By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Two people familiar with the negotiations say free-agent outfielder Jay Bruce is set to return to the New York Mets after agreeing to a $39 million, three-year contract.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday night because the deal is pending a physical and no announcement had been made.
A three-time All-Star, Bruce batted a combined .254 with 36 home runs and 101 RBIs for the Mets and Cleveland Indians last season. After falling out of playoff contention, New York traded him to the AL Central champions on Aug. 9 for minor league pitcher Ryder Ryan.
Bruce, who turns 31 on April 3, fills a hole in the outfield and brings back some much-needed proven power to a Mets team trying to rebound from an injury-ravaged 70-92 season. His return in right field likely means Michael Conforto is ticketed for center once he recovers from shoulder surgery.
Terms of the agreement were first reported by ESPN.
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