Angels, Erick Aybar closing in on four-year deal

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The Angels are closing in on an agreement for a four-year contract extension with shortstop Erick Aybar, according to a source familiar with the negotiations but not authorized to speak publicly about them.

The deal would prevent the 28-year-old switch-hitter from reaching free agency next winter and lock up the double-play combination of Aybar and second baseman Howie Kendrick through 2015. It was unclear Wednesday whether the deal will begin in 2013 or start this season.

Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto has been in negotiations with Aybar’s agent since early January, and he indicated last weekend in New York that the sides were nearing a deal.

“Erick wants to be an Angel, we want Erick to be an Angel, and I feel very confident we’ll be able to work something out,” Dipoto told The Times. “We’ve made progress. I’m very encouraged by where we are and that we will ultimately get there.” is reporting the deal will be worth $35 million, just a shade above the four-year, $33.5-million extension Kendrick signed in January, and that it is expected to be announced on Thursday, when Aybar is presented with his 2011 Gold Glove Award.

Aybar, the team’s leadoff batter for most of last season and this season, is a .274 career hitter in seven seasons with the Angels but is off to a slow start in 2012, batting .171 (7 for 41) in the first 10 games.


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Angels, Erick Aybar closing in on four-year deal