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Rays agree to contracts, avoid arbitration with Fuld, Joyce, Niemann and Roberts

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The Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to a one-year contracts and avoided arbitration with outfielders Sam Fuld and Matt Joyce, right-handed pitcher Jeff Niemann and infielder Ryan Roberts.

Fuld, 31, will earn $725,000.  In 2012, the outfielder missed the first 96 games of the season while recovering from surgery to repair ligaments in his right wrist, an injury he incurred during spring training.  He underwent surgery on April 3 and was reinstated on July 24.  After rejoining the club, he played in 44 of the team's final 66 games, batting .255 (25-for-98) with seven stolen bases and 14 runs scored.  In two seasons with the Rays, he has hit .244 (99-for-406) with three home runs, 32 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 149 games.

Joyce, 28, will earn $2.45 million.  The Tampa native finished his fifth year in the majors in 2012, batting .241 (96-for-399) with 17 home runs, 59 RBI and a career-high 55 walks in 124 games played.  He missed 23 games from June 20-July 17 with a left external oblique strain.  The 2011 American League All-Star has hit .254 with 61 home runs and 214 RBI in his major league career.

Niemann, who turns 30 on February 28, will earn $3 million.  The righthander went 2-3 with a 3.08 ERA (38-IP, 13-ER) over eight starts in an injury-shortened 2012 season.  He spent three and a half months (May 16-September 1) on the disabled list with a fractured right fibula after being struck in the ankle by a line drive during his start on May 14 at Toronto.  In five major league seasons with the Rays, Niemann has a 40-26 record with a 4.08 ERA.

Roberts, 32, will earn $2.95 million plus incentives.  The utility infielder split the 2012 season between the Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks, combining to hit .235 (103-for-439) with 12 home runs, 52 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 143 games.  He was acquired by the Rays on July 24 from the Diamondbacks and started 51 of 65 games after joining the Rays, batting .218 (40-for-187) with six home runs, 10 doubles and 18 RBI.  The right-handed hitter has spent parts of seven seasons in the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays (2006-07), Texas Rangers (2008), Diamondbacks (2009-12) and Rays (2012).
 

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