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Mariners sign Vargas, avoid arbitration

Wed., Jan. 18, 2012

Baseball: The Seattle Mariners and left-handed starter Jason Vargas have agreed to a $4.5 million, one-year deal, avoiding salary arbitration.

Seattle also reached one-year deals with closer Brandon League and reliever Shawn Kelley on Tuesday.

Vargas made a career-high 32 starts in 2011, going 10-13 with a 4.25 ERA.

Vargas has spent the last three seasons with Seattle. He’s 22-31 with a 4.19 ERA in 86 games, 77 starts, since joining the Mariners in 2009. With the departure of Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees through a trade, Vargas is likely to be the No. 2 starter in Seattle’s rotation when the season begins.

League assumed the closer role full-time for the Mariners in 2011 and finished the year with 37 saves and was named to the All-Star team. League appeared in 65 games and had a 1-5 record with a 2.79 ERA.

More baseball, B3

Chiefs’ Hauptman returns home

Hockey: Spokane Chiefs forward Jarid Hauptman has left the team and returned home to Morinville, Alberta, the Chiefs announced Tuesday.

The 17-year-old right wing scored four goals and recorded seven assists in 32 games in Spokane this season, and will be unable to play – at any level – for the remainder of the 2011-12 season because of the Jan. 10 international signing deadline.

Hauptman has changed his mind about playing in the Western Hockey League several times, Chiefs General Manager Tim Speltz said.

“For us, he was doing well,” Speltz said. “It’s a process and it’s not easy and he had a bright hockey future ahead of him – but it isn’t what he wants and there’s no way he could pretend that it was. It’s a huge commitment, and his decision was kind of consistent with what we’d already experienced with him.

“It doesn’t seem to be a good move timing-wise, but he has to do what he thinks is right for him.”

Hauptman left training camp at the beginning of the season and joined the Chiefs six weeks later. At that time, he told The Spokesman-Review that he “didn’t have the heart to play here.”

Spokane (22-14-3-3) is currently third in the U.S. Division standings and now has 23 players on its roster – two goalies, eight defensemen and 13 forwards.

The Chiefs are on the road at Tri-City on Friday before hosting back-to-back games against Portland on Saturday and Sunday.

Jess Brown


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