Raines Back With Yankees

Tim Raines, whose season was cut short by Lupus last year, has agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Yankees and will get $400,000 if he makes the team.

Raines, who played in Oakland last season, went on the disabled list July 19 with kidney inflammation. Less than a week later, he was diagnosed with Lupus, a connective tissue disease in which the immune system turns against a person's body. The disease effects the skin, joints, blood and kidneys.

Once Raines' medical reports were good, he instructed his agent to work out a deal with the Yankees, who would use him as a reserve outfielder and pinch-hitter.

While there was no immediate announcement by the Yankees, the deal was confirmed by two sources with knowledge of the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity. It was first reported today by The New York Times.

In his three seasons in New York from 1996-98, Raines hit .299 with 154 runs scored in 242 games and won two World Series championships. He became a free agent after the 1998 season.

Raines, one of the best leadoff hitters ever, has a .295 career average and is fifth on the career list with 807 steals. He hit a career-low .215 last season with just four steals.

On Monday, the Yankees signed right-hander Mike Grace to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.

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