- The Washington Times - Friday, May 19, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — Melvin Mora signed a three-year extension with Baltimore today that will keep the third baseman with the Orioles through the 2009 season.

Mora was in the final season of a three-year contract signed in January 2004. The new deal is worth a guaranteed $25 million and includes an option for a fourth year.

Mora took a physical on Thursday and today met with his agent, Lon Babby, to review the contract. The Orioles plan to hold a news conference to announce the deal.

Baltimore begins a three-game road series tonight at RFK Stadium against the Washington Nationals.

The 34-year-old Mora is hitting .288 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 40 games this season. The two-time All-Star announced during spring training that he would prefer to stay with the Orioles, but warned he would test free agency if a deal was not signed before the 2006 season.

He backed off that assertion after both sides drew closer to an agreement last month, but Mora was intent on getting what he believed he is worth. He contends the Orioles got a bargain by signing him for $10.5 million in 2004.

Mora joined the Orioles in July 2000 in a trade with the New York Mets. He blossomed in 2003, making his first All-Star team. Although he has settled at third base, Mora has played every position with the Orioles except pitcher and catcher.

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