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11/29/05 10:55 AM ET

Cubs sign free agent Howry

Right-handed reliever inked to three-year, $12 million deal

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs finalized their deal with free agent Bob Howry on Tuesday, signing the right-handed reliever to a three-year, $12 million contract.

Howry, who was to be introduced during a Tuesday news conference at Wrigley Field, is the second new arm added to the Cubs bullpen this offseason. On Nov. 17, the Cubs signed left-hander Scott Eyre to a deal that guarantees him $11 million over three years.

Eyre and Howry know Chicago. They were teammates on the White Sox from 1998-2000. Howry pitched for the White Sox from 1998 until he was dealt at the 2002 trade deadline to the Boston Red Sox. In 1999, he saved 28 games for Chicago.

Howry, 32, has spent his entire career in the American League, and he pitched the last two seasons with the Indians. In 2005, he tossed 73 innings over 79 appearances, going 7-4 with a 2.47 ERA. Howry set a club record for relief appearances in a single season and tied for third in the American League in that category.

This season, Cubs relievers compiled a 4.24 ERA and a 21-27 record, and led the National League in home runs allowed (63) and walks (240).

Now that the bullpen has been addressed, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry can focus on other areas. He met with free agent Rafael Furcal on Sunday at the shortstop's Atlanta home. The Braves and Cubs were the frontrunners for the shortstop, who was believed to be seeking a four- or five-year deal.

Furcal, 27, was expected to make a decision before the Winter Meetings begin Monday in Dallas. He has spent his entire career with the Braves, batting .284 in 154 games this season.

The Cubs also were expected to announce this week they have added free agent John Mabry. The left-handed hitting Mabry batted .265 off the bench for the St. Louis Cardinals this season, and hit .240 overall with eight homers and 32 RBIs. His bat would give the Cubs bench a boost, and he could back up at first, third and both corner outfield spots. Mabry has a career .269 average.

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