NEW YORK On the day Ivan Rodriguez joined the Detroit Tigers, former University of Michigan football star Drew Henson said goodbye to the New York Yankees and to baseball.
Henson's agent, Casey Close, told the Yankees the third baseman is quitting after three mediocre seasons in the minor leagues and will pursue a career in the NFL, a baseball official said Monday on the condition he not be identified.
Henson will forfeit the $12 million he is owed from the contract he agreed to with the Yankees in 2001, the official said.
The NFL's Houston Texans, who hold the quarterback's rights, announced Monday that Henson will work out with the team on Feb. 12 in a showcase for the other 31 NFL franchises.
The Texans drafted Henson with a sixth-round pick last April and already have a young, developing quarterback in David Carr.
''It's going to be open to every team in the NFL,'' Texans general manager Charley Casserly said. ''Then, after that, we will find out what teams are interested and negotiate a trade.''
Casserly said a trade could be made no earlier than March 4 and no later than April 24, when the NFL draft starts.
''It's quite possible Drew Henson will pursue a career in the NFL, and if that is the case, and after we work through all the issues, only then will we have something to announce from our end,'' Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.
Rodriguez finalized his $40 million, four-year contract with Detroit, a deal that takes him from the World Series champion Florida Marlins to a team that set an American League record with 119 losses last season.
''The owner showed me respect, and that is the reason I'm here,'' the 10-time All-Star catcher said. ''Everybody is saying I'm going from a World Series team to a losing team, but I don't think of the Tigers as a losing team. I think the Tigers just had a bad season. It's going to be completely different this year.''
Rodriguez gets $7 million this year, $8 million in 2005 and $11 million each in 2006 and 2007, according to contract information obtained by The Associated Press. The Tigers have a $13 million option for 2008 with a $3 million buyout.
Rodriguez would get $50 million over five years if the option is exercised or $40 million over four if it's declined.
Detroit has protection against lower back injuries. If Rodriguez goes on the disabled list for five of more weeks, the Tigers would be able to end the contract after two or three seasons.
''We just felt we had to address those concerns for the long term,'' general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
Also Monday, free-agent infielder Eric Karros agreed to a one-year contract with the Oakland Athletics that guarantees him $1.05 million.
Oakland general manager Billy Beane had been looking to add a proven right-handed bat to his revamped roster. The defending AL West champion A's have added catcher Damian Miller, outfielders Bobby Kielty and Mark Kotsay, and pitchers Mark Redman, Chris Hammond and Arthur Rhodes.
''I'm not going in there to change anything,'' the 36-year-old Karros said. ''I'm going in there to fill the role, and that role will probably change throughout the season, as it usually does. My goal is to contribute.''
He gets a $550,000 salary this year and the chance to earn $600,000 in performance bonuses: $40,000 for 75 games and each additional five games through 145. Oakland has a $1.5 million option for 2005 with a $500,000 buyout.
In other free-agent news, Florida agreed to a $600,000, one-year contract with Wil Cordero, a deal contingent on the first-baseman outfielder passing a physical, and Montreal agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander Pat Mahomes, who would get a $350,000, one-year deal if he's added to the 40-man roster.
Among players in salary arbitration, Minnesota left-hander J.C. Romero agreed to an $820,000, one-year contract. Eighteen players remain in arbitration, with hearings scheduled to run from Feb. 5-20.
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