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Podsednik receives security in contract extension

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(Sports Network) - established himself as one of the premier rookies in the game last year and on Wednesday the Milwaukee rewarded the outfielder with a two-year contract extension through the 2006 season. The 28-year-old Podsednik had spent nine seasons in the minor leagues before getting his chance at a full-time job with the last season and he made the most of his opportunity. He received several accolades and finished as the runner-up to in NL Rookie of the Year voting last season.

"It's a warm feeling knowing that a team wants you around for a few more years," Podsednik said on Wednesday during a conference call. "I'm excited about what has gone on in my own career the past couple of years. I'm excited about what is going on with this organization the past year and where we're headed as a ball club."

Last year the suffered through a 68-94 record, their 11th straight losing season. However, Podsednik was one of the few bright spots on the team, as he became just the fourth major league rookie to hit at least .300, steal 40 bases and score 100 runs in the same season.

Podsednik believes he has a better supporting cast around him this year with the additions of , , , and . He's also positive about what manager Ned Yost has done for his success.

"I'm happy with the way this ball club has improved over the past couple of years," Podsednik said. "Ned Yost has come in and done an incredible job heading this club in the right direction. We've made some tremendous improvements the past year."

Podsednik, a native of Dallas, was selected by the Texas in the second round of the June Free Agent Draft in 1994. He would tarry for nearly nine years in the minors, going from the Gulf Coast League in 1994 to Tacoma in 2001, shortly after he was signed by the Seattle as a free agent.

The took a chance on Podsednik in 2002, claiming him off waivers. It turned out to be a great gamble.

"It was a long eight to nine-year grind throughout the minor leagues," Podsednik said. "I was dealt with a lot of struggles, a lot of injuries. It was just a matter of me going out and making those adjustments. I think I put too much stress on my body during the winters. I would break down."

Since his days in the minors, Podsednik has changed his off-season habits and he was able to play in 154 games last year. Up until that time he had played in only 19 major league games, five with Seattle in 2001 and 14 more with the in 2002.

"Last March I was battling for a spot with this club. Four to five months later they're talking about Rookie of the Year. Four to five months later I'm signing a two-year extension," Podsednik said. "I consider myself an impact player. I'm going to continue to stay hungry. I'm not satisfied with where I am as a ball player with the ability that I have. I think I can stay around and be an impact player for a long time in this league."

WHO'S HOT

Podsednik has swiped 15 consecutive bases dating back to last season, surpassing the National League record (14). The club record for consecutive steals is 17 by Hall of Famer Robin Yount in 1988-89.

is in the midst of a 159-game errorless streak which dates back to June 4, 2002 against the Chicago .

, who will start tonight's game against Cincinnati, has not walked a batter in his last 32 2/3 innings dating back to April 5 at St. Louis.

Over his last six games, first baseman is hitting .476 (10- for-21).

WHO'S NOT

has been moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen, as he's off to an 0-2 start with an 8.31 ERA in his first six games (5 starts). He allowed four hits and two runs in three relief innings on Tuesday night.

COMING UP

The will finish a three-game series at Cincinnati on Thursday before heading to New York this weekend to battle the in a three-game set.

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