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Giants ink Fontenot, non-tender Ray, Velez

Giants ink Fontenot, non-tender Ray, Velez

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants tendered contracts on Thursday to each of their eight arbitration-eligible players but one: right-hander Chris Ray, whom they still hope to sign to a Minor League deal.

Utilityman Eugenio Velez also was not tendered a contract. Velez, who has spent parts of the last four seasons with the Giants, wasn't eligible for arbitration, but the move cleared a spot on the 40-man roster. The Giants need the space after signing free agents Aubrey Huff, Miguel Tejada and Pat Burrell, whose one-year deal is expected to become official on Friday.

Infielder Mike Fontenot, rumored as a candidate to be non-tendered, instead signed a one-year contract. Fontenot, who earned $1 million last season, hit .283 in 103 games, including .282 in 28 games with the Giants after they obtained him from the Cubs on Aug. 11. Fontenot started 15 games for San Francisco, including nine at second base and three apiece at shortstop and third base.

General manager Brian Sabean said that the club values Ray's ability to handle various bullpen roles, but the Giants' brain trust apparently decided that Ray and left-hander Dan Runzler were the leading candidates for the last spot on the team's projected 12-man pitching staff for 2011. The choice, as Sabean indicated, is Runzler, who impressed the Giants by throwing three hitless innings in three Arizona Fall League appearances.

"We have Runzler on the cusp of doing great things," Sabean said. "We'd love to have the depth, but I can't say we want to start the season with Runzler in the Minor Leagues. That's what you have to juggle."

As is the case with Ray, the Giants will discuss a Minor League deal for Velez, who hit .256 in 225 games in the Majors. Regarding Velez, Sabean said, "His situation was going to get a little bit tenuous. We didn't see how he was going to make the team coming out of Spring Training."

Chris Haft 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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