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01/30/2009 1:21 PM ET
Pirates sign free agent Eric Hinske
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Pirates sign free agent Eric Hinske The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that they have agreed to terms with outfielder Eric Hinske on a contract for the 2009 season. The announcement was made by Pirates Senior Vice President and General Manager Neal Huntington.

Hinske, 31, hit 20 home runs and tallied 60 RBI while playing 133 games with the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays in 2008. He made 47 starts in right field, 37 in left field, nine at first base and four at third base while also making 18 appearances as the designated hitter. In addition, Hinske swiped 10 bases - his highest amount of stolen bases since stealing 12 in 2004 - and homered as a pinch hitter in Game Four of the World Series off Philadelphia's Joe Blanton.

"Eric Hinske improves our bench by providing an experienced bat with power," said Huntington. "He also has the ability to take regular at bats while playing first base, right field and left field should the situation present itself, in addition to playing third base as needed. Eric's blue collar make-up and gritty style of play will have a positive impact on our club both on the field and in the clubhouse."

A seven-year veteran, Hinske made his Major League debut with Toronto in 2002 and was named the American League Rookie-of-the-Year after hitting .279 with 38 doubles, 24 home runs, 84 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 151 games as the Blue Jays everyday third baseman.

A left-handed hitter, Hinske has tallied 187 doubles, 105 home runs and 399 RBI in 903 career games with Toronto (2002-06), Boston (2006-07) and Tampa Bay (2008). He was traded from the Blue Jays to the Red Sox on 8/17/06 and made his first appearance in the post-season that season with the World Champion Red Sox.

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