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Teixeira signs for $12.5M; Morneau agrees to $7.4M deal

ATLANTA -- First baseman Mark Teixeira agreed to a $12.5
million, one-year contract with the Braves on Thursday, one of four
Atlanta players coming to terms rather than going through
arbitration.

Teixeira, who added power to the Braves lineup after being
acquired from Texas just before the trade deadline, received a big
raise over the $9 million he made last season.

He batted .317 with 17 homers and 56 RBIs with Atlanta. Overall,
Teixeira had 30 homers, 105 RBIs and hit .306.

The more difficult negotiations with the slugger and agent Scott
Boras will come after this season, when Teixeira is eligible for
free agency.

The Braves also agreed to deals with relievers Mike Gonzalez and
Tyler Yates, and infielder Omar Infante.

Gonzalez reached a deal for $2,362,500, basically the same
salary he played for last season ($2.35 million). The left-hander
pitched in only 18 games in 2007, going 2-0 with two saves and a
1.59 ERA before season-ending elbow surgery. He isn't expected to
return until around the All-Star break.

Infante, acquired from the Chicago Cubs during the winter
meetings to bolster Atlanta's infield depth, will play for $1.4
million this season, a raise of $100,000.

Yates got $800,000 after making $412,500 last season for the
Braves. He was 2-3 with a 5.18 ERA and two saves.

Two other Braves filing for arbitration have yet to agree on
deals: reliever Rafael Soriano and outfielder Matt Diaz.

Among other players who avoided arbitration by agreeing to deals Thursday and Friday, one day before teams and players swap figures:

• Minnesota's
Justin Morneau agreed to a $7.4 million, one-year contract. Morneau hit .271 with 31 home runs and 111 RBIs last year. He is
not eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season.

• Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Pena agreed to a $6 million, one-year deal and reached a
preliminary agreement on a $24,125,000, three-year contract that is
pending a physical.

• Also agreeing to deals Friday were St. Louis outfielder Rick Ankiel ($900,000), Seattle pitcher Horacio Ramirez ($2.75 million),
Florida pitcher Sergio Mitre ($1.2 million) and Los Angeles Dodgers
outfielder Jason Repko ($487,500).

• Toronto reliever Scott Downs cashed in on a breakout season by getting a $10 million, three-year deal. The only other
player to get a multiyear contract was Blue Jays infielder Marco
Scutaro ($2.65 million for two years).

• Huston Street and the Oakland Athletics agreed at $3.3 million, a big
raise from the $380,000 he made last year. The 2005 AL Rookie of
the Year was limited to 48 outings in 2007 because of an irritated
nerve in his right elbow that landed the closer on the disabled
list for two months.

• Brad Lidge ($6.35 million) and fellow Philadelphia reliever Ryan
Madson ($1.4 million) settled Thursday. Acquired from Houston in
November to assume the closer's role, Lidge went 5-3 with 19 saves
and a 3.36 ERA in 66 games with the Astros last season.

• Joe Crede and the Chicago White Sox agreed at $5.1 million. The
third baseman played only 47 games last season before back surgery,
batting .216 with four homers and 22 RBIs.

In all, 30 of the 110 players who filed for arbitration Tuesday
have reached agreements. Ryan Howard, Miguel Cabrera, Matt Holliday
and Francisco Rodriguez are among the big stars still in
arbitration. Dozens more players were expected to reach deals
before teams and players exchange figures Friday.

Hearings are scheduled for the first three weeks of February in St. Petersburg, Fla.