White Sox exercise option on Loaiza
Chicago -- Esteban Loaiza won't have to job hunt this offseason. As expected, the Chicago White Sox Friday exercised their $4 million option for next season on the 21-game winner.
Loaiza didn't sign with the White Sox until the end of January, and went to spring training as a non-roster invitee. Though the White Sox were looking at him as a fourth or fifth starter, he emerged as one of baseball's biggest surprises.
He went 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA, and led the American League with 207 strikeouts.
Loaiza is 90-82 with a 4.58 ERA in nine years with the White Sox, Toronto, Texas and Pittsburgh.
If the option had been declined, he would have received a $150,000 buyout.
Cards decline option on pitcher Hitchcock
St. Louis -- The St. Louis Cardinals have declined to exercise their option on pitcher Sterling Hitchcock, and the 32-year-old left-hander has filed to become a free agent, Cardinals spokesman Brian Bartow said Friday.
Hitchcock was acquired Aug. 22 in a trade with the New York Yankees. He was 5-1 for St. Louis with a 3.79 earned run average in six starts and eight overall appearances, but was due to make $7 million in 2004.