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Thursday, May 24, 2012
Armando Benitez is back ... sort of

By Kieran Darcy

Don't worry, Mets fans -- general manager Sandy Alderson isn't desperate enough to add Armando Benitez to his roster. (Not yet, anyway.)

But you will be able to see Benitez pitch again soon. On Thursday, the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball signed him to a contract.

The 39-year-old last pitched in the major leagues way back in 2008, when he made eight appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays. He last pitched professionally in 2010, for the Newark Bears, also of the Atlantic League, before being signed by the Florida Marlins and assigned to their Triple-A affiliate.

Benitez collected 160 of his 289 career major-league saves with the Mets from 1999 to 2003, when he was traded to the Yankees mid-season.

(Benitez spent less than a month with the Yankees, before being shipped to the Seattle Mariners, with the Yanks re-acquiring Jeff Nelson.)

In 762 career major league appearances and 779 innings pitched, Benitez has struck out 946 batters and allowed just 545 hits.

“Armando Benitez is a well-known name to the baseball fans of the tri-state area,” said Ducks president/GM Michael Pfaff in a statement. “He has had success in this league and at the big-league level previously, and we’re confident he will contribute positively to our club’s championship mission.”