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Versatile Blake avoids arbitration with new deal from Indians

CLEVELAND -- Third baseman Casey Blake avoided arbitration
by agreeing Friday to a $6.1 million, one-year contract with the
Cleveland Indians.

Blake, who can become a free agent after this season, had been
seeking $6.9 million. Cleveland offered $5.4 million to the
versatile 34-year-old, who made $3.75 million last year.

Blake, who signed with the Indians as a free agent in 2002, hit
.270 with 18 homers last season. He began last season at first base
and as backup outfielder, but moved to third base when Andy Marte
was injured and then demoted to the minor leagues. Blake started
134 games at third base.

The club hasn't gone to arbitration with a player since 1991.