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Professional

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Baseball

Cardinals’ Craig agrees to $31 million deal

– Allen Craig, coming off a breakout season with the St. Louis Cardinals, agreed Friday to a $31 million, five-year contract that could be worth $43 million over six seasons.

Craig gets $1.75 million this year, $2.75 million in 2014, $5.5 million in 2015, $9 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017. The Cardinals have a $13 million option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout.

The 28-year-old Craig would have been eligible for salary arbitration next winter and for free agency after the 2016 World Series.

He has 150 RBI in 238 big league games and was sixth in the NL last season with a .307 average. He had 22 home runs and 92 RBI despite not playing his first game until May 1 following offseason surgery on his right knee.

Craig is a career .300 hitter and became the Cardinals’ primary first baseman last year after Lance Berkman got hurt. Craig also made 30 starts in the outfield.

“I think he’s proven he’s the type of player that, when he’s in the lineup, can make an impact,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.

World Classic

In Tokyo, Jonathan Schoop hit a three-run homer to lead the Netherlands over Cuba 6-2 in the second round of the World Baseball Classic. … In Tokyo, two-time defending champion Japan defeated Tawain 4-3 in 10 innings. Cuba must defeat Taiwan today to have a chance to advance to the final round in San Francisco on March 17-19. …

In Phoenix, Chris Colabello drove in four runs with four hits, including a three-run homer, and Italy routed Canada 14-4 to improve to 2-0 in Group D competition. …

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, Carlos Beltran’s RBI double keyed a three-run first inning and three Puerto Rico pitchers combined on a five-hitter in a 3-0 victory over Spain in their Group C opener.

Jeter might play

Derek Jeter could be making his first game appearance today since breaking an ankle last October.

“I won’t be giving him any must goes and those of those type of things,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ll see how he feels.”

Girardi said Jeter will be the DH until he’s ready to return to shortstop. Whether Jeter plays today will be decided this morning, Girardi said.

The Yankees play Atlanta in Tampa today, which also could be the first game appearance of Mariano Rivera since injuring a knee last May.

Around the majors

In Lakeland, Fla., Max Scherzer struck out six in 2 2/3 hitless innings as Detroit defeated the New York Mets 3-2. …

In Glendale, Ariz., With rain forecast, the Chicago White Sox had Jake Peavy pitch a simulated game rather than wait for the exhibition against San Diego that was washed out after three innings. Peavy threw 60 pitches to hitters that included Adam Dunn. and took inning breaks, as he would in a normal game.

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