Outfielder Jason Michaels agreed yesterday to a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Houston Astros.

The 32-year-old former Phillie hit .224, with eight home runs and 53 RBIs, in 123 games with Cleveland and Pittsburgh last season.

Tigers. Shortstop Adam Everett finalized a one-year contract with Detroit worth about $1 million.

Everett batted just .213, with two home runs and 20 RBIs, in 48 games for Minnesota last season, when he was hampered by a shoulder injury. He played in 66 games for Houston in 2007.

Everett is expected to replace Edgar Renteria, who became a free agent after the Tigers declined his 2009 option.

World Baseball Classic. Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners and pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Boston Red Sox were among seven major-leaguers named to a 34-man preliminary roster for Japan's team in the 2009 tournament.

Outfielder Kosuke Fukudome of the Chicago Cubs was also on the list.

Japan won the inaugural tournament in 2006 and will defend its title beginning March 5 in Tokyo.

A's pursue Furcal. Oakland appeared to be in the lead to sign free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal with an offer of four years and $40 million, ESPN.com reported.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who declined to offer Furcal arbitration earlier this month, have pursued the shortstop but did not appear close to Oakland's proposal.

The Kansas City Royals also were interested. The Toronto Blue Jays showed interest but have dropped out of the bidding.

Bonds still hopeful. Home-run king Barry Bonds, who did not play last season after no one offered him a contract, said he still wanted to play in the majors this season.

"I'm not retiring," Bonds said Saturday night.

Bonds spoke with a cameraman for the Web site TMZ.com in Los Angeles.

Padres pushing sale. John Moores, the owner of the San Diego Padres, has hired Goldman Sachs to search for a potential buyer for the team as he goes through a divorce from his wife, Becky.