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January 19, 2009

Francisco, Rangers avoid arbitration

Many people in the Central Time Zone are asleep at 10:17 p.m., but not the powers that be with the Texas Rangers. They announced that they had signed right-hander Frank Francisco to a one-year, $1.615 million deal, thus avoiding salary arbitration.

He enters the spring as the favorite to be the closer after finishing 2008 in that role. He recorded all five of his saves over the final five weeks of the season after assuming the spot when Eddie Guardado was traded.

Two more Rangers -- reliever/closer candidate C.J. Wilson and outfielder Marlon Byrd -- remain eligible for arbitration. They likely won't be signed before free-agent shortstop Omar Vizquel. A minor-league deal with the 11-time Gold Glove winner could be done by Tuesday.

Maybe at 10:18 p.m.

-- Jeff Wilson


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