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Calling Cabrera

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The Pirates have taken a big first stop toward becoming bidders for free-agent pitcher Daniel Cabrera.

Cabrera’s agent, Mike Powers, exchanged several e-mails over the weekend with a Pirates official. The Pirates have not yet made an offer for Cabrera, a right-hander who last season went 8-10 with a 5.25 ERA in 30 starts for the Baltimore Orioles.

Powers said he already has gotten two firm offers for Cabrera and expects a few more this week. Pirates management is very interested in Cabrera, and almost assuredly will make an offer.

– Outfielder Jason Michaels gave up waiting for the Pirates to call. Today, he signed a free-agent deal with the Houston Astros. Michaels got a one-year contract worth $750,000 — a steep discount on the $2.15 million he made in 2008.

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