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Torii Hunter eyeing Orioles, Rangers, Mariners, Twins

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

There have been a lot of teams tied to Torii Hunter this offseason.

On Saturday, he might've narrowed his list to four.

Standing outside the Notre Dame football locker room, waiting for his son after the game against Southern California, Hunter told reporter Mark Whickler of the Orange County register that he's looking at the Orioles, Rangers, Mariners and Twins.

Interestingly, Hunter didn't mention the Royals, a team that figured to be in the mix since losing free-agent designated hitter Billy Butler to the A's.

The Orioles might view Hunter as a backup plan if they lose Nelson Cruz, the Rangers need to replace Alex Rios and might want to replace Mitch Moreland, and the Mariners always seem to be looking for more offense.

As for the Twins, the team with whom Hunter got his start and became a star, they've been very open publicly about a possible reunion, particularly with Hunter, who, at 39, could provide some much-needed veteran presence in a clubhouse of kids.

Hunter played the last two seasons with the Tigers, but Detroit is moving on after re-signing Victor Martinez to a four-year, $68-million deal.

Hunter played almost exclusively in right field with the Tigers, but the nine-time Gold Glove winner's defense slipped dramatically in 2014, and Detroit could only see a scenario where Hunter would play some DH. With Martinez back, that option went out the window.

He got a two-year, $26-million deal to play with the Tigers, and had two good offensive seasons, at least in the power and slugging department.

Hunter, who briefly pondered retirement after the Tigers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Orioles, likely will be playing on a one-year contract in 2015, for a bit less than his annual salary with the Tigers.

In the meantime, he'll continue to cheer on his son, Torii Jr., a wide receiver for Notre Dame, which is going to a bowl game after finishing the regular season 7-5. The Fighting Irish lost to USC, 49-14, in California on Saturday. Torii Jr. played in eight games this season, catching one touchdown pass.