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Angels Reward Erick Aybar with Four-Year Contract Extension

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(ANAHEIM, Calif.) -- Even though the Los Angeles Angels have handed out lucrative contracts to players like Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Howard Kendrick and Albert Pujols, the team still had enough money leftover to extend one of their core players.

The Angels have given shortstop Erick Aybar a four-year contract extension worth $35 million, keeping off the free agent market after the 2012 season.

Aybar has been with the Angels his entire career after making his Major League debut with the team back in 2006. Each and every year, Aybar improved at the plate and on the field. He enjoyed a career year last season in which he batted .279 with ten home runs and 59 runs batted in. He also won his first Gold Glove Award.

"I knew the free-agent possibility was there, and I knew some teams were going to need a shortstop, but the way I've been treated here was more than fair," Aybar said through a translator. "There was no need to look outside. ... Now I just need to put that aside, play the game, and get on base so Albert can drive me in."

Even though Aybar hit .389 in spring training, he's off to a rough start so far this season, batting just .217 with eight strikeouts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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