Eckstein agrees to extend deal

Updated: August 22, 2009, 10:48 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Second baseman David Eckstein and the San Diego Padres agreed to a one-year contract extension on Saturday.

Eckstein, who signed a one-year deal as a free agent in January, leads all major league second basemen with a .998 fielding percentage. Eckstein, playing exclusively at second base for the first time in his nine-year career, has made just one error.

"I really enjoy the role I have here," Eckstein said.

Eckstein is hitting .255 with one homer and 38 RBIs in 101 games.

Eckstein, the 2006 World Series MVP with the St. Louis Cardinals, has been a steadying influence on a young San Diego team throughout the season.

"He's been great," Padres manager Bud Black said. "What he's brought to the club on the field, first and foremost, and what he brings to the club in the locker room."

Eckstein, a two-time All-Star who has won a pair of World Series titles, said this has been one of his most enjoyable seasons despite playing for last-place San Diego.

"You ask my wife, I have a smile on my face when I go home," he said. "I have a smile on my face when go to the park. I love coming to the park, and she would argue that I haven't always smiled."

Eckstein came into Saturday night's game against the Cardinals as the second-toughest player to strike out in the majors, averaging a strikeout every 14.4 at-bats. He was also ninth in the NL with a .330 average with runners in scoring position.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press