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11/01/08 7:37 PM EST

Rays' Hinske declares for free agency

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays' Eric Hinske filed for free agency on Saturday, the third day that eligible players could officially declare their intentions to test the market.

The 31-year-old utility player entered Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, but managed to crack the lineup as the Opening Day right fielder and remained with the team the entire season.

Hinske hit .247 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs in 133 games for the Rays in 2008, his highest homer total since belting 24 in his rookie season of 2002 with the Blue Jays.

He got off to a hot start for the Rays this season, hitting five home runs in March and April and he led the club in home runs as late as June 24.

Hinske has a .254 career average with 105 home runs and 399 RBIs in seven Major League seasons.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.