Baseball - Major League Baseball roundup

Dec 19 (The Sports Xchange) - The New York Yankees announced the signing of eight-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove outfielder Carlos Beltran to a three-year contract Thursday.

Beltran initially reached agreement on a three-year, $45 million contract with the Yankees on Dec. 6, according to multiple reports.

In 2013, the 36-year-old Beltran batted .296 (164-for-554) with 79 runs, 30 doubles, 24 home runs and 84 RBIs in 145 games with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 17 postseason games, including his first career trip to the World Series, he hit .268 (15-for-56) with three doubles, two home runs and 15 RBIs, most among 2013 playoff participants.

Beltran is expected to split time between right field and designated hitter next season. The Yankees' returning outfielders include Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Alfonso Soriano, and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury signed a seven-year, $153 million deal earlier this month.

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The Cleveland Indians announced Thursday the club has signed free agent right-handed closer John Axford to a one-year, $4.5 million contract.

Axford split the 2013 season between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals, going a combined 7-7 with a 4.02 ERA in 75 relief appearances.

Axford, 30, was the Brewers' closer from 2010-12, and he led the National League with 46 saves in 2011. He wound up as a middle reliever in 2013, then was dealt to St. Louis in August.

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Tampa Bay Rays infielder Tim Beckham might be able to return in the middle of the 2014 season after undergoing right knee surgery this week.

The team announced the procedure was a success and said the rookie would be sidelined six to eight months. Dr. James Andrews performed the operation in Pensacola, Florida.

Beckham, 23, was hurt during an offseason workout. The number one overall pick in the 2008 draft, Beckham made his major league debut in 2013, going 3-for-7 with one RBI in five September games. Beckham spent the majority of last season with Triple-A Durham, hitting .276.

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The Cincinnati Reds signed right-hander Wang Chien-Ming on Thursday to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Wang 33, went 8-7 with a 2.87 ERA in 18 appearances, including 17 starts, at Triple-A in 2013, but 1-2 with a 7.67 ERA in six major league starts for the Toronto Blue Jays before being released..

Wang pitched for the New York Yankees from 2005 to 2008, going 54-20 with a 3.79 ERA until he suffered an injury to his foot in 2008. Wang won 19 games each in 2006 and 2007.

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The Baltimore Orioles reached an agreement with veteran Xavier Paul on a minor league contract, the Baltimore Sun reported Thursday.

Paul, a free agent, played in 97 games for the Cincinnati Reds last season and batted .244 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs. The left-handed-hitting Paul has a .254 career batting average in parts of five major-league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Reds.