Baseball notes

AP source: Pirates, Red Sox near deal for Hanrahan

The Boston Red Sox are pursuing another burly right-hander to shore up their bullpen.

A person familiar with the talks said the Red Sox and Pirates are close to completing a trade that would send All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan to Boston for a handful of prospects.

Pittsburgh would ship Hanrahan and another player to the Red Sox in exchange for four players, including outfielder-first baseman Jerry Sands and minor league pitcher Stolmy Pimentel. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade was pending physicals and had not been finalized.

The 31-year-old Hanrahan has been one of baseball's best closers the last two years, saving 76 games from 2011-12 and making the NL All-Star team in both seasons. He made $4,135,000 this year and is eligible for arbitration, putting him in line for a hefty raise.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Hanrahan and his 96 mph fastball gave the Pirates stability at the back end of the bullpen after he took over the closer's role full-time in 2011. He helped the Pirates post a 22-game improvement from 2010 to 2012. Pittsburgh went 79-83 this year, tied for the franchise's best record in two decades - though it was still the team's 20th straight losing season.

AP source: Ibanez, Mariners agree to $2.75M deal

Raul Ibanez and the Seattle Mariners have agreed to a $2.75 million, one-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The deal allows Ibanez to earn an additional $1.25 million in performance bonuses, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement had not been announced.

Ibanez returns to the team he began his big league career with from 1996-00, then rejoined from 2004-08.

Now 40, Ibanez spent the past season with the New York Yankees and became popular with fans for his late-game home runs. He had hoped to remain with New York, but the Yankees have moved slowly during the offseason.

Ibanez hit .240 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs in 384 at-bats, his pull swing making him a natural for the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. He batted just .197 with five RBIs in 61 at-bats against left-handers.

Including the playoffs, Ibanez hit five home runs that tied the score for the Yankees and eight that put New York ahead, according to STATS. He homered twice after entering as a pinch hitter on Sept. 22 in a 10-9, 14-inning win over Oakland. And with New York fighting for the AL East title, he delivered a tying, pinch-hit homer against Boston in the ninth on Oct. 2 and then singled in the winning run in the 12th.

Ex-MLB player Ryan Freel found dead in Fla. home

Former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel has been found dead in his Florida home, and authorities are investigating his death as a possible suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Shannon Hartley said Sunday that the 36-year-old Freel's body was found at his Jacksonville home Saturday afternoon. The medical examiner will make the final determination of the cause of death.

The career of the speedy Freel was cut short after eight seasons by head injuries. He spent six of his eight big-league seasons with the Cincinnati Reds and finished his career in 2009 with a .268 average and 143 steals. The Florida native once estimated he'd sustained up to 10 concussions.

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