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Mariner killed; brother arrested

Associated Press / November 22, 2011

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Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was stabbed to death early yesterday in the Netherlands and his brother was arrested as a suspect, Dutch police said.

Rotterdam Police spokeswoman Patricia Wessels said police were called to a home in the port city in the early hours of the morning and found the 24-year-old Dutch player bleeding from a stab wound.

The officers and ambulance paramedics were unable to resuscitate Halman.

The police arrested his younger brother, Jason Halman, 22, as a suspect in the incident, although no charges had been made by last night.

“He is under arrest and right now he is being questioned,’’ Wessels told the Associated Press in a telephone interview. “It will take some time to figure out what exactly happened.’’

Halman hit .230 in 35 games and made starts at all three outfield positions for the Mariners in 2011 before being optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.

Mariners chairman Howard Lincoln, president Chuck Armstrong, and general manager Jack Zduriencik paid tribute to Halman on behalf of the club.

“Greg was a part of our organization since he was 16 and we saw him grow into a passionate young man and talented baseball player,’’ they said in a statement. “He had an infectious smile that would greet you in the clubhouse, and he was a tremendous teammate. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Greg’s family.’’

Because he played professionally in the US, Halman was not part of the Netherlands team that won the Baseball World Cup in Panama last month. The Dutch beat Cuba, 2-1, in the final to become the first European team to win the title.

“The loss of a talented 24-year-old young man like Greg, amid such tragic circumstances, is painful for all of us throughout the game,’’ commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to the entire Mariners organization and to all those whose lives were touched by Greg.’’

Born in Haarlem, Halman played in the Dutch Pro League and was part of the gold-medal winning Dutch squad at the 2007 European Championship and played for the Netherlands at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Former major leaguer Robert Eenhorn, the technical director of the Dutch baseball association, said he was devastated by the news.

“The only thing I can say right now is we are deeply shocked,’’ Eenhorn, who played for the Yankees and Angels in the 1990s, told the AP. “All our thoughts are with his family and how they are going to have to deal with this tremendous loss.’’

Labor deal reached

Today at 1 p.m., Major League Baseball and the Players Association will announce they have reached an agreement on a five-year labor deal, well ahead of the Dec. 11 expiration of the current CBA.

The new CBA is expected to raise the minimum salary from $414,000 to $480,000 in 2012, and to more than $500,000 before the end of the pact. One of the biggest issues was blood testing for human growth hormone, which the players were expected to block, but in the end have agreed on a plan they don’t feel is too intrusive or a violation of their privacy. The penalties will be similar to the steroid policy, and would be in place as early as next season. There would be a 50-game suspension for failing a first test.

The sides were also able to agree to changes in the amateur draft and draft pick compensation.

Also bargained were changes in the playoff format and the switch of the Astros from the National League Central to the American League West in 2013. The new alignment will leave three five-team divisions in each league, which will increase the number of interleague playoff games to up to 30.

The playoffs will also include two extra wild-card teams, one in each league.


Texas signs Nathan

Joe Nathan and the Rangers have agreed to a two-year contract with a club option for 2014, a move that means closer Neftali Feliz will become a starter.

Nathan, who turns 37 today, missed the 2010 season following Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow and struggled to find his form with Minnesota this year. The four-time All-Star went 2-1 with a 4.84 ERA and 14 saves in 48 appearances, losing his job as closer early in the season before reclaiming it later.

The Rangers say they have informed Feliz that he will switch from the bullpen to the rotation, a move that would help offset the loss of free-agent starter C.J. Wilson if he signs elsewhere.

Pirates, Barmes agree

Clint Barmes and the Pirates agreed to a $10.5 million, two-year contract that gives the 33-year-old shortstop a chance to reunite with old manager Clint Hurdle and gives Pittsburgh a chance to add some needed pop to the bottom of the lineup. Barmes spent the first seven seasons of his career playing under Hurdle in Colorado, helping the Rockies to the 2007 World Series. He hit .244 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI in 123 games last season with Houston, who acquired him in a trade. Pittsburgh viewed Barmes as the third-best free agent prospect at shortstop behind Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins . . . A Delaware bankruptcy judge has appointed retired US District Judge Joseph Farnan Jr. to mediate a dispute between Fox Sports and the Dodgers over the club’s plan to sell media rights to future games. The mediation will begin Nov. 28 in Los Angeles.

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