Valentin close to signing minor league deal with Mets

NEW YORK -- Jose Valentin was set to rejoin the New York Mets, closing in on a minor league contract Wednesday with an
invitation to spring training.

The 38-year-old Valentin started last season as New York's
regular second baseman, but played in only 51 games because of leg
injuries. His season ended June 21 when he fouled off a pitch and
broke his right shin.

Earlier in the season, Valentin missed time with a partially
torn ligament in his right knee. He finished with a .241 batting
average, three homers and 18 RBIs in 166 at-bats.

After the season, the Mets declined their $4.3 million option on
Valentin's contract, and he filed for free agency.

If added to the 40-man roster, Valentin would get a deal that
pays him $1 million in the majors and $120,000 in the minors. He
could earn another $1 million in performance bonuses based on plate
appearances and games started for the Mets.

Valentin was a big surprise for New York in 2006 after beginning
the season in a reserve role. His strong play earned him the
everyday job at second base, and he hit .271 with 18 home runs and
62 RBIs to help the Mets advance to Game 7 of the NL championship