Astros, Hunter Pence avoid arbitration

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The Astros have reached a middle ground with outfielder Hunter Pence, agreeing Saturday on a one-year, $3.5 million contract for 2010.  The talented 26-year-old requested $4.1 million and was offered $3.1 million when arbitration figures were exchanged on Tuesday.  He hit .282/.346/.472 last season with 25 home runs, 26 doubles, 72 RBI and 14 stolen bases.

The deal leaves the Astros with only two remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players: left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak and left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez.  AOL Fanhouse’s Ed Price “tweeted” Friday that Houston management is “said to be unwilling to do multi-year deals with any of their
arbitration-eligible” players.  You know, just in case the fellas were wondering.  Fight on, Drayton McLane.