Griffey stays with Mariners for 2010

SEATTLE — Ken Griffey Jr. and the Mariners agreed Wednesday to another one-year contract that will keep the popular player in Seattle next year,

Griffey, who turns 40 on Nov. 21, received a contract similar to the incentive-laden deal he signed to return to Seattle for the 2009 season. He is likely to again be a part-time designated hitter in his 22nd season in the major leagues.

A 10-time All-Star and the 1997 AL MVP for the Mariners, Griffey hit .214 last season with 19 homers as a part-time DH. He was limited by a swollen left knee that required a second operation last month.

Griffey is No. 5 on the career home run list with 630.

After spending his first 11 seasons with Seattle, he played nine more with Cincinnati and the Chicago White Sox. Griffey returned to the Mariners this year under rookie manager Don Wakamatsu and helped transform what had been a fractured, bickering clubhouse with his leadership, energy and constant pranks.

“I’d like to thank the Mariners organization for inviting me back to play in 2010,” Griffey said in a statement. “While 2009 was an awesome experience for me, my ultimate goal is for the Mariners to get to and win the World Series. To that end, I look forward to contributing in any role that Don sees fit on the field, and any manner I possibly can off the field.”

Seattle is convinced Griffey is healthy enough to contribute again next year — though he won’t undergo a physical to formally close his new deal for a couple of more weeks, to give time for the knee to recover from surgery.

“We believe that Ken’s presence with the Seattle Mariners organization was such a positive asset last season with his leadership on and off the field,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “His passion for baseball, life and the Seattle Mariners goes unsaid. We are happy to have Ken back for the 2010 season.”

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