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Ryan Howard stays with Phillies after agreeing to five-year, $125 million extension

Tuesday, April 27, 2010; D04

Ryan Howard preferred securing his future in Philadelphia to testing free agency in two years.

Howard agreed to a five-year, $125 million contract extension through 2016 with the Phillies on Monday that includes a club option for 2017.

The 30-year-old slugging first baseman will make $20 million each in 2012 and 2013 and $25 million annually from 2014 to 2016. The Phillies have a $23 million club option for 2017 with a $10 million buyout.

"Hopefully there's no riots taking place back in Philly," he joked of his new megadeal.

The $25 million guaranteed average salary in the extension will be baseball's second highest behind Alex Rodriguez's $27.5 million average under a 10-year contract with the Yankees running through 2017.

"That wasn't a very hard decision," Howard said. "I feel what I've been doing over the last couple of years, I feel pretty confident that down the road, I'll be right where I want to be and still doing the same things."

Howard, the 2005 NL rookie of the year and '06 league MVP, is earning $19 million this season as part of a three-year, $54 million deal that pays him $20 million in 2011, the final season before he would've been eligible for free agency.

He signed that deal in February 2009, avoiding a potentially contentious arbitration hearing.

The two-time all-star led the Phillies to two straight trips to the World Series, winning a championship in 2008.

Howard hit .279 with 45 homers and 141 RBI last season and has three homers and 16 RBI in 80 at-bats through the weekend.

-- RED SOX: Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a 69-pitch simulated game before Boston's game in Toronto, the injured right-hander's final hurdle before returning to the starting rotation.

Manager Terry Francona said, "The ball came out of his hand pretty nice." Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 4 with a strained neck.

-- METS: Prospects Angel Calero and Socrates Brito were each suspended 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug under the minor league program.

-- From news services

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