Reliever Marte, Pirates agree to two-year extension

PITTSBURGH -- Left-handed reliever Damaso Marte agreed to a
two-year contract extension with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday
that includes a club option for 2009.

Marte, acquired from the Chicago White Sox for utilityman Rob
Mackowiak last December, was 1-7 with a 3.70 ERA while making a
career-high 75 appearances this year. He struck out 63 and walked
31 in 58 1/3 innings.

"He's an important guy in our bullpen," general manager Dave
Littlefield said.

Marte has been tough on left-handed hitters, holding them to
averages of .170 or below in 2003 and 2004. Last season,
left-handed hitters had a .225 average with two homers against him.

The 31-year-old Marte has a 15-21 career record, a 3.28 ERA and
31 saves in 382 appearances in seven seasons with Mariners, Pirates
and White Sox.

Marte made $1.25 million last season, and the Pirates held $3
million club options for 2007 and 2008. If the Pirates had declined
the option and not re-signed him, he would have been owed a
$225,000 buyout.