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Mondesi plans to report to team on Wednesday

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Raul Mondesi finished his physical for
the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, the last step needed for the team
to finalize its contract with the free-agent outfielder.

Mondesi and the Pirates have negotiated a one-year contract with
a team option for 2005.

Mondesi, 33, hit .272 with 24 homers, 71 RBIs and 22 steals in
143 games with the New York Yankees and Arizona last year.

"I told my agent I want to sign with a National League team,"
said Mondesi, who hasn't played a full season in the NL since 1999.
"The Pirates wanted to sign me and I want to play for them,
especially because (Roberto) Clemente played many years for the
Pirates."

Mondesi was examined by team doctors Sunday, then completed the
exam Monday. He immediately returned to his native Dominican
Republic to pack his belongings, and he planned to rejoin the
Pirates on Wednesday, the voluntary reporting date for position
players.

"The Pirates have a real young team, and I have a good chance
to help them and have a good year because I'm back in the National
League," Mondesi said.

Before Mondesi left, he met briefly with manager Lloyd
McClendon.

"We had a good conversation, and he looks to be in extremely
good physical shape and a wonderful mental state of mind,"
McClendon said.

Mondesi had a troublesome 2003 season. His July 29 trade to the
Diamondbacks came two days after he left the Yankees' clubhouse
during a game at Fenway Park and missed the team's charter flight
to California. Mondesi was upset manager Joe Torre replaced him
with a pinch hitter.

Mondesi likely would bat cleanup for the Pirates, who lost
Reggie Sanders and Matt Stairs, who became free agents and signed
elsewhere.

Among current players, Craig Wilson had the most homers last
year (18). Mondesi has 264 homers in 11 seasons with Los Angeles,
Toronto, the Yankees and Arizona.

"We need some power and would like to have a bat like that in
the lineup," Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield said.