assists, and proved his power capabilities by blasting 17 home runs while batting .248.
He was credited with 41 defensive runs saved last season, the highest total recorded by a player since that statistic was introduced in 2003.
“We believe he is the premier shortstop in the game, and we’re thrilled to have him signed through all of his arbitration years and his first two free-agent years,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said in a statement.
“It continues with the theme of keeping our core together for a long time, and we think he’s an integral part of that.”
The Braves ended last season on top of the National League East standings, winning their first division title since 2005 when they ended a record run of 14 in a row.
HARRISON TO UNDERGO MRI
Texas Rangers left-handed starter Matt Harrison, who will undergo an MRI on Thursday for a stiff back, has been removed from all baseball activities, according to general manager Jon Daniels.
Daniels said Harrison would return to Dallas Monday to be examined by spine specialist Dr. Drew Dossett, who performed both of Harrison’s back procedures last year.
“You hope for the best,” Daniels told the Dallas Morning News. “But with everything he went through last year, there is a level of concern. Hopefully, it’s just some irritation from getting going. ... He did a lot this winter without having any issues.”
Harrison had back issues last April after just two starts and ended up having a herniated disc repaired at the end of the month. He was 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA in those outings.
The 28-year-old Harrison came into 2013 looking to build off an 18-win season in 2012. His performance earned him a five-year, $55 million deal, plus a club option for 2018.
GUILTY PLEAS IN FAN BEATING
Two men pleaded guilty Thursday to the severe beating of a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in a high-profile 2011 attack that raised questions about the potential dangers of sports rivalries, prosecutors said.
Bryan Stow, a 45-year-old paramedic, was attacked on opening day of the 2011 baseball season in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium, in an assault that left him with brain damage. The beating raised questions about security at the stadium and led to calls to avoid outbreaks of violence tied to sports rivalries, as the victim was a Giants fan.
Two men were charged in the assault. Louie Sanchez, 31, who attacked Stow from behind and knocked him to the ground, pleaded guilty to a charge of mayhem and was sentenced to eight years in prison, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
His accomplice, Marvin Norwood, 33, at the same hearing pleaded guilty to assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and was sentenced to four years behind bars, prosecutors said.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig did not practice Thursday after he fouled a ball off his right thigh the day before ... New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has been cleared by doctors to begin throwing a baseball for the first time since Tommy John surgery last October ... St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced staff ace Adam Wainwright as his opening day starter ... Boston Red Sox minor league pitcher Francisco Tena has received a 50-game suspension without pay after testing positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.