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Three Reds file for free agency

Three Reds file for free agency

CINCINNATI -- Three more Reds filed to become free agents on Friday.

Utility player Jerry Hairston Jr., catcher Javier Valentin and pitcher Kent Mercker all declared during the second day of the filing period.

After making the team as a non-roster player in Spring Training, Hairston batted .326 with six home runs, 36 RBIs and 15 stolen bases over 80 games. He also missed 44 games over three stints on the disabled list, with most of his time missed during the second half. The Reds went 25-19 in games when Hairston was the leadoff hitter, and he played five different positions.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has previously said he'd like to bring the 32-year-old Hairston back for next season.

Valentin, the Reds' third-string catcher who made $1.325 million in 2008, batted .256 with four homers and 18 RBIs in 94 games. Used most often from the bench, the 33-year-old batted .213 (13-for-61) with 12 RBIs as a pinch-hitter.

It's possible that Valentin could return next season, but he also expressed a desire for an increased role.

Mercker, 40, missed most of the season with lower back pain, and he indicated that he planned to retire. The left-hander went 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in 15 relief appearances. He missed all of 2007 recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery on his elbow, making the Reds as a non-roster invitee in Spring Training.

The three filings joined pitchers Jeremy Affeldt and Mike Lincoln, who filed on Thursday. David Weathers, Josh Fogg, Paul Bako and Corey Patterson are the remaining eligible Reds left who can file for free agency.

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

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