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Reds among trio pursuing Hairston

Reds among trio pursuing Hairston

LAS VEGAS -- Activity has picked up lately surrounding free agent infielder/outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr.

A baseball source told MLB.com that three teams, including the Reds, have shown serious interest in signing Hairston. It's possible that he could reach a deal with a team before the end of the Winter Meetings.

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Hairston was spotted walking through the Bellagio where the Winter Meetings are being held.

The Reds held talks with Hairston's agent, Casey Close, on Monday, but no negotiations with Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty came on Tuesday. Hairston is expected to return home to Arizona on Wednesday morning.

It's not known who is pursuing Hairston besides the Reds. Earlier this offseason, the Phillies were also believed to have interest.

Hairston is one of three free agents the Reds have sought to re-sign. The other two were relievers David Weathers and Mike Lincoln. Weathers agreed to arbitration on Sunday and Lincoln signed a two-year, $4 million contract last week.

By batting .326 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 80 games last season, Hairston revived what had been a stalled career. He was signed by the Reds in March as a free agent to a Minor League deal and started the season in Triple-A Louisville.

Hairston played six different positions for the Reds in 2008 but also missed 44 games over three stints on the disabled list. Cincinnati was 25-19 in games when he was the leadoff hitter.

Mark Sheldon 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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