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Twins sign Morris

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins announced Tuesday they have signed 'new-look' free-agent pitcher Jack Morris to a lucrative one- year contract with player options for two more seasons.

The deal is worth a guaranteed $7 million, but Morris will have a chance to make more than $11 million if he reaches all of the incentives laid out in his contract. He turned down a guaranteed three-year contract for $9.3 million from the Detroit Tigers.

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Morris said leaving the Tigers was the toughest decision he has ever had to make and insisted money had little influence on his decision.

'This is not about money,' Morris said. 'The Tigers offered me a lot of money, so obviously I'm not leaving for the money. It's a business decision. Free agent means free agent, and I was looking to better myself.'

'I've wanted to play in Minnesota since I was a kid,' said Morris, a St. Paul native.

In Detroit, Tigers President Bo Schembechler said the team is not decimated by the loss of Morris. Schembechler said the team made the pitcher a fair offer and he chose not to accept it.

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Morris, 36, was 15-18 with a 4.51 ERA last year and 6-14 with a 4.86 ERA in 1988.

He has played his entire major league career with the Detroit Tigers. His career regular-season record since 1977 is 198-150 with a 3.74 ERA. In post-season play, he is 3-1.

Morris will be counted on to pitch at least 200 innings and to provide leadership for the Twins' inconsistent pitching staff. Minnesota finished last in the American League West in 1990.

To make room for Morris on their roster, the Twins have designated infielder Chip Hale for assignment.

Only four active major league pitchers -- Nolan Ryan, Bert Blyleven, Rick Reuschel and Frank Tanana -- have won more games than Morris.

Detroit's other new-look free agent in the latest collusion ruling, catcher Mike Heath, signed with the Atlanta Braves last month.

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