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Angels open contract talks with Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar

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Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto has had preliminary discussions with the agents for second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar about multi-year deals that would prevent the infielders from becoming free agents after 2012.

Both Kendrick, who hit .285 with 18 home runs, 30 doubles and 63 runs batted in last season, and the slick-fielding Aybar, who hit .279 with 10 homers, 33 doubles and 59 RBIs, are entering their final years of arbitration.

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“At this point, it’s something we’ve begun to explore and will continue to explore,” Dipoto said. “There is no timetable, but certainly, it’s something we’re interested in pursuing.”

Kendrick, 28, made $3.3 million last season and is expected to push his salary to the $5.1-million range in arbitration. He could command a deal in the four-year, $34-million range.

Aybar, who turns 28 next week, made $3 million last season and is expected to push his salary to about $4.5 million in arbitration. The switch-hitter could command a four-year deal in the $30-million range.

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-- Mike DiGiovanna


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