Rangers Offer Byrd, Pudge Salary Arbitration

Outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher Ivan Rodriguez have been offered salary arbitration by the Texas Rangers. Texas didn't offer arbitration to infielder Hank Blalock, right-hander Joaquin Benoit and left-handed reliever Eddie Guardado.

Teams had until Tuesday night to make arbitration offers to former players who became free agents.

Byrd and Rodriguez have until Sunday to accept the offer and would be considered signed if they do. They can still re-sign with the Rangers if they reject arbitration, but the Rangers would be compensated with a supplemental draft pick if either signed with another team.

"We've had dialogue with the agents for both guys and have interest in them returning under the right circumstances. At the same time, we understand they have options they're going to look into," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We'll continue to stay in touch. Either we have a winning player for 2010 or a draft pick for the future."

Byrd, who is seeking a multiyear deal, hit .283 with 20 home runs and 89 RBI in 146 games for Texas last season, his third with the Rangers. He established career highs in games, hits (155), doubles (43), and RBI.

Rodriguez started 25 games at catcher after the 14-time All-Star and 13-time Gold Glove winner rejoined his original team Aug. 18, when he was traded from Houston to Texas. He is the Rangers' career leader in hits (1,747) and doubles (352).

Pudge made his major league debut with the Rangers as a 19-year-old in 1991. He left after the 2002 season when the Rangers refused to offer salary arbitration.

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Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia had surgery in September for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a problem in the shoulder that is the likely cause of the numbness in his throwing hand.

Rodriguez could provide needed depth if Saltalamacchia isn't ready for next season. If both Rodriguez and Saltalamacchia are on the roster to start 2010, that could mean Taylor Teagarden goes back to Triple-A.

Blalock was an All-Star third baseman in 2003 and 2004 before being plagued by a shoulder problem and other injuries. The Rangers then primarily used him as a first baseman and designated hitter. Blalock made $6.2 million last season, when he hit .234 with 25 home runs and 66 RBIS in 123 games. with a paltry .277 on-base percentage.

Benoit hasn't pitched for Texas since having surgery to repair a torn right rotator cuff last winter. The 39-year-old Guardado had indicated at the end of last season that he was considering retirement, but has since said he'd like to play again.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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