Orioles, starter Gausman avoid arbitration hearing

The Orioles avoided an arbitration hearing with starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, agreeing to a $5.6 million, one-year contract.

Gausman’s hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday. He went 11-12 with a 4.68 ERA last season, making a career-high 34 starts with a personal-best 179 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Collin McHugh of the World Series champion Astros and White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia had their cases heard.

McHugh asked for $5 million while Houston argued for $4.55 million. Garcia requested $6.7 million rather than Chicago’s $5.85 million offer.

The players lead 7-6 with decisions expected Thursday for McHugh, Garcia and pitchers Marcus Stroman of Toronto, Tampa Bay’s Jake Odorizzi (Highland High) and Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer.

Another opening-day start for Kershaw • No surprise here: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says Clayton Kershaw will make his team-record eighth opening-day start, against the visiting San Francisco Giants on March 29.

Kershaw, who turns 30 on March 19, is tied with Don Drysdale and Don Sutton at seven opening-day starts. Kershaw was 18-4 with a 2.31 ERA last season.

Also, Chase Utley appears headed back to the Dodgers. The free-agent infielder’s equipment was in the Dodgers’ clubhouse Tuesday and mail addressed to him was in a dressing stall.

A’s Maxwell to stand during anthem • Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell says he no longer will kneel for the national anthem as he did last season as a rookie, when he became the first major leaguer to do so.

After talking with media, he opted to put out a statement to keep his thoughts clear: “The purpose of the gesture was to raise awareness about social issues affecting our country, and while I’m looking forward to a society that is inclusive, empathetic and a welcoming place, I will not continue the symbolic gesture of taking a knee during our national anthem this season.”

Maxwell, 27, was arrested in Arizona in late October after a food delivery person alleged he pointed a gun at her. He hit .237 with three home runs and 22 RBIs last season.

Contracts • Japanese righthander Yu Darvish and the Cubs finalized their $126 million, six-year contract, by far the largest deal in a slow-moving free agent market. A four-time All-Star, Darvish finished last season with the Dodgers, going 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA in nine starts down the stretch. … Free agent reliever Sergio Romo finalized a $2.5 million, one-year contract to remain with the Tampa Bay Rays. He was 3-1 with a 3.56 ERA with the Rays and Dodgers last year. … Lefty Craig Breslow has agreed to a minor league contract with Toronto and will attend major league spring training. Last year with Minnesota and Cleveland last year, he went 1-1 with a 5.09 ERA.

Associated Press