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Mets sign utility man Willie Harris to a minor league contract

Jan 14, 2011, 2:14 PM EDT

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After three seasons in Washington the Nationals weren’t interested in bringing back Willie Harris and he apparently didn’t get any major-league offers thanks to a .183 batting average last year, so the 33-year-old utility man has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Mets.

Prior to falling apart last season Harris was a very useful spare part for the Nationals and Braves from 2007-2009, posting a nice .352 on-base percentage in 1,208 plate appearances while stealing 41 bases and playing everywhere but catcher and first base defensively.

Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com calls Harris “a decided favorite to make the team” despite being on the minor-league deal, but he’ll have to compete for a bench spot in spring training with guys like Chin-lung Hu, Luis Hernandez, Justin Turner, and Russ Adams.

Washington is expected to pursue Jerry Hairston Jr. as their utility man replacement for Harris.

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