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Harden deal is done

A's pitcher gets a 4-year contract

The Oakland Athletics signed righthander Rich Harden to a $9 million, four-year contract yesterday, including a club option for 2009.

Harden, promoted to the No. 2 spot in the rotation after the December departures of Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder, receives a $1 million signing bonus.

Harden will make $500,000 this season, an increase from his original contract for 2005, which called for a $336,500 salary. He will make $1 million in 2006, $2 million in 2007, and $4.5 million in 2008. The club option is for $7 million and does not include a buyout.

Harden, 23, enters his third major league season after an impressive second half last year. He went 11-7 in 2004, including 8-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break.

Clemens plunked
Roger Clemens was hit on the left wrist by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City's Matt Stairs during the Houston Astros' 3-0 exhibition loss to the Royals last night.

"It is a little sore, but I'm going to ice it," said Clemens. "It will be all right."

In his final tuneup for his first regular-season start Friday against Cincinnati, Clemens gave up two runs -- one earned -- and five hits in six innings. He was hit by Stairs's liner in the sixth.

"It doesn't matter, I had better be getting my mind in tune to pitch six or seven innings," Clemens added. "My body feels good and my legs feel good. I just need to get my mind right now."

Reese on 15-day DL
Shortstop Pokey Reese was put on the 15-day disabled list by the Seattle Mariners because of a sore right shoulder. Reese, 31, signed as a free agent in January after playing in 96 games for the World Series champion Red Sox last season. The Mariners started Wilson Valdez, claimed off waivers from the New York Mets, at shortstop in their spring finale yesterday against the Chicago Cubs in Las Vegas. Valdez made the team's opening day 25-man roster . . . The San Francisco Giants placed slugger Barry Bonds on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 25. Bonds is recovering from two operations on his troublesome right knee in a seven-week span, the latest March 17. Bonds, the seven-time NL MVP, said earlier this spring he might miss half the season or even the whole year . . . The Los Angeles Angels optioned infielder Casey Kotchman to Triple A Salt Lake and placed righthander Kelvim Escobar on the 15-day disabled list as they reduced their active roster to the 25-man limit. The defending AL West champions also purchased the contract of infielder Lou Merloni from the minor leagues and transferred outfielder/designated hitter Tim Salmon from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL . . . Philadelphia Phillies righthander Vicente Padilla threw four shutout innings in a rehabilitation start for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons in Clearwater, Fla. Padilla, recovering from right triceps tendinitis, allowed one hit, while striking out five.

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