Dominican league bans Offerman

Jose Offerman was banned for life by the Dominican winter league for throwing a punch at an umpire during an argument on the baseball field.

The former All-Star, manager of the Licey Tigers, appeared to hit first base umpire Daniel Reyburn in the face or neck with a fist during Saturday’s playoff game against the Cibao Giants. Reyburn fell to the ground.

The Dominican league’s president, Leonardo Matos Berrido, announced the ban Monday. He said the decision against Offerman was made shortly after the attack.

Fernando Ravelo, the general manager of the Tigers, said the club will try to appeal the ban against Offerman, who had a contract with the club for next season.

Pujols supports McGwire

Albert Pujols supports Mark McGwire, both for acknowledging his use of steroids and in his new role as hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals.

“I told him I’m proud of him for admitting what he used,” Pujols said Monday at the team’s Winter Warm-Up. “Everybody makes mistakes.”

Pujols angrily rejected the notion that McGwire made the admission to revive his chances of getting voted to the Hall of Fame. Despite hitting 583 home runs, tied for eighth on the career list, McGwire has received less than 25 percent support in four appearances on the ballot.

Arbitration happenings

Players and clubs rushed to settle salary arbitration cases before the scheduled exchange of figures today.

Twelve more players reached agreements Monday, leaving 110 set to swap salaries among the 128 who filed for arbitration last Friday. Dozens more were expected to settle by this morning.

Florida struck one-year deals with second baseman Dan Uggla ($7.8 million) and pitchers Anibal Sanchez ($1.25 million) and Renyel Pinto ($1,075,000).

Also agreeing to one-year contracts were Texas pitcher C.J. Wilson ($3.1 million), Milwaukee outfielder Jody Gerut ($2 million), Chicago White Sox pitcher Tony Pena ($1.2 million), Toronto pitcher Shaun Marcum ($850,000) and Cincinnati pitcher Jared Burton ($810,000).

Arizona settled with right-handed relievers Chad Qualls ($4,185,000) and Aaron Heilman ($2.15 million), while the New York Yankees reached agreements with pitchers Chad Gaudin ($2.95 million) and Boone Logan ($590,000).

Two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum could have the most interesting arbitration case. His record is 33-12 over the past two seasons for the San Francisco Giants and was a bargain at $650,000 last year. Eligible for arbitration for the first time as a so-called “Super 2” — a player in the top 17 percent of service time between two and three seasons — he is likely to file at well over $10 million.

Among free agents, Jerry Hairston Jr. agreed to a $2,125,000, one-year deal with the Padres, two days after San Diego reacquired Hairston’s younger brother, Scott, in a trade with Oakland. The Pittsburgh Pirates finalized a $1.35 million, one-year contract with reliever Brendan Donnelly.