Center fielder had best year in '04

Updated: January 14, 2005, 4:29 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Aaron Rowand and the Chicago White Sox agreed Friday to a contract that guarantees the center fielder $8.5 million over the next three seasons.

Rowand, 27, set career highs last season by hitting .310 with 38 doubles, 24 homers and 69 RBIs.

Eligible for salary arbitration for the first time after making $340,000 last year, he gets $2 million in 2005 and $3.25 million in 2006. Chicago has a club option for 2007 at $5 million and Rowand holds a player option for 2007 at $3.25 million.

"Aaron is a player that our organization and White Sox fans have come to embrace because of his all-out style of play," Chicago general manager Ken Williams said. "We believe he epitomizes the type of team we are building on the South Side, and it is particularly satisfying to be able to reward a player that we drafted and developed and whose best years we feel are still ahead of him."

Right-hander Luis Vizcaino is the only Chicago player who remains eligible for arbitration.

Also Friday, catcher Jamie Burke was sent outright to Triple-A Charlotte, five days after he was designated for assignment. Burke, 33, hit .333 (40-for-120) with no homers and 15 RBIs with the White Sox last season.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press