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Mets nearing agreement for R.A. Dickey

R.A. Dickey at spring training with Minnesota in

R.A. Dickey at spring training with Minnesota in 2008. Credit: Getty Images

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.

Halladay thanks fans

Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay has taken out a full-page newspaper advertisement thanking Toronto and the team's fans.

Halladay was traded to the Phillies on Dec. 16 after 12 seasons with Toronto. The ad in the Toronto Sun yesterday said that he felt "blessed" to have been part of the organization since being drafted in 1995.

"Toronto will forever have a special place in my heart," the righthander wrote. "The memories will last a lifetime and so will my gratitude."

The 2003 Cy Young Award winner was 148-76 with a 3.43 ERA for the Blue Jays. He was traded to the Phillies in a four-team blockbuster deal that included Cliff Lee.

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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