Twins lock up reliever Crain through 2009

Updated: February 27, 2007, 9:32 PM ET
Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Minnesota Twins and reliever Jesse Crain agreed to a $3.25 million, three-year contract Tuesday.

Relief Pitcher
Minnesota Twins

68 4 5 18 60 3.52

The 25-year-old Crain went 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 68 games last season, finishing strong to help the Twins rally for their fourth AL Central title in five seasons.

In his final 22 appearances, the right-hander was 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA and allowed just 14 hits.

"It's definitely something I'm excited about," Crain said. "The Twins worked with us real good to get it."

He gets $500,000 this year, $1.05 million in 2008 and $1.7 million in 2009. During the final two seasons, he can earn a total of $375,000 based on games finished.

In two-plus seasons with the Twins, Crain is 19-10 and has emerged as one of the team's most reliable arms in the bullpen. The Canadian has served as a setup man on occasion for closer Joe Nathan, and the Twins believe he has the stuff to be a closer someday himself.

"He's been very reliable for us out there for the last 2½ years or so," general manager Terry Ryan said. "It gives him some security."

Crain said he was somewhat surprised when the Twins approached him about a new contract. General manager Terry Ryan had a busy offseason, signing star catcher Joe Mauer to a four-year, $33 million deal and scrambling to avoid arbitration with AL MVP Justin Morneau and cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer.

"It was something I was actually hoping for, but I wasn't sure it was going to happen with everybody that had arbitration this year," Crain said. "I'm excited for it and look forward to being with the Twins."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press