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

11/20/2006 - MLB Frank Catalanotto Texas Rangers + more

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.