MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Adam Everett was a free agent for, oh, a few hours.
Cast aside the day before when Houston acquired All-Star Miguel Tejada, Everett agreed Thursday to a $2.8 million, one-year contract with the Minnesota Twins to be their regular shortstop.
The 30-year-old Everett, not offered a contract by the Astros by Wednesday's midnight EST deadline, fits the classic slick-fielding, light-hitting mold for players at his position.
Though the Twins have lacked offense from their infielders in recent years, they've always held a defense-first, fundamentally driven philosophy toward building a team. They claimed they weren't turned off by his low career averages (.248 batting, .299 on-base, .357 slugging).
``This guy's a tremendous defensive shortstop,'' general manager Bill Smith said. ``His offense has slumped and has been on a little bit of a downward turn the last couple years. I'll write off this year to the broken leg, but we are hoping that he'll be able to regroup a little bit offensively and provide that high-quality defense that he is known for.''
Everett was limited to 66 games last season after a mid-June collision with left fielder Carlos Lee, who slid and crashed into Everett's right fibula while the shortstop was backpedaling to chase a fly ball. Everett was out until the final week of the year and finished with a .232 average in 220 at-bats.
In 2005, he had his best season, hitting .248 with 11 homers, 54 RBIs, 27 doubles, and 21 steals in 152 games. He has never batted higher than .273, which is certainly part of the reason why Houston no longer had a place for him after sending five players to the Baltimore Orioles for Tejada on Wednesday.
``I don't take it personally. It's just the way the game is. I'm happy to be with a team that wants me, and I'm excited to get this opportunity,'' Everett said in an interview from his home near Atlanta.
The Twins traded their regular shortstop of the past two years, Jason Bartlett, to the Tampa Bay Rays last month in a six-player swap that fetched outfielder Delmon Young and infielder Brendan Harris.
Harris and Nick Punto are each capable of playing second base, shortstop and third base, so they'll probably fight for time at second. Behind them is Alexi Casilla, a raw prospect with some promise who frequently frustrated the coaches last year with mental mistakes.
Third base and center field are still big holes for Minnesota.
``We're trying to make our club better,'' Smith said. ``We have a lot of time, and we have a good bit of work to do before spring training.''

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