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White Sox reliever agrees to deal

Chicago White Sox: The club agreed to terms on a three-year, $4.5 million contract with reliever Damaso Marte, who has shown promise as a closer over the past two seasons.

The deal also includes club options for 2007 and 2008.

Marte, 29, went 4-2 with a 1.58 ERA and 11 saves in 71 appearances
last season. The left-hander was fifth among AL relievers with 87 strikeouts and allowed just 50 hits and 34
walks in a career-high 79 2/3 innings.

"Damaso has emerged as one of the best left-handed relief
pitchers in baseball and has excelled in a variety of roles
within our bullpen over the past two seasons," White Sox general
manager Ken Williams said.

Cincinnati Reds: The Reds honored former owner Marge Schott by flying their team pennant at half-staff and holding a moment of silence before an intrasquad game Wednesday.

Schott, 75, died Tuesday at a hospital in Cincinnati after a three-week stay for breathing problems. Team captain Barry Larkin said he will represent the club at her funeral on Saturday.

Schott's 15-year tenure as owner included a World Series championship in 1990 and suspensions for inflammatory comments. She used racial slurs and repeatedly praised Hitler as being "good in the beginning."

"She'll be remembered basically as the first lady of baseball," Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench said Wednesday. "We tend to remember the negative things, but the thing we need to remember is that she was an ardent fan, a passionate owner and a championship winner."

Houston Astros: The Astros came to terms with three key members of their squad, inking shortstop Adam Everett, third baseman Morgan Ensberg and setup man Brad Lidge to one-year contracts.

Everett, 27, batted .256 with eight homers and 51 RBI in 128 games last season. A superb defensive player, he committed 17 errors in 2003.

Ensberg, 28, hit .291 with 25 homers and 60 RBI in 127 games last season. He made just nine errors.

Lidge, 27, emerged as one of the best right-handed setup men in the league in 2003. He was 6-3 with a 3.60 ERA in 78 games, striking out 97 in 85 innings.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles renewed the contract of right-hander Rodrigo Lopez after failing to come to an agreement on a deal.

Lopez, who was 7-10 with a 5.82 ERA in 26 starts last season, made $325,000 in 2003.

The Orioles also signed closer Jorge Julio, right-handers Kurt Ainsworth and Rick Bauer and catcher Geronimo Gil. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Julio was 0-7 with a 4.38 ERA last season but converted 36 of 44 save opportunities.

Detroit Tigers: The team came to terms with pitcher Jeremy Bonderman and third baseman Eric Munson on one-year contracts.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The Tigers on Wednesday also renewed the contract of first baseman Carlos Pena for the 2004 season.

Bonderman, 21, went 6-19 with a 5.56 ERA in 33 games, including
26 starts, for the Tigers last season. Pena, 25, hit .248 with 18 homers and 50 RBI in 131 games last
season.

Munson, the third overall pick in the 1999 draft, had 18 homers
and 50 RBI in 99 games, but made 19 errors. He missed the last
six weeks with a broken left thumb.

Anaheim Angels: John Lackey will start Anaheim's spring opener against San Diego on Friday.

Manager Mike Scioscia named newly acquired Bartolo Colon as the starter Saturday and Jarrod Washburn as Sunday's starter in a weekend series against Oakland.

Lackey was 10-16 with a 4.63 ERA last season, his first full one in the majors.

Information from SportsTicker and The Associated Press was used in this report.