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Rays close to re-signing reliever Peralta

Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 11:58 PM

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The Tampa Bay Rays and reliever Joel Peralta are close to finalizing a two-year deal believed to be worth $6 million, Peralta said Monday from his home in the Dominican Republic.

The Rays have not officially announced the signing.

"I'm glad to be back," Peralta said. "I love being there."

Peralta, who turns 37 in March, made $2.175 million in 2012 when he pitched in a career-high 76 games and had a career-high 84 strikeouts serving mainly as the eighth inning setup man for closer Fernando Rodney.

Despite serving an eight-game suspension in June for having pine tar on his glove, Peralta's 67 innings pitched were just shy of the career-high 67 2/3 innings he pitched in 2011, his first year with the Rays. His 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings were also a career best.

Peralta said before the end of the season he wanted to return to Tampa Bay. He said Monday five teams were interested in signing him, including two that offered more money than the Rays.

"But I want to pitch in Tampa Bay," he said. "It's not just one thing, it's many things."

One of those things, Peralta said, is manager Joe Maddon.

"Everyone knows Joe is one of the best managers (in baseball)," Peralta said. "He lets you pitch, and whatever happens, it's OK. That gives you confidence."

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