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Notes: Nady, Grabow avoid arbitration

Notes: Bucs sign Nady, Grabow

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates agreed to terms on one-year contracts with right fielder Xavier Nady and left-handed reliever John Grabow on Friday.

The only arbitration-eligible player who has yet to come to an agreement with the club is second baseman Freddy Sanchez. There was a noon ET deadline on Friday for agreements to be made with players eligible for arbitration before players and clubs are required to exchange arbitration figures.

Sanchez and the Pirates differed by $800,000 when the two sides exchanged figures on Friday afternoon. Sanchez has asked for $4.9 million, while the Pirates countered with an offer of $4.1 million. The starting second baseman made $2.75 million last season.

Nady, Grabow and Sanchez were all in their second year of arbitration eligibility. Each had avoided going in front of an arbiter last season by signing one-year contracts with the club.

Nady, who made $2.15 million in 2007, will earn $3.35 million this season with the possibility of increasing that by $250,000 based on a plate-appearance incentive.

The right fielder is coming off his first full season with the Pirates. Despite dealing with a handful of pestering illnesses and injuries throughout the year, Nady finished the season with a .278 average, 20 homers and 72 RBIs in 125 games.

Though his name freely floated through the offseason trade rumor mill, Nady is now expected to be the team's starting right fielder on Opening Day.

As for Grabow, he will earn $1.135 million in 2008 after making $823,500 last season. Grabow also has the potential of earning an additional $75,000 based on appearances.

The left-handed reliever will enter 2008 expected to play a critical role out of the Pirates bullpen. As one of three pitchers already set for the 'pen, Grabow is going to be depended on as a late-inning option against both right-handed and left-handed hitters. Grabow went 3-2 with a 4.53 ERA and struck out 42 in 63 appearances.

After dealing with left-elbow pain throughout last season, Grabow opted not to have minor offseason surgery. However, the lefty is working through his offseason throwing plan pain-free and is expected to arrive at Spring Training at full health.

Arbitration hearings are scheduled to take place from Feb. 1-20. However, because the Pirates don't have a policy of refusing to continue negotiating with players up until the beginning of arbitration hearings, it's still likely Sanchez will come to some sort of one-year deal with the club before the process gets that far.

Sanchez is coming off a season in which he led all Pirates starters with a .304 average. The two-time All-Star and 2006 National League batting champion finished last season with 77 runs, 81 RBIs and 11 home runs.

Hot Stove

Donnelly returns: Earlier in the week, the Pirates announced that Rich Donnelly, who split 11 seasons as the Pirates bullpen coach and third-base coach from 1986-1996, has returned to the organization to assist farm director Kyle Stark. Donnelly will serve as a player development advisor, a role that will have him evaluating the organization's entire Minor League system as a roving coordinator.

In all, Donnelly has spent the last 26 years coaching in the Majors, most recently as the third-base coach for the Dodgers.

PirateFest update: The Pirates have revealed specific details surrounding their 18th annual three-day PirateFest, which kicks off Jan. 25 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Current players expected to be in attendance to sign autographs and conduct Q & A sessions with fans include: Nady, Grabow, Jason Bay, Jack Wilson, Tom Gorzelanny, Matt Morris, Zach Duke, Matt Capps, Paul Maholm, Ian Snell and Nyjer Morgan. In addition, prospects Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Brian Bixler, as well as a number of Pirates alumni will be on hand to sign autographs.

Other planned activities include a Q & A session with manager John Russell, general manager Neal Huntington and president Frank Coonelly; baseball youth clinics hosted by Russell and pitching coach Jeff Andrews; interactive games, trivia contests and pierogi-eating contests; rock-climbing walls, inflatable rides, batting cages and more.

Fans attending the event are also asked to donate a non-perishable food item in return for a free Pirates poster. More information regarding ticket hours, ticket prices and locations can be found here.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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