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The Associated Press

Outfielder Jermaine Dye agreed to a two-year, $22 million contract extension Saturday to stay with the Chicago White Sox through the 2009 season.

There is also a mutual option for 2010.

Dye, the MVP of the 2005 World Series, could have been a free agent at the end of this season.

Dye will receive $9.5 million in 2008 and $11.5 million in 2009. The mutual option pays Dye $12 million for the 2010 season or gives him a $1 million buyout.

The 33-year-old Dye has a team-high 24 home runs and has batted .245 with 62 RBI in 104 games for the White Sox, who have had a disappointing season and have all but fallen out of contention in the AL Central.

Chicago was 13 games under .500 entering last night’s game against the Mariners and had lost six straight.

During a 12-year career that has included stops with Atlanta, Kansas City and Oakland, Dye has batted .274 with 260 home runs and 879 RBI in 1,434 games.

Last season, Dye batted .315 with a career-high 44 homers and 120 RBI.

Tampa Bay prospect suspended

A Tampa Bay Devil Rays minor leaguer was suspended 50 games for violating baseball’s minor league drug rules.

Double-A Montgomery pitcher James Houser tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. The left-hander is 5-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 20 starts this season for the Biscuits.

“The Tampa Bay Devil Rays fully support baseball’s drug testing program, including the measures taken against James Houser,” Devil Rays director of minor league operations Mitch Lukevics said in a statement yesterday.

The Devil Rays also had a big league pitcher, Juan Salas, suspended earlier this season under the major league testing program. Salas received a 50-game penalty announced May 7 following a positive test for a banned performance-enhancing substance.

Mets promote Alomar

The New York Mets placed catcher Ramon Castro on the 15-day disabled list with lower back pain and purchased the contract of Sandy Alomar Jr. from Triple-A New Orleans.

The move with Castro is retroactive to Aug. 13.

Castro, who is batting .276 with seven homers and 22 RBI, is the second New York catcher to land on the disabled list in the last six days. Paul Lo Duca was placed on the DL last Sunday with tightness in his right hamstring.

The 41-year-old Alomar appeared in three games for the Mets last month, and is batting .333. In 41 games with New Orleans, he’s hitting .292 with four homers and 29 RBI.

With Lo Duca and Castro hurt, the Mets catchers are Alomar and Mike DiFelice, who were New Orleans’ catchers for much of the year.

“I’m sure DiFelice will probably get the lion’s share of the work,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said.

The 38-year-old DiFelice, who was in the lineup for last night’s game against Washington, is batting .278 with five RBI in five games.

Reds send down Santos

The Cincinnati Reds designated pitcher Victor Santos for assignment and recalled pitcher Elizardo Ramirez to start yesterday against Milwaukee.

Santos was 1-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 32 games for the Reds. This is the second time this season the Reds designated Santos for assignment.

Ramirez made his first start for Cincinnati since Aug. 12, 2006.

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