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First baseman Mientkiewicz agrees to minor league deal with Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who caught
the final out in 2004 that gave the Boston Red Sox their first
World Series championship in 86 years, agreed Monday to a minor
league contract Monday with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Mientkiewicz would get a $750,000, one-year contract if added to
the 40-man roster. The deal also includes $750,000 in performance
bonuses.

Pittsburgh is looking for another bat off the bench after not
bringing back first baseman Josh Phelps, who hit .351 in 29 games with
the Pirates last season after also being picked up from the
Yankees. Phelps was arbitration eligible and the Pirates did not
offer him a new contract, and he signed with St. Louis.

The 33-year-old Mientkiewicz missed more than half of last
season for the Yankees with a broken right wrist that occurred when
he collided with Boston's Mike Lowell.

Mientkiewicz hit .277 with five home runs and 24 RBIs in 72
games last season. He has a .271 career average with 64 homers and
372 RBIs in 942 games with Minnesota, Boston, the New York Mets,
Kansas City and the Yankees.

Mientkiewicz initially retained the ball he caught to end the
2004 Series, but the Red Sox also wanted it and the dispute over
the ball's ownership eventually resulted in a lawsuit. The
disagreement ended when the ball was donated to the Baseball Hall
of Fame.

The bonus clauses in Mientkiewicz's contract include $25,000
each for 70 and 80 games, $50,000 each for 90, 100 and 110 games
and $75,000 each for 120 and 130 games. He would also make $50,000
each for 275, 300 and 350 plate appearances, $75,000 each for 400
and 450 plate appearances and $100,000 for 500 plate appearances.