Dodgers' Kershaw won't play for Team USA
Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw says he won't be pitching for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic and called the situation "super disappointing." "Probably my last chance to get to do it, so I really wanted to do it, but it just didn't work out for a number of reasons," Kershaw told reporters Friday from the Dodgers' spring training camp. "Disappointing, but that's OK. I'll be ready for the season. I'll be ready to go."
The three-time Cy Young Award winner didn't specify the reasons that would prevent him from participating. "There were some factors that were making it hard for me to play," Kershaw said. "I tried to work it out on my own, tried to work it out with MLB, union, the team. Everybody worked hard to try to make it work. Just wasn't able to." Kershaw, who turns 35 on March 19, added that Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has been helpful throughout the process.
"Obviously it's not the first choice of any team to let their guy play for somebody else, but they were great about it," Kershaw said.
Kershaw signed a one-year, $20 million contract to return to the Dodgers this season. He went 12-3 with 2.28 ERA in 22 starts and had two stints on the injured list last season.
Padres' Machado plans to opt out
Manny Machado says he plans to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract with the San Diego Padres after this season.
Machado signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres in February 2019, a deal that gives him the right to terminate the agreement after this season and become a free agent. The third baseman, who turns 31 in July, would forfeit $150 million from his current deal, which calls for a $30 million annual salary through 2028. "Obviously the team knows where I stand, my situation with the opt-out coming," Machado told reporters Friday at the Padres' spring-training camp in Peoria, Arizona. "I think I've expressed that I will be opting out after this year, but I think my focus is not about 2024. I think my focus is about 2023, what I can do to this ballclub, what I've done for this organization and what we're going to continue to do here. I think we've got something special here growing and I don't think anything's going to change."
Machado's contract was a record for a free agent when he agreed to it and the second-largest in the major leagues behind Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million. But he is now tied for the 11th-highest after an offseason topped by AL MVP Aaron Judge's $360 million, nine-year contract to stay with the New York Yankees. The Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout leads the major leagues at $426.5 million.
"Markets change," Machado said. "From when I signed five years ago. It's changed tremendously. Things change and evolve. As a player who's about to opt out, it's pretty good to see."
A six-time All-Star, Machado is coming off a season in which he finished second in the NL MVP voting. He batted .298 with 32 homers, 102 RBIs, a .366 on-base percentage and a .531 slugging percentage.
Cortes throws bullpen session
New York Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes had a 24-pitch bullpen session after 10 days of not throwing due to a strained right hamstring. Cortes remains optimistic about being ready for opening day on March 30.
"It went better than I expected, actually," Cortes said. "No issue as far as throwing and landing. As of right now there is no pain."
Cortes went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts during an All-Star season last year.
"Nestor was really sharp," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I was really encouraged."
Yankees reliever Michael King threw 25 pitches over two innings of a simulated game. He didn't pitch after July 22 because of a fractured right elbow that required surgery.
Alvarado, Phillies agree to 3-year deal
Reliever José Alvarado and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed Friday to a $22 million, three-year contract, superseding a $3.45 million, one-year deal reached a week earlier that avoided salary arbitration.
Alvarado gets a $50,000 signing bonus and a $3.45 million salary this year, then receives $9 million in each of the following two seasons. The Phillies have a $9 million option for 2026 with a $500,000 buyout.
A 27-year-old left-hander, Alvarado would have been eligible for free agency after this season.
He went 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA and two saves in 59 relief appearances last year.
Alvarado had a 5.56 ERA in 12 postseason appearances for the NL champions, getting the win in the Game 5 pennant-clincher against San Diego. Alvarado failed to hold a one-run lead in the sixth inning of World Series Game 6, relieving Zack Wheeler with two on and giving up a long three-run homer to Houston's Yordan Alvarez. The Astros went on to a 4-1 victory that won the title.
Rolen to enter Hall with Cards cap
Scott Rolen will have a St. Louis Cardinals cap on his Hall of Fame plaque and Fred McGriff will not have a team logo. Rolen, a seven-time All-Star third baseman elected last month by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, played for Philadelphia (1996-2002), St. Louis (2002-07), Toronto (2008-09) and Cincinnati (2010-12). McGriff, a five-time All-Star first baseman elected by the Contemporary Baseball Players Era Committee in December, played for Toronto (1986-90), San Diego (1991-93), Atlanta (1993-97), Tampa Bay (1998-2001 and 2004), the Chicago Cubs (2001-02) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (2003).