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Mets nearing agreement for R.A. Dickey

The Mets are nearing agreement on a minor-league contract with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press yesterday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Dickey, a 35-year-old right-hander, made 14 starts for Seattle in 2008 but was primarily a reliever for Minnesota last season, when he went 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA in one start and 34 relief appearances.

Pitching his entire career without the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, Dickey is 22-28 with a 5.43 ERA in 48 starts and 96 relief appearances in seven big-league seasons. Doctors think he either was born without the ligament or it dissolved after a tear.

Dickey was taken by Texas with the 18th pick of the 1996 amateur draft.

MLB, umps reach deal?

Major League Baseball and its umpires have completed negotiations for a new labor contract and are likely to announce an agreement today, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.

The sides worked into last night to reach the deal. Owners and umpires hope to ratify the agreement next month.

Management has been seeking to gain increased flexibility on postseason assignments as part of the agreement, which could allow umpires to work the World Series in consecutive seasons. Following a series of missed calls during the playoffs, MLB went with an all veteran crew of six umpires in this year's World Series.

Marquis, Nats seal deal

Free-agent pitcher Jason Marquis and the Washington Nationals have completed a $15-million, two-year contract. Marquis will receive $7.5 million in each of the next two seasons.

The 31-year-old righthander went 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 216 innings for Colorado in 2009. He made the NL All-Star team last season, thanks to an 11-6 record and 3.65 ERA at that point. But Marquis fizzled down the stretch and wasn't part of the Rockies' postseason starting rotation.

Atkins officially an 'O'

Third baseman Garrett Atkins and the Baltimore Orioles have completed their $4.5-million, one-year contract. His deal calls for a $4-million salary next year and includes an $8.5-million club option for 2011 with a $500,000 buyout. There are additional performance bonuses.- AP

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