THE MIAMI Marlins have made another long-term investment in their young, talented outfield.
Leftfielder Christian Yelich agreed to a 7-year contract worth about $49.6 million, a source told the Associated Press yesterday.
Yelich is expected to sign the agreement this weekend, and a news conference tentatively is planned for Sunday.
Yelich, 23, is part of an outfield Miami considers the best in the majors, with $325 million slugger Giancarlo Stanton in rightfield and Marcell Ozuna in center. Two-thirds of that outfield will be under contract through at least 2021, with Stanton, 25, signing a 13-year agreement in November.
Miami has discussed a long-term deal with Ozuna, 24, who hit 23 home runs last year.
The Marlins haven't reached the playoffs since 2003, but historically thrifty owner Jeffrey Loria approved higher spending this year, and they expect to contend after a busy offseason that has pushed their payroll above $70 million.
Yelich won a Gold Glove and hit .284 with nine homers and 54 RBI in his first full major league season last year, when he made $505,000. His base salary this year will be $570,000 before the contract escalates.
A lefthanded hitter, Yelich was the 23rd overall pick in the 2010 draft. He wasn't due to become arbitration-eligible until after the 2016 season. In 206 games over two big league seasons, he's a career .285 hitter with a .365 on-base percentage, a .400 slugging percentage and 31 stolen bases.
* Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke's 2016 option was exercised by the Brewers. Roenicke replaced Ken Macha after the 2010 season and has led the Brewers to a 335-313 record.
* Rockies reliever Rafael Betancourt was struck in the jaw by a line drive and walked off with a bruise in Colorado's 13-2 win over the Kansas City in Surprise, Ariz.
Betancourt, 39, was hit in the sixth inning by Brett Eibner's liner. He was checked by a trainer before leaving the mound, and manager Walt Weiss said Betancourt passed concussion tests.
* New York Yankees centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury says he's fully confident that he will be ready for opening day. Ellsbury is out of action until the middle of next week because of a strained oblique. He first experienced discomfort last weekend and an MRI exam on Wednesday showed the extent.