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Julio Franco gets minor league deal

Jan. 8, 2004 at 7:05 PM

ATLANTA, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Ageless first baseman Julio Franco has signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves.

MLB.com is reporting that, by previous agreement, Franco, who turned 46 in August, rejected the Braves' arbitration offer and accepted the minor league deal with the understanding that barring any unforeseen events, he'll be on Atlanta's Opening Day roster.

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If he makes the team, he will be paid the major league minimum of $750,000. Incentives would push him over $1 million.

"It doesn't matter how old I am, it's how young I feel," the well-conditioned Franco, who has said he wants to play until he's 50, often says when asked about his age.

"I think it's been a very good fit for both sides," said his agent, Chuck Berry.

In 197 at-bats last season, Franco hit .294, with five homers and 31 RBI. In 19 major league seasons and 2,144 games, he has batted .300 with 155 homers and 1,053 RBI and has played for eight teams.

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