Vladimir Guerrero signs with the Long Island Ducks

Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero during an

Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero during an at bat in the third inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, in Arlington, Texas. (July 5, 2011) (Credit: AP)

A former American League MVP with 2,590 hits and 449 home runs in his career will now be playing baseball in . . . Central Islip.

Vladimir Guerrero's first stop on what he hopes is the road back to the majors will be with the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League.

"Vladimir Guerrero is a Hall of Fame talent that has produced tremendous numbers at the highest level of the game," Ducks general manager Michael Pfaff said Thursday night. "He has a real desire to return to the major leagues and we thought the Atlantic League was the best place for him to begin that journey. We're happy to give him that opportunity."

The 38-year-old Guerrero -- the 2004 MVP and a nine-time All-Star, including as recently as 2010 with the Rangers -- last played in the majors in 2011 with the Orioles, hitting .290 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs. Guerrero was open to a minor-league deal in his comeback attempt but was unable to land one.

Pfaff said he reached out to Guerrero's representatives last week and the contract was finalized Thursday night.

"He brings run production, he brings leadership and he brings a bat that opposing pitchers have to fear and plan to pitch around," Pfaff said. "With a Vladimir Guerrero in the lineup, it gives some of our others hitters like a Ray Navarrete some better pitches to see."

Guerrero is currently in the Dominican Republic and Pfaff hopes to have him join the team next week. The Ducks, who won the Atlantic League championship last season, open the season in Texas against the Sugar Land Skeeters on April 18. The home opener is on April 26 against the Skeeters.

"He's very excited about the opportunity," Pfaff said of Guerrero, a .318 hitter during his 16-year career. "He's very appreciative. He's looking forward to coming here and helping us win a championship if he doesn't get signed before that."

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