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Former AL MVP Morneau avoids arbitration, signs for one year, $7.4 million

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau
agreed Friday to a $7.4 million one-year contract, avoiding
arbitration.

The team also reached a one-year deal with pitcher Juan Rincon.

Morneau, the 2006 American League MVP received a nearly $3
million raise from the $4.5 million he made last year. Morneau is
eligible for free agency after the 2010 season.

Morneau hit .271 with 31 home runs and 111 RBIs last year. His
power numbers nearly matched his MVP season, but his average
slipped significantly from the .321 he hit in 2006. He's a career
.276 hitter, with 110 home runs and 394 RBIs.

His deal leaves two Twins facing possible arbitration: right
fielder Michael Cuddyer and right-hander Matt Guerrier.

Rincon, 28, went 3-3 with a 5.13 ERA with the Twins last season.

Outfielder Jason Kubel reached a $1.3 million, one-year deal on
Thursday.