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Pitcher signs minor league deal day after wedding

NEW YORK -- Scott Erickson and the New York Mets agreed on a minor league contract Wednesday, capping an exciting week for the free-agent pitcher.

Erickson celebrated his 36th birthday Monday. On Tuesday, he
married "Monday Night Football" sideline reporter Lisa Guerrero
in Hawaii.

Once one of baseball's most durable pitchers, Erickson has
missed two of the past three seasons because of injuries. He was
out in 2001 after having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and
was sidelined last year after a shoulder operation.

Erickson is expected to be ready for spring training. The Mets
are hoping he can compete for the fifth spot in the rotation,
behind Al Leiter, Tom Glavine, Steve Trachsel and Jae Weong Seo.

There was talk earlier in the offseason that the Mets might
pursue Rick Reed, but he signed with Pittsburgh. Orlando Hernandez
and James Baldwin also attracted the Mets' interest, while
Cleveland sought Erickson.

Erickson is 140-128 with a 4.51 ERA in a major league career
that started in 1990.

A former 20-game winner with Minnesota, Erickson was 5-12 with a 5.55 ERA for Baltimore in 2002. He was the Orioles' opening-day starter that season, but did not pitch after Aug. 31 because of a
torn labrum.

Erickson tied for the AL lead with 20 victories in 1991 and
helped pitch the Twins to the World Series title. He topped the
league in innings (251 1/3) and complete games (11) in 1998, and
threw an AL-leading three shutouts in 1999.

Aside from the strike-shortened 1994 season, during which he
pitched a no-hitter, Erickson averaged almost 220 innings per year
from 1991 to 1999.

But Erickson began the 2000 season on the disabled list after
surgery in March to remove bone chips from his elbow, then had his
season shortened by the ligament-replacement surgery.

In May 1998, Erickson got a $32 million, five-year contract
extension from the Orioles.

Since the 1999 season, Erickson has posted a total of 10
victories.