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Rays sign RHP Andrade, five others

Stephen Andrade, a right-handed reliever with dazzling minor-league numbers, was among six players the Devil Rays signed to minor-league contracts and invited to spring training Friday.

Andrade, 28, struck out 424 batters in 319 innings while walking only 112 during six minor-league seasons, coming up through the Angels system. He has a 16-10 record, 34 saves and a 2.76 ERA in 226 minor-leagues games, and pitched in four games last season with Kansas City.

Also signed were outfielder Dustan Mohr, catcher Yamid Haad, infielders Hee-Seop Choi and Jorge Velandia and righthander Tony Peguero.

Mohr, 30, is a veteran of six major-league seasons with the Twins, Giants, Rockies and Red Sox. Haad, 29, has 18 games of big-league experience with the Pirates and Giants. Choi, 27, had some decent numbers with the Cubs, Marlins and Dodgers from 2002-05, but last season played just 66 games at Triple A because of knee and back injuries. Velandia, 31, has played parts of seven seasons in the majors. Peguero, 25, was 10-12 with a 2.97 ERA for the Rays' Double-A Montgomery team last season.

TV DEAL: Two-year contract extensions will keep broadcasters Dewayne Staats and Joe Magrane in the TV booth through at least 2008. Staats, the play-by-play man, has called more than 4,000 games during a 30-year career. Magrane, the colorful analyst, won 56 during a 10-year big-league career primarily with the Cardinals.

Rays games again will be split between Fox Sports Net on cable and WXPX-Ch. 66 over the air. The Rays previously announced extensions through 2008 for radio broadcasters Andy Freed and Dave Wills.

MEADOWS FREE: The Rays went to the midnight deadline and decided to not offer arbitration to free-agent reliever Brian Meadows, on whom they had already declined a $1.05-million option. The Rays would have received a compensatory draft pick if they offered arbitration and Meadows signed elsewhere, but ran the risk of him accepting and winning a salary in excess of $1-million.

Around the league

Tom Glavine returned to the New York Mets and Ray Durham stayed with the San Francisco Giants as teams started preparing for next week's winter meetings.

Clubs had to make decisions by midnight on whether to offer salary arbitration to their former players who became free agents. Oakland offered arbitration to Barry Zito, the top available starting pitcher on the market, but San Francisco declined arbitration with Barry Bonds.

Under the new labor contract, free agents can return to their former teams at any time. By not offering arbitration, all a club loses is the right to receive amateur draft picks if it loses a highly ranked player to another team. Free agents offered arbitration have until Thursday to accept.

Houston declined to offer arbitration to all five of its former players who are free agents, a group that includes Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte. Among the free agents who did receive arbitration offers were starting pitchers Jason Schmidt (San Francisco) and Vicente Padilla (Texas); relievers Keith Foulke (Boston) and Ron Villone (New York Yankees) and Guillermo Mota and Roberto Hernandez (New York Mets); and infielders Julio Lugo (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Tony Graffanino (Milwaukee).

Also, free-agent utility infielder Geoff Blum and the San Diego Padres agreed to a $900,000, one-year contract. Leftfielder Scott Podsednik agreed to a $2.9-million, one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox that avoided arbitration. And reliever Roberto Hernandez was close to an agreement with Cleveland.

Glavine agreed to a $10.5-million, one-year contract. Now the Mets can relax as they talk to Zito and discuss possible trades this offseason.

"I wrestled with it," he said. "I think that everybody who knows me knows how important my family is to me and knows how much strain it is on my family for me to be in New York. ... In the end, it's where we felt like we needed to be, and where we wanted to be."

Durham, 35, agreed to a two-year contract worth between $14-million and $15-million. He batted .293 with career highs of 26 home runs and 93 RBIs for the Giants.

INDIANS: Former major-league manager Buck Showalter joined the team as a senior adviser.

Times wires contributed to this report. Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8801. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/rays/.

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