Gwynn lands 3-year deal averaging $4 million-plus


Tony Gwynn, a four-time National League batting champion, agreed with the San Diego Padres yesterday on a $12.25 million, three-year contract extension that makes him the third-highest-paid player in baseball.

Gwynn, seventh on the Padres' payroll last season, will have an average salary of $4,083,333 under the extension, which begins in 1993. He is the 40th player with a $3 million-a-year contract and trails only Roger Clemens ($5,380,250) and Jose Canseco ($4.7 million) on the salary chart. Darryl Strawberry is fourth at $4.05 million.

"I feel like $4 million is probably above what I think I'm worth," Gwynn said. Then he added with a smile, "Four million is a nice, round figure that two years from now I honestly feel I can live with. I'm very content . . . For a while, it's nice to see other guys trying to get where you are."

The extension includes a $1 million signing bonus. Gwynn's current deal is a $4,325,000, two-year contract.

Gwynn, who emerged from bankruptcy in 1987, had complained during spring training last year about his $1 million salary for 1990, but the Padres refused to renegotiate the deal.

Gwynn has hit .300 or more for eight consecutive seasons, winning the NL batting title in 1984 and from 1987-89.

* ROYALS: Bo Jackson's football injury has put the two-sport star on the sidelines for at least a month.

Jackson, who suffered a hip injury in the Los Angeles Raiders' playoff victory over the Cincinnati Bengals Jan. 13, is on crutches, and Royals trainer Nick Swart called the injury "not just the usual pulled muscle."

Jackson is scheduled to report to Kansas City's camp in Haines City, Fla., Thursday with other position players. He will undergo therapy and do exercises, but is likely to miss the first part of the exhibition schedule.

* INDIANS: Citrus County, Fla., commissioners approved a pre-lease agreement to bring Cleveland to the small town of Hernando for spring training starting in 1993.

After a five-hour hearing Wednesday night in which many in the crowd of 600 waved "Play Ball" signs and wore Indians caps, commissioners agreed to a plan that takes most of the financial burden from local taxpayers.

Commissioners increased the Gulf Coast county's hotel tourist tax from 2 to 4 cents, expected to raise $4.5 million of the estimated $8 million cost of a planned 8,200-seat stadium, four complete practice fields and a practice infield.

The rest of the money is expected to come from a promised $2 million state road grant, a separate state grant of $500,000, $400,000 from the county's collection of impact fees, and private contributions of $500,000.

The Indians now train in Tucson, Ariz.

* TIGERS: John Fetzer, former Detroit owner and broadcast pioneer, died in Honolulu. He was 89.

In 1956, he led a syndicate that bought the Tigers from the Briggs family for $5.5 million. He sold the club in 1983 to Domino's Pizza Inc. owner Tom Monaghan for a reported $53 million.

* PHILLIES: Philadelphia has invited left-handed pitcher Willie Hernandez to spring training as an unsigned, non-roster player.

The Phillies have been looking for a left-handed reliever for late-inning work. They failed to come up with one in a trade or free-agent signing.

General manager Lee Thomas said Hernandez worked out in Puerto Rico this winter, and the Phillies sent roving pitching coach Jim Fregosi to see him throw.

* BROADCASTING: Ernie Harwell, told that this year is his last as Tigers broadcaster, said he has received calls from other teams, but is unsure what he will do next year.

"I've told most of those people I want to wait and see what's going to happen," Harwell said, adding that he was surprised at the interest from the other clubs, which he refused to name.

* PIRATES: Bobby Bonilla hasn't decided whether to reopen negotiations on a long-term contract, agent Dennis Gilbert said.

The sides haven't talked since last week, when Bonilla turned down a four-year, $15.5 million offer and a one-year, $3.1 million deal before losing his arbitration case.

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