ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Free agent first baseman Shea Hillenbrand and the Los Angeles Angels agreed Tuesday to a $6.5 million, one-year contract.

Hillenbrand, who split last season between Toronto and San Francisco, gets $6 million next year, and the Angels hold a $6.5 million for 2008 with a $500,000 buyout. The option could become guaranteed based on his plate appearances next season.

Before the deal is finalized, Hillenbrand must pass a physical.

The Angels also said outfielder Juan Rivera will have surgery Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on his broken left leg. There was no word on how long he will be out.

The 31-year-old Hillenbrand hit a combined .277, with a career-high 21 home runs and 68 RBIs in 141 games last season. He finished with 73 runs and 27 doubles.

He batted .301 and hit 12 homers for the Blue Jays before being designated for assignment July 19.

Hillenbrand wrote “play for yourself” on a board the Blue Jays use to post batting practice times and “ship was sinking” before manager John Gibbons challenged him to a fight during a team meeting.

He was traded to the Giants on July 21 for pitchers Vinnie Chulk and Jeremy Accardo, and hit .248 with nine homers in 60 games with San Francisco. An All-Star in 2002 and 2005, Hillenbrand has a .287 career average, with 104 homers and 1,482 RBIs.

Rivera was injured Friday during a winter league game in Venezuela.

Last season, he had career highs in average (.310), runs (65), hits (139), home runs (23) and RBIs (85).

AP-ES-12-26-06 1802EST


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