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Major League Notebook: Kawakami in Atlanta to take his physical

Associated Press
The baseball notebook …
ATLANTA ó Japanese all-star pitcher Kenshin Kawakami was in Atlanta on Monday for a physical needed to finalize an agreement with the Braves, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.
Kawakami, the 2004 Central League MVP, has won 112 games in 11 seasons in Japan and was regarded as one of the top free-agent pitchers from Japan available this offseason. The 33-year-old was 9-5 for the Chunichi Dragons last year, when he missed several weeks because of a back strain.
The 5-foot-10 right-hander would be an important addition to a Braves rotation that has lost John Smoltz and Mike Hampton to free agency and may be without Tim Hudson, who is recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery.
Atlanta is monitoring Tom Glavine’s attempt to return from elbow surgery, but Glavine remains unsigned.
– ATLANTA ó Omar Infante, who started 77 games at five positions for Atlanta last season, agreed Monday to a $4,325,000, two-year contract with the Braves.
CLEMENS UPDATE
WASHINGTON ó Nearly a year after Roger Clemens told Congress he did not use performance-enhancing drugs, a federal grand jury is being asked to determine whether he should be indicted on charges of lying under oath.
The grand-jury probe was confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday by two people who were briefed on the matter. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because grand jury proceedings are supposed to be secret.
Congress asked the Justice Department to look into whether the seven-time Cy Young Award winner lied when he testified under oath that he never took illegal performance enhancers.
That contradicted the sworn testimony of his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, who said under oath that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone.
ASTROS
HOUSTONó Closer Jose Valverde and the Houston Astros avoided salary arbitration when they agreed Monday to an $8 million, one-year contract.
RAYS
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó The AL champion Tampa Bay Rays made another move Monday to bolster their depth and right-handed hitting, agreeing to a $1,000,018, one-year contract with outfielder Gabe Kapler.
ANGELS
LOS ANGELES ó Mike Scioscia’s extension with the Los Angeles Angels puts the most successful manager in franchise history under contract through the 2018 season.
The Angels have an 803-655 record for a winning percentage of .551 in nine seasons under Scioscia, who turned 50 in November. They won the World Series in 2002 and have won four of the last five AL West titles.
The Angels were baseball’s only 100-game winners in 2008, but were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox in the AL division series for the second consecutive year.
INDIANS
CLEVELAND ó One of baseball’s longest streaks endures.
The Cleveland Indians agreed to a $1.95 million, one-year contract Monday with catcher Kelly Shoppach, extending their streak of avoiding salary arbitration to 18 years.
WHITE SOX
CHICAGOó Left-hander Aaron Poreda and infielder Gordon Beckham, drafted in the first round by the Chicago White Sox the last two years, were among 18 players invited Monday to spring training.
Beckham, a first-rounder in 2008 out of Georgia, played in Kannapolis this summer for the Kannapolis Intimidators Class A team.
RANGERS
FORT WORTH, TX. ó The Texas Rangers are exploring trade options for five-time All-Star shortstop Michael Young at the player’s request after he became upset about the team’s plan to move him to third base.

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