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Ward, Cubs exercise mutual option

Ward, Cubs exercise mutual option

Daryle Ward, who ranks second in the Major Leagues with 33 pinch-hits over the last two seasons, will be back with the Cubs in 2008 after both sides exercised a mutual option on Saturday.

In other moves, the Cubs announced they had declined club options on outfielder Cliff Floyd and pitcher Steve Trachsel, both of whom filed for free agency last week. The team also added right-hander Adam Harben to the 40-man roster.

Ward, 32, reportedly will earn $1.2 million next season. After signing a free-agent deal with the Cubs last December, he hit .327 in 79 games, including .268 (11-for-41) with 11 walks as a pinch-hitter.

Since the start of 2006, Ward's 33 pinch-hits are second only to Houston's Orlando Palmeiro, who has 35. Ward's 21 walks as a pinch-hitter over the last two seasons leads the big leagues, while his 21 RBIs in that role trail only Olmedo Saenz (27) and Javier Valentin (22).

With 72 career pinch-hits, Ward is tied for fifth among active players, along with David Dellucci and Saenz. Mark Sweeney leads all active players with 163 career pinch-hits.

Harben, 24, missed most of 2007 with a right elbow injury before going 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA in three August rehabilitation outings with rookie-level Mesa. The Cubs acquired him from the Twins in September 2005 to complete the Phil Nevin trade, and Harben posted a 3.96 ERA while pitching mostly as a starter with Double-A New Britain in 2006.

Adam McCalvy 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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