MILWAUKEE (AP) – NL championship series MVP Jeff Suppan and the Milwaukee Brewers finalized their $42 million, four-year contract on Friday after the pitcher passed a physical.

The Brewers announced the deal on Christmas Eve, but it was contingent on the physical. Suppan’s contract includes a team option for 2011 with a $2 million buyout.

Suppan said receiving the richest contract in Brewers history wouldn’t change his approach.

“I don’t think my preparation should change because I’m making a lot of money,” he said in a conference call. “Will there be any extra pressure? There could be, but there also could not be. I’ve never made this kind of money before, so I’ve just got to keep my focus.”

Suppan earned for $4 million pitching for St. Louis last season.

He said the timing of Barry Zito’s $126 million, seven-year deal with San Francisco didn’t make a difference in his negotiations.

“What Barry Zito was doing never had any effect on me,” he said. “I was looking for the right team for me. I wasn’t strategizing and waiting for him to sign, and I found the best team for me here in Milwaukee.”

The 31-year-old right-hander went 12-7 with a 4.12 ERA for St. Louis last season this year – including a 6-2 mark with a 2.39 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break. He was 1-1 in four postseason starts, including a win in Game 3 and seven solid innings in Game 7 of the NLCS against the New York Mets.

He is 44-26 with a 3.95 ERA over the last three regular seasons, tied for ninth in the major leagues in wins.

Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin said Suppan’s record made him attractive to the team, which needed a durable starting pitcher after it traded Doug Davis to Arizona for pitcher Claudio Vargas, catcher Johnny Estrada and pitcher Greg Aquino.

Suppan has pitched for Boston (1995-97, 2003), Arizona (1998), Kansas City (1998-2002), Pittsburgh (2003) and St. Louis (2004-06). He has reached double figures in wins seven times, and has a career record of 106-101 with a 4.60 ERA.

Milwaukee, coming off a 75-87 record and fourth-place finish in the NL Central, has a projected rotation that includes left-hander Chris Capuano and right-handers Ben Sheets, Dave Bush, Vargas and Suppan.

Suppan said he hopes his success last year will rub off on his younger teammates.

“It was unbelievable pitching for a World Series championship team,” he said, “and I’m going to try to take that experience to my new team.”

AP-ES-12-29-06 1812EST

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