Baltimore great Cuellar dies

Mike Cuellar, a Cuban left-hander whose darting screwball made him a World Series champion and Cy Young winner with the Baltimore Orioles, died Friday. He was 72.

The Orioles confirmed Cuellar’s death, but did not release other details.

Cuellar made his major league debut in 1959 and bounced around Cincinnati, St. Louis and Houston for almost a decade before a trade sent him to Baltimore. He blossomed on one of the most imposing pitching staffs in baseball history – in 1971, he was among the Orioles’ four 20-game winners.

A four-time All-Star, Cuellar was 185-130 overall with a 3.14 ERA. He was voted into the Orioles’ Hall of Fame.

“He sure was an ace,” Hall of Fame teammate Brooks Robinson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday. “He had a way of making good hitters look bad, making them take funny swings.”

Texas’ Feldman gets deal

The Texas Rangers and Scott Feldman, who in less than a year went from long relief to opening day starter, agreed to a three-year contract worth nearly $14 million.

The deal with the 27-year-old right-hander was announced before the team’s final exhibition. Felman will start the opener Monday at Toronto.

Tall solution for Twins

With four-time All-Star Joe Nathan’s season over before it started, the Minnesota Twins have turned 6-foot-11 right-hander Jon Rauch to be their closer.

The tallest pitcher in major league history, his body covered in tattoos, has the intimidation factor covered.

“I just hope he goes and uses all of his pitches,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I think he will. He’s been pitching long enough.”

Short hops

Alex Rodriguez met with three MLB officials and told them he didn’t receive performance-enhancing drugs from Canadian doctor Anthony Galea, who is under investigation by U.S. and Canadian authorities. … Tampa Bay made Hank Blalock a free agent when he did not make the Rays’ opening day roster. … The Cincinnati Reds said Mike Leake, a first-round draft pick last summer from Arizona State, will be their fifth starter.