Pierzynski set to join Texas

A person familiar with the situation said catcher A.J. Pierzynski passed a physical, clearing the way for a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

That person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because the Rangers had not added Pierzynski to their
40-man roster. With the Major League Baseball office closed for Christmas, the deal won’t become official until at least next week.

Pierzynski underwent a physical Friday.

The deal comes after the Rangers lost catcher Mike Napoli in free agency.

Pierzynski, who turns 36 later this month, hit .278 with a career-high 27 homers and 77 RBIs, matching a career best, in 135 games for the Chicago White Sox last season.

Pirates

REPORT SAYS LIRIANO GETS DEAL: The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to terms with pitcher Francisco Liriano on a two-year, $14 million contract, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Friday.

The Pirates, however, haven’t confirmed the transaction, but a report on MLB.com said the deal was close to being final, pending a physical that will likely be taken after Christmas.

Liriano, 29, was 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 34 games, including 28 starts, for the Twins and White Sox last season. He spent most of his career with Minnesota and had his best year during an All-Star 2006 season when he was 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA.

That season was shortened by a torn elbow ligament, and Liriano missed the entire 2007 season.

In 2010, Liriano was named the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year.

He threw a no-hitter during a 1-0 victory over the White Sox nn May 3, 2011.

The Twins traded Liriano to the White Sox for two minor league players in July.

Liriano is 53-54 with a 4.40 ERA.

Twins

HARDEN SIGNS MINOR LEAGUE DEAL : In Minnesota, the Minnesota Twins signed right-hander Rich Harden to a minor league contract Friday with an invitation to compete for a spot on the staff in spring training.

The 31-year-old Harden sat out the 2012 season after surgery Jan. 31 to repair the rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder, his latest setback in a long line of arm problems.

Harden has the third-best strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio in the majors since his debut with Oakland in 2003, behind only Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw.

But Harden, after going 11-7 with a 3.99 ERA in 31 starts over 1892⁄3 innings in his first full year in the majors in 2004, hasn’t surpassed the 150-inning mark since.

Between the A’s and the Chicago Cubs in 2008, Harden finished 10-2 with a 2.07 ERA in 25 combined starts, posting 181 strikeouts in 148 innings.

But he had a 5.58 ERA in 2010 with the Texas Rangers, accumulating only 92 innings and had a 5.12 ERA in 15 starts in his return to the A’s in 2011. Harden has been hit by a number of injuries, but the shoulder has given him the most trouble.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Harden was a 17th-round draft pick in 2000 out of Central Arizona College.

The native of Victoria, British Columbia, spent seven years with the A’s. His career record is 59-38, with a 3.76 ERA and 949 strikeouts over 9281⁄3 innings.

Astros

VERAS GETS ONE-YEAR DEAL: In Houston, the Houston Astros signed veteran right-handed reliever Jose Veras to a one-year contract Friday.

The 32-year-old Veras was 5-4 in 72 relief appearances for Milwaukee in 2012 with a 3.63 ERA with 79 strikeouts and 61 hits in 67 innings.

Veras has 151 appearances over the last two seasons, tied for second overall.

Over the past three seasons, Veras has posted a 3.73 ERA in 199 appearances with 212 strikeouts and 147 hits allowed in 186 innings pitched.

Veras has a 19-17 record in 327 career major league appearances over parts of seven seasons with the Yankees, Indians, Marlins, Pirates and Brewers.

Brewers

GORZELANNY SIGNS: In Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Brewers signed left-handed reliever Tom Gorzelanny to a two-year contract Friday.

The 30-year-old Gorzelanny went 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA and one save in 45 games with Washington last season, a stint that included one start. He posted a 1.33 ERA in 27 innings pitched out of the bullpen following the All-Star break.

Gorzelanny worked at least two innings in 19 of his 44 relief appearances last season, his first as a full-time reliever.

Overall, Gorzelanny is 44-45 with a 4.41 ERA and two saves in 193 games (111 starts) during eight seasons with Pittsburgh, the Cubs and Washington.

Cubs

SCHIERHOLTZ AGREES TO CONTRACT: In Chicago, the Chicago Cubs agreed to a one-year contract with outfielder Nate Schierholtz.

The team announced the agreement Friday. The deal calls for Schierholtz to earn $2.25 million plus an additional $500,000 in performance
bonuses.

Schierholtz was traded from San Francisco to Philadelphia last season in the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Giants at the July 31 non-waiver deadline. He batted .257 with six homers in 114 games.

The Phillies declined to tender Schierholtz a 2013 contract offer, making him a free agent.

The Cubs also said Friday that left-handed pitcher Jeff Beliveau and righty Sandy Rosario were claimed off waivers by Texas and San Francisco, respectively. Left-hander Gerardo Concepcion cleared waivers and was assigned outright to Class A Kane County.

Mariners

BONDERMAN SIGNS MINOR LEAGUE DEAL: In Seattle, the Seattle Mariners signed pitcher Jeremy Bonderman to a minor league contract, hoping the right-hander can make a comeback from Tommy John surgery.

The Mariners announced the deal Friday. They also invited the 30-year-old who was raised in the state of Washington to spring training.

Bonderman has not pitched in the majors since 2010, when he went 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA for Detroit. He pitched eight seasons for the Tigers and helped them reach the World Series in 2006, when he was 14-8 and led the AL with 34 starts.

Bonderman had surgery on his right elbow last April. A blood clot in his right shoulder slowed his career in 2008 after he had a winning record in three straight years.