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01/11/10 2:18 AM EST
Huff agrees to deal with Giants
First baseman to get one-year deal, pending physical
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
The Giants filled their need for a left-handed hitter by agreeing Sunday with free agent Aubrey Huff on a one-year contract. The deal, pending a physical, was initially reported by The Associated Press, which cited a person with knowledge of the negotiations. A baseball official wouldn't confirm the agreement to MLB.com, but indicated that the one-year accord between Huff and San Francisco was indeed in place. Huff's a .282 career hitter with 203 home runs and 752 RBIs in 10 seasons with the Rays, Orioles, Astros and Tigers. But he's coming off a season in which he hit a career-low .241 with 15 homers and 85 RBIs in 150 games for Baltimore and Detroit. Huff likely will occupy first base, meaning that Pablo Sandoval will play third and Mark DeRosa will man left field. Like DeRosa and Juan Uribe, who the Giants have acquired in the past two weeks, Huff has played multiple positions extensively. He has logged 361 games at third base, 320 at first and 245 in the outfield, mostly right. But Huff's apparent lack of range at third makes it more likely that he'll play across the diamond, thrusting Travis Ishikawa into reserve status. Giants general manager Brian Sabean said last week that he wanted to find a left-handed hitter to balance a projected lineup including right-handers DeRosa, Aaron Rowand, Freddy Sanchez and Edgar Renteria. Huff also might fit the description of the No. 5 hitter the Giants wanted for their lineup. He has batted in the middle of the order for most of his career, spending 517 games at cleanup, 300 hitting third and 264 in the fifth spot. Huff, 33, has exceeded 100 RBIs in three separate seasons, most recently 2008, when he batted .304 with 32 homers and a personal-best 108 RBIs with Baltimore. Huff earned an $8 million base salary last year, but the Giants likely signed him for a more modest figure. They reportedly made a two-year, $17 million offer to free-agent first baseman Andy LaRoche, who spurned the bid. For what it's worth, Huff has been a productive hitter in the few games he has played at AT&T Park, batting .333 (4-for-12) with a homer and two RBIs.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.