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01/26/09 1:40 PM EST

Rangers, Byrd closing in on contract

Outfielder is last unsigned player on team to file for arbitration

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are close to signing Marlon Byrd to a one-year contract that would avoid an arbitration hearing.

Byrd is the last unsigned Ranger who filed for arbitration. He is asking for $3.6 million, and the Rangers are offering $2.7 million. The outfielder, who is represented by Sam Levinson, made $1.8 million in 2008 while hitting .298 with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs in 122 games and 403 at-bats.

"Sam and I continue to have good conversations," assistant general manager Thad Levine said. "I'm optimistic. We're close. That last gap is always a challenge to surmount, but we've had good progress and good dialogue. We're closing in on what both parties feel is a fair deal."

Byrd is one of four returning starting outfielders, along with David Murphy, Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz.

The Rangers have already signed their other arbitration-eligible players -- C.J. Wilson, Frank Francisco and Brandon McCarthy -- and have not had an actual arbitration hearing since 2000.

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