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Thursday, December 11, 2008
Pirates, Vazquez near deal

By Jerry Crasnick

The Pittsburgh Pirates are close to an agreement on a two-year, $4 million deal with free-agent infielder Ramon Vazquez, two baseball sources told

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington declined to address terms but said a deal could be reached shortly.

"It's not done," Huntington said. "There are still some things to work through. But it's close, and I'm optimistic."

Vazquez, 32, hit .290 with a .365 on-base percentage in 105 games with the Texas Rangers last season. He previously played with the Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox.

Vazquez gives the Pirates an experienced utilityman to play second, third and short and a potential alternative in the event the team trades shortstop Jack Wilson or second baseman Freddy Sanchez.

Jerry Crasnick covers baseball for ESPN The Magazine senior writer Buster Olney contributed to this report.