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Baldelli signs new contract

TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Outfielder Rocco Baldelli of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays signed his new $32 million, six-year contract on Thursday.

The deal -- reported by the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times on Wednesday -- was confirmed at a news conference Thursday.

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"I am excited about the direction of the team, and I already sense the community's renewed interest in the organization," the 24-year-old Baldelli said. "I know we can build a winning tradition here in Tampa Bay."

Baldelli has played two seasons at the major league level. He missed the 2005 season after undergoing knee surgery.

Baldelli batted .280 with 16 home runs and 74 RBI in 136 games in 2004 after a rookie season when he hit .289 with 11 home runs and 78 RBI and finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Baldelli's new contract includes two club options, one for 2009 and a second one that covers 2010 and 2011.

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