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Palmeiro Agrees to Return to Orioles

January 11, 2004|Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Rafael Palmeiro is returning to Baltimore, where he enjoyed five outstanding seasons before his acrimonious departure in 1998.

Palmeiro, 39, agreed to terms with the Orioles on Saturday, accepting a one-year contract with an option for a second year. The first baseman-designated hitter became a free agent after spending the last five seasons with the Texas Rangers.

Palmeiro batted .260 with 38 homers and 112 RBIs last season. During a career that began in 1986 with the Chicago Cubs, he has batted .291 with 528 home runs.

"Raffy is one of the steadiest, most consistent hitters in the game. He's a former team MVP and helped us to the postseason twice," said Mike Flanagan, Oriole vice president for baseball operations.

After the strike-shortened 1994 season, Palmeiro averaged 40 home runs and 119 RBIs in his final four years with the Orioles. He helped them reach the playoffs in 1996 and 1997.

But Baltimore moved slowly in negotiating a new deal after the 1998 season, and Palmeiro rejected a five-year, $50-million offer from the Orioles and signed a five-year, $45 million contract with Texas.

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