Outfielder

Bryce Harper

and the Washington Nationals have agreed on a $7.5 million, two-year contract, avoiding a grievance hearing.

Harper will receive salaries of $2.5 million in 2015, and $5 million in 2016 from the reigning NL East champions, according to a person familiar with the agreement who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

Harper, the 2012 NL rookie of the year, had been scheduled to make $1 million next season, with up to $500,000 in roster bonuses. But the Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf over whether he could void the final season of the $9.9 million, five-year contract he signed when he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2010.

Alex Rodriguez appears to be returning to the New York Yankees as a man without a position. Chase Headley, 30, agreed to a $52 million, four-year contract and said the Yankees assured him the third-base job was his. Rodriguez will turn 40 on July 27. New York could shift him to designated hitter, relegate him to a backup role at third base and first, or seek trade offers. Headley (.262, six homers, 17 RBIs in 191 at-bats for the Yankees), said he turned down a larger offer to stay in New York.

Infielder Jed Lowrie and the Houston Astros agreed to a $23 million, three-year contract, including a 2018 club option. A switch-hitter, Lowrie had 35 home runs and 155 RBIs over the last three seasons.

Jon Lester says he believes in the Chicago Cubs' plan and is ready to try to help bring them their first championship since 1908. "We fully buy in," the three-time all-star said as he was introduced at a news conference and given Kerry Wood's No. 34.

OLYMPICS Italian Premier Matteo Renzi said Rome will bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The move comes with Italy's economy still stagnant and amid a widening corruption and mafia scandal in the capital. Italy had planned to bid for the 2020 Olympics but the project was scrapped after then-premier Mario Monti refused to provide financial backing.

A drug-resistant "super bacteria" that's normally found in hospitals and is notoriously difficult to treat has been discovered in the waters where Rio de Janeiro's Olympic sailing events will be held, scientists said.

Brazil's top health research institute said it has discovered bacteria that produce an enzyme that make it resistant to most forms of treatment in water samples taken from various spots along the Carioca River.

COLLEGES Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Coates finished the regular season with a huge game. He had five catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to No. 1 Alabama. His 717 receiving yards were second on the team behind D'haquille Williams, another junior who is eligible for the draft.

College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow resigned as Florida A&M University's athletic director eight months after taking over the program, the school announced.

- Inquirer wire services