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Giants to close deals with CF Roberts, infielder Aurilia

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants were nearing deals
Monday that would bring back infielder Rich Aurilia and reunite
center fielder Dave Roberts with his former manager in San Diego,
Bruce Bochy.

The Giants didn't expect to announce any signings until later
this week, or perhaps not even until the baseball winter meetings
in Florida starting Dec. 4.

General manager Brian Sabean has been helping out the family of
former Orioles 20-game winner and Giants special assistant and
longtime scout Pat Dobson, who died suddenly Wednesday night from
leukemia.

The 35-year-old Aurilia played for the Giants for his first nine
major league seasons from 1995-2003, helping San Francisco to the
2002 World Series. He spent the last two seasons with the
Cincinnati Reds and has expressed interest in returning to the Bay
Area. He batted .300 with 23 home runs and 70 RBI in 440 at-bats
in 2006.

"We're moving in that direction, but we're not done," said
Aurilia's agent, Barry Axelrod.

San Francisco still has major holes to fill and lost out on
center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. to the Los Angeles Angels as well
as power hitter Carlos Lee, who signed a $100 million, six-year
contract last week with the Houston Astros.

The Giants, who missed the playoffs for the third straight year
and replaced manager Felipe Alou with Bochy, have decisions to make
at every infield position except for Omar Vizquel's spot at
shortstop, catcher and left field. San Francisco reportedly has
spoken with the Boston Red Sox about acquiring slugger Manny
Ramirez -- though several variables would have to be worked out for
a deal to happen.

The Giants have been in discussions with 42-year-old star Barry Bonds about him returning for a 15th season as he chases Hank
Aaron's career home run record of 755. The Giants also like veteran
catcher Gregg Zaun as a potential complement to Eliezer Alfonzo,
who did a great job filling in while Mike Matheny was forced to
miss the final four months of the season with a concussion.

Matheny, signed through 2007, might opt to retire if his
symptoms don't improve soon.

Aurilia could be a fit anywhere in the infield. He played 52
games at third base last season, 47 at first, 26 at shortstop and
10 at second. The Giants would like to give rookie Kevin Frandsen,
coming off his batting title in the Arizona Fall League, a shot to
win the job at second.

Roberts spent the past two seasons with Bochy in San Diego and
has said he would be interested in following the manager to the
Giants.

A reliable leadoff hitter, Roberts batted .293 with two homers
and 44 RBI and stole a career-best 49 bases this year.