Rangers, Catalanotto agree to 3-year, $13 million deal

Updated: November 20, 2006, 1:00 AM ET
Associated Press

 Frank Catalanotto
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Free-agent outfielder Frank Catalanotto has agreed to a three-year, $13 million deal to return to the Texas Rangers after playing the last four seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The deal includes a team option for a fourth year, and was confirmed by a Rangers official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract is pending a physical that is expected to be conducted Tuesday.

Catalanotto initially was acquired by the Rangers in a November 1999 trade that sent two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez to Detroit. Catalanotto spent three seasons in Texas, but wasn't tendered a contract after being limited to 69 games because of injury in 2002.

In 3,076 at-bats over 10 major league seasons, Catalanotto is a .297 career hitter with a .362 on-base percentage. He hit .300 with seven home runs, 56 RBI and 56 runs scored in 128 games for the Blue Jays this season.

Catalanotto played five defensive positions for the Rangers in 2001, when he hit a career-best .330 in 133 games to finish fifth in the AL batting race.

The deal with Catalanotto comes a week after the Rangers lost utility player Mark DeRosa, who signed a $13 million, three-year deal with the Chicago Cubs to be their second baseman. DeRosa started at six defensive spots for the Rangers and hit a career-best .296 with 13 homers and 74 RBI this season.

Except for five games at first base in 2003, Catalanotto played only the corner outfield positions and designated hitter for the Blue Jays.

The left-handed hitting Catalanotto is likely to be primarily a corner outfielder or DH for the Rangers, but he could also fill in at second and third base. He could also potentially replace Gary Matthews Jr. if the Rangers lose their All-Star center fielder in free agency.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press