Mets sign Galarraga, nine others

NEW YORK – The New York Mets agreed to terms on minor league contracts with Andres Galarraga and nine others Thursday, as their non-roster list for spring training begins to take shape. <P> Galarraga is by far the biggest name of the ten invited to major league spring training by the Mets this week, and a clear sign that GM Omar Minaya is preparing for any circumstance that may arise with the club's first base situation.

Galarraga, 43, missed most of last season due to treatment from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and was limited to just 10 at-bats with the Anaheim Angels in September. He hit .304 in 102 at-bats with Triple-A Salt Lake City in the Pacific Coast League last year, and needs just one home run to reach the 400 mark lifetime.

"Everything is going great right now," Galarraga said. "Once the doctors gave me the green light, I came back in August and hit for power and felt good. I want to go out on my own terms."

A five-time All-Star over a successful major league career that began in 1985, Galarraga represents an inexpensive fallback option if the club is unsuccessful in acquiring free agent Carlos Delgado or another steady first baseman. Minaya has already intoned that the team will not use Jason Phillips, who slumped badly most of last year, at first base in 2005.

The Mets also bolstered their relief corps and position player vaults for spring training on Thursday, particularly the outfield.

With centerfielder Mike Cameron a possibility to miss all of April, New York renewed acquaintances with Gerald Williams – who batted .233 in 47 games with the Mets last year – and signed Kerry Robinson, a 31-year-old speedster who has played in the Majors with the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres. Last year, Robinson hit .293 with 11 stolen bases in 80 games for San Diego.

The Mets' other notable signings of the day were relievers Juan Padilla, Grant Roberts and Scott Strickland, catchers Ramon Castro and Andy Dominique, and infielders Marlon Anderson and Luis Garcia.

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