It's been a big year for Michael Cuddyer.
Cuddyer went into Spring Training last year without a defined role with the Minnesota Twins. But he claimed the everyday right-field job and ended up driving in 109 runs while hitting .284.
The offseason hasn't been bad, either. Cuddyer returned to his home in Virginia after getting married in Jamaica. He's happy, he has job security, and his wedding was a good time for everyone involved.
"LeCroy was in the wedding," Cuddyer said of former Twins teammate Matt LeCroy in an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "You know how he sweats. My wedding pictures are awful."
He is, of course, just giving an old friend a hard time.
"We had a great time," he said. "A year like this will never happen again. It was a breakout season on the field and then the wedding."
Now, as the 2007 season approaches, Cuddyer is secure in the knowledge that the right-field job is his.
"He's got pretty good status here for the coming years," general manager Terry Ryan said.
Cuddyer finds that idea to be comforting.
"It's comforting to say the least," Cuddyer said. "Now I can worry about the team instead of worrying about my future with the team. Now I can worry about getting back to the playoffs."
Gonzalez likes look of Dodgers: The Dodgers signed free agent outfielder Luis Gonzalez to a one-year contract. Gonzalez, who spent the past eight seasons with the Diamondbacks, batted .271 with 15 home runs and 73 RBIs in 153 games.
"The ownership and [general manager] Ned [Colletti] have shown a commitment to wanting to win," Gonzalez told the Los Angeles Daily News. "When you see the moves they've made and all the young players they have, it was kind of a no-brainer (to sign).
"Everybody wants to get back to the playoffs and the World Series. When you look at the team they've put together, it looks very good on paper. Now it's up to us to produce and get to the next step."
Gonzalez adds a potent gap hitter to the Dodgers' lineup.
"I've always considered myself a doubles hitter," Gonzalez said. "I came up in the Houston organization and played in the Astrodome. Rarely do I go up to the plate trying to hit the ball out. I'm more about trying to square a ball up and hit it solid."
Mays: Bonds should break the record as a Giant: The Giants have agreed in principle with Barry Bonds on a one-year contract, although it is not yet official.
The proposed deal would give Bonds the chance to break Hank Aaron's home-run mark with the team he has spent the past 14 seasons. The news has been well-received by people in and out of the Giants' organization.
"I don't know how many home runs he can hit, but I think he can hit 22," Hall of Famer Willie Mays told the San Francisco Chronicle.
"I think he should be here," Mays said. "He has more history here than anywhere else. It's appropriate that he end his career here."
Veteran pitcher Steve Kline, who the Giants also recently re-signed, was happy with the news on Bonds.
"If Barry can come back and hit like he did and go for the record, it's going to be fun," Kline said. "The stuff that goes with it is not always fun, but you've got to deal with it as a professional athlete. You've got to be able to handle questions about Barry. I'm sure he's happy to be back. Giants fans are happy he's back. Let's see if he can come back to his old form and rake the crap out of the ball."
Pettitte enjoys years with Astros: Former New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte will return to the Big Apple in 2007 after agreeing to a one-year contract with a player option for 2008.
Pettitte, who only last week decided to play next year and not retire, said coming home to pitch for Houston three years ago was the right decision for him.
"When I left New York, everybody up there was saying, 'You're an idiot. You're going to go down there (where) the fans are terrible. It's going to be a bad situation,' " Pettitte told the Houston Chronicle. "From the day I got here, whether we were in first (place) or third or whatever, the fans have been absolutely unbelievable. It's been great. We filled the stadium up every night. The support that has been here has been absolutely amazing.
"This is where I live. It's been great to go around the city. That's one thing I'm proud of. I feel like when we signed three years ago, we brought a lot of excitement to the town."
Springer has 'unfinished business' in St. Louis: Russ Springer, who pitched for the Cardinals in 2003, has rejoined the team as a free agent.
"I missed the middle part of that (2003) season with a bad elbow," Springer told the St. Louis Post Dispatch. "Since then, I've had three healthy seasons. Not only do I want to go back there, I almost feel like I have some unfinished business there."
With an opportunity to work late in games, Springer says that St. Louis was a good fit for him.
"They told me I was going to pitch near the end of the game. They weren't getting me for mop-up," Springer said.
Springer added that he wasn't necessarily looking to leave the Astros, but the time was right to go back to the Cardinals.
"We went to Houston to be closer to home with my family situation and it worked well for 2 1/2 years," said Springer. "I enjoyed the time I was in St. Louis the first time. I knew if I was going to go anywhere other than Houston, St. Louis would be my first choice. If you're going to the defending world champion, you're going to a quality situation."
Borowski will pitch late for Indians: Veteran reliever Joe Borowski, signed last week by the Cleveland Indians, gives the team a good option late in games -- be that as a setup man or the Indians' closer.
"Borowski will be used as a back-end option," general manager Mark Shapiro told the Akron Beacon Journal. "He is a potential closer. Going into Spring Training, we'll have defined ideas about our closer options, and by the end of Spring Training, we'll know who the closer is."
And with no further signings, that person would apparently be Borowski.
"If we went (into the season) today," Shapiro said, "Joe would be our closer. But we're still trying to build a deeper, stronger bullpen."
Borowski says that he'd prefer to close, but doesn't mind working in the eighth inning if that's what the Indians ask him to do.
"Mark talked to me a while ago," he said. "He told me I'd pitch at the end of the game, the eighth or ninth inning. Either is fine with me. And these things have a way of working themselves out."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.