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Pirates payroll ranks second-to-last

The Pirates finished 2008 with a $50.8 million payroll -- the second lowest in baseball -- according to figures sent to major-league clubs in recent days by the commissioner's office.

Only the Florida Marlins spent less at $27 million. The AL champion Tampa Bay Rays were 28th at $51 million.

The New York Yankees finished 2008 with a record payroll of $222.5 million. The $75 million gap between the Yankees and the next-highest spender, the Boston Red Sox ($147.1 million), was more than the payroll of nine teams.

New York's luxury tax payment -- $26,862,702 -- was just $141,000 shy of the Florida Marlins' entire payroll.

The World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies were 10th at $112.7 million.

Cheap tickets

The Yankees said Tuesday that bleacher seats for the games against the Chicago Cubs on April 3 and 4 will go for 25 cents, while grandstand tickets will be $1.10. That matches the prices for the opener of the original Yankee Stadium against Boston on April 18, 1923.

Full season-ticket holders will get the seats for free, and those who bought partial season-tickets will be given a presale.

Burke remains with Mariners

Jamie Burke has returned to the Seattle Mariners after becoming a free agent, agreeing to a minor-league contract.

The 37-year-old backup catcher, trying to make the Mariners for a third season, was invited to major-league spring training.

Clemens update

Roger Clemens' former personal trainer filed paperwork preserving the right to sue the seven-time Cy Young Award winner in New York.

Brian McNamee, who told federal investigators that Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs, contends the pitcher defamed him after McNamee spoke to investigators for former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. The summons, filed in Queens Supreme Court last week, preserves McNamee's right to sue, Richard Emery, a lawyer for McNamee, said.

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