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Manny Ramirez, Dodgers reach 2-year deal

LOS ANGELES - Manny Ramirez and the Los AngelesDodgersreached a preliminary agreement during a sunrise meeting Wednesdayon a $45 million, two-year contract following months of talks.

The agreement is subject to the outfielder passing a physical, aperson familiar with the talks said. The person spoke on conditionof anonymity to The Associated Press because the deal was notfinal.

Ramirez gets $25 million this year and has until November todecide whether to void the second season, which calls for a $20million salary. The deal includes a full no-trade provision, andsome of the salary will be deferred.

The Dodgers were the only team to acknowledge pursuing Ramirez,a 12-time All-Star who turns 37 in May. Ramirez helped the Dodgerswin the NL West by hitting .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 53regular-season games. In the playoffs, he batted .520 with fourhomers, 10 RBIs, nine runs and 11 walks in eight games.

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and manager Joe Torre leftspring training in Arizona and met Wednesday morning at the Malibuhouse of Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who attended the sessionalong with Ramirez, the players' agent, Scott Boras, and Boras'assistant, Mike Fiore. The parties took about 3 hours for the dealto fall into place.

Ramirez was having the necessary physical later Wednesday.

Los Angeles announced last week that Ramirez declined its latestoffer, a $25 million, one-year contract with a $20 million playeroption for 2010. That deal would have included deferred payments of$10 million each in 2011 and 2012 and $5 million in 2013.

Boras countered with a proposal that included no deferred money,leaving the sides about $3 million apart in present-day value.

At the time the Dodgers acquired him from the Boston Red Soxlast July 31, Ramirez's contract was amended to eliminate the $20million team options it included for 2009 and 2010. The newagreement leaves him with a small increase but likely fell short ofwhat Ramirez hoped to gain on the free-agent market.

Ramirez was MVP of the 2004 World Series -- Boston's firstchampionship since 1918 -- and helped the Red Sox to another titlein 2007. But he often failed to run hard to first base on groundersand repeatedly said he didn't want to play for Boston, which luredhim from Cleveland after the 2000 season with a $160 million,eight-year contract.

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