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Reports: Batista to sign 3-year contract with Mariners

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners have reached a preliminary agreement with veteran
free agent right-hander Miguel Batista on a three-year contract worth $24 million, according to newspaper reports published Tuesday.

The Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The News
Tribune of Tacoma reported that the deal will be announced after
the 35-year-old pitcher passes a physical examination.

Officials of the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals, who also had been
bidding for Batista, told The News Tribune they had been advised
that he had come to terms with Seattle.

Mariners officials did not return telephone calls to The
Associated Press on Monday night.

Completion of the deal will make Batista the second starting
pitcher added by the Mariners in less than a week following the
acquisition of Horacio Ramirez from the Atlanta Braves in a trade
for reliever Rafael Soriano.

The Post-Intelligencer and The Times reported that Batista would
receive more than $24 million, while The News Tribune put the
value of the deal at $27 million. All quoted unnamed sources close to the talks.

Earlier, Batista reportedly rejected a three-year, $24 million
offer from the Royals.

Contacted by The Times while on a speaking tour of schools in
the Boston area, Batista said he was waiting to hear from the
Mariners about arrangement for a physical.

"They're supposed to call me back and tell me when and where to
do it," he said.

Batista said he met with Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi two
weeks ago in his native Dominican Republic.

"The first thing I told him is, 'Let's get this out of the way
right now: I don't pitch with my birth certificate, so don't bring
up my age,' " he said. "I've only been hurt once in my entire
career. You can rely on me because I will always be there to take
the ball."

Batista has pitched for seven major league teams -- Pittsburgh,
Florida, the Cubs, Montreal, Kansas City, Arizona and Toronto --
over 12 seasons and has a lifetime record of 68-79 with a 4.46 ERA,
including 11-8 with a 4.58 ERA last season in his second stint with
the Diamondbacks.

He has appeared mainly as a starter but also had 31 saves as
Toronto's closer in 2005.