Former Minnesota Twins outfielder Jason Kubel signed with the Arizona… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
The Arizona Diamondbacks reached agreement on a two-year, $15-million contract with free-agent outfielder Jason Kubel.
General Manager Kevin Towers confirmed the deal late Monday afternoon, saying it was contingent on Kubel passing a physical. The contract includes a mutual option for a third year.
The addition comes as something of a surprise because it would send left fielder Gerardo Parra to the bench as the Diamondbacks' fourth outfielder. Parra had a breakthrough season a year ago, batting .292 and winning a Gold Glove as one of the game's best defensive outfielders.
Kubel would add a left-handed-hitting slugger to the batting order in home run-friendly Chase Field. He had 104 home runs and 429 runs batted in during seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins.
The 29-year-old outfielder was limited by injury to 99 games last season, batting .273 with12 homers and 58 RBIs. In 2010, Kubel hit .249 in 143 games with 21 home runs and 92 RBIs. His best season came in 2009, when he batted .300, hit 28 home runs and drove in 102.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins and the Philadelphia Phillies finalized a $33-million, three-year contract. The deal includes a vesting option for a fourth year at $11 million. If not vested, that could be a club option at $8 million or a player option at $5 million. Rollins is a three-time All-Star and the 2007 National League MVP.
Reliever Frank Francisco signed a two-year contract with the New York Mets. The 32-year-old Francisco went 1-4 with 17 saves and a 3.55 earned-run average in 54 games with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011.
Outfielder Mike Cameron agreed to a minor league contract with the Washington Nationals and an invitation to spring training. Cameron, who turns 39 in January, split last season between the Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins.
Craig James has left his position at ESPN as a college football analyst to run for the U.S. Senate in Texas. James announced Monday he was running. After his announcement, ESPN said he could no longer work for the network because he had chosen to enter politics.
James said he would run as a conservative Republican and work to fix the broken political system in Washington. He also touted his personal history and business experience.
James was a star tailback at Southern Methodist University and with the New England Patriots in the 1980s.
Ernie Els and Retief Goosen enter the 2012 season without any assurances of playing in the Masters.
The field for the Masters took shape Monday after the final official week of golf tournaments around the world. Among the criteria for an invitation is to be among the top 50 in the world ranking at the end of the season.
Els, a three-time major champion who has suffered plenty of heartaches at Augusta National, fell to No. 56 in the final ranking. Els has been eligible for the Masters every year since his debut in 1994. Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion, is at No. 53.
Jim Furyk narrowly claimed a spot in the Masters, to be played April 5-8, when he finished at No. 50.
Striker David Villa has only a slim chance of playing for Barcelona again this season and could also miss the 2012 European Championship after undergoing surgery on his broken leg. One of the doctors who performed the operation said the 30-year-old Spain star would be sidelined for four to five months. Villa was hurt during Barcelona's semifinal win over Al Sadd at the Club World Cup on Thursday.
Harley Sewell, a Detroit Lions offensive lineman during the championship seasons in the 1950s, has died. He was 80. The Lions said that Sewell died Saturday after an extended illness. He played 10 seasons with the Lions, one with the Los Angeles Rams and was a scout for the Rams for 37 seasons.