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Red Sox Make Atchison Signing Official

12.07.09 at 3:55 pm ET
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The Red Sox just issued a press release announcing the signing of pitcher Scott Atchison to a one-year deal that includes team options for the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The release is below:

BOSTON, MA ‘€” The Boston Red Sox today signed right-handed pitcher Scott Atchison to a non-guaranteed one-year contract with two club options.

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.

Atchison, 33, spent the 2008-09 seasons pitching for the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’€™s Central League. He compiled a 12-9 record with a 2.77 ERA (60 ER/194.2 IP), 166 strikeouts and 46 walks in 117 career relief outings with the Tigers. The right-hander tallied a 1.70 ERA (17 ER/90.0 IP) while going 5-3 in 75 games with Hanshin during the 2009 campaign.

Selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 49th round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, Atchison has made 53 career Major League relief appearances over parts of three seasons with the Mariners (2004-05) and San Francisco Giants (2007). He is 2-3 in those contests with a 4.10 ERA (31 ER/68.0 IP), 70 strikeouts and 25 walks. Atchison’€™s last season in the United States came for the Giants organization in 2007. He posted a 4.11 ERA (14 ER/30.2 IP) in 22 outings with San Francisco and was 3-2 with four saves and a 2.01 ERA (12 ER/53.2 IP) in 38 appearances at Triple-A Fresno.

The Red Sox 40-man roster is now at 35.

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Matsuzaka Heading to API

12.07.09 at 3:52 pm ET
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Daisuke Matsuzaka will begin an offseason conditioning program at Athletes’ Performance on Tuesday. He is slated to spend a couple of weeks there, return to Japan, then come back to Arizona to continue the program in January.

The right-hander, who butted heads with the Red Sox when he landed on the disabled list this year due to shoulder fatigue, was described by manager Terry Francona as being in excellent shape, and appears to have embraced a more rigorous workout and conditioning program than he had been inclined to follow in previous offseasons since coming to Major League Baseball for the 2007 season.

“His weight is actually lower than it was when the season was over,” said Francona. “We’ve been through so much. He knows how we feel. We know how he feels. We just really want him to be good.

“Maybe what happened — at the time, it wasn’t a lot of fun. Sometimes, when things happen, how you move forward is really important. We kind of put the gloves down and told him how we felt. He told us. I think it was really good for everybody. We probably had gotten to the point where we needed to have pretty direct conversations.”

Read More: athletes performance, Daisuke Matsuzaka,

Cox talks once and future(?) Sox relievers

12.07.09 at 3:33 pm ET
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It seems as though the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox have a lot in common when it comes to their bullpen needs this off season. The Braves added Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito and the Red Sox may have interest in Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. Bobby Cox wasn’t the least bit concerned about the health issues of both former Sox relievers.

“Billy Wagner is our closer, no matter what.”  When asked whether he would have to keep a close eye on how he uses him, Cox once again brushed it off,” No, after talking to him, we have no concerns about his health.”  When it came to Takashi Saito, Cox again showed great confidence that Takashi’s past arm problems are exactly that, in the past, “He stayed out of the training room all year”.

I know that Saito remained relatively healthy all year,  but that was only because of the way the Sox used him. Bobby and the Braves should be careful with both. I also asked Bobby about the two relievers that the Braves are playin the waiting game on.

It’s believed that Mike Gonzalez will not be accepting arbitration, but there are mixed reports out their on Rafael Soriano. When asked how he felt about the duo, Bobby was extremely complimentary. “Both are closers in my mind. If not, they would be the best set up guys in the world.”  I asked him why they would sign Wagner, A type A free agent, and give up the draft pick when they had two “closers” already in Gonzalez and Soriano,” We needed to get our ducks in a row. Wags was looking for a one-year deal and we believe that Soriano and Gonzo are looking for two or three years.”

Rumor Mill at this hour: 3 p.m.

12.07.09 at 3:04 pm ET
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ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes is reporting that though John Henry is high on Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, the Red Sox might not have the pieces — major league-ready prospects — to get a potential deal done.

Buster Olney is reporting that Brad Penny is still in contact with the Giants, though he is still close to a pact with the Cardinals.

Joel Sherman is reporting that the Mets are persuing Josh Willingham and Juan Rivera via trade rather than making a play for Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. WEEI.com’s Alex Speier has reported that the Nationals are reluctant to part with Willingham, citing Washington manager Jim Riggelman. The Angels were rumored earlier in the day to be dangling Rivera to make room for a potential signing of Bay.

After a season in which he hit .283 with 20 homers, Marlon Byrd is expected to decline arbitration. Asked by MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan whether he would accept the Rangers’ offer, Byrd replied “I don’t think so.” Byrd is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal.

If you’re willing to believe everything you hear, start customizing your Edwin Jackson Mets jersey. Ed Price from AOL Fanhouse has tweeted that a rumor is circulating regarding the 26-year old that had been rumored to be on his way out of Detroit. Ken Davidoff says a Mets official has denied that the team has acquired Jackson,

Read More: edwin jackson, Marlon Byrd, Mets, Rumor Mill

Daisuke starts in Arizona tomm.

12.07.09 at 2:30 pm ET
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INDIANAPOLIS — Just ran into Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell who said that Daisuke Matsuzaka will be starting his workouts at Athletes Performance in Phoenix Tuesday. The hurler is scheduled to spend two weeks at the facility before heading back to Japan, and then will return to Arizona in January.

As for the rest of the Red Sox’ staff, the pitchers are scheduled to begin their throwing program on Dec. 15. The only one, by Farrell’s estimation, who has gotten a jump-start on things is reliever Hideki Okajima, who just left Hawaii for Japan and will do the majority of his January training in Australia.

Another interesting note comes from somebody in the Toronto organization, who said that Marco Scutaro’s offensive success in 2009 can at least somewhat be traced back to the end of ’08. The Blue Jays coaches saw that Scutaro was hitting the ball with more authority and using a better overall approach on two-strike counts, seemingly because he widened his stance when getting in that kind of hole. They encouraged the shortstop to use the wider stance all the time, and the results were immediate, as was first evidenced in the World Baseball Classic.

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Nationals Relucant to Trade Willingham

12.07.09 at 2:20 pm ET
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The Red Sox have long been rumored to have interest in outfielder Josh Willingham, a corner outfielder who exhibits both power and patience. If the team does not sign either Jason Bay or Matt Holliday in free agency, Willingham — who hit .260 with a .367 OBP, .863 OPS, 24 homers and 61 RBIs in 133 games last year for the Nationals, could be an intriguing target.

Even so, Nationals manager Jim Riggelman made clear that Washington is far from eager to move the 30-year-old, who won’t be available in free agency until after the 2012 season.

“He’s not just a good player, he’s a great person,” said Riggelman. “Tough guy. All man. … He’s big in our lineup. When you have a guy like him, he fits a lot of teams’ needs. We don’t have any desire to move Willingham — believe me. But he’s a guy a lot of teams call about, because he doesn’t have an exorbitant salary ($2.95 million in 2009). … Teams are going to be interested in him. My guess is that he’ll be our left fielder. Again, if between now and opening day a team overwhelms us, you’d have to listen.”

Riggelman did say that he planned to give Willingham more rest next season. The outfielder wore down in the later phases of the season. After he hit .307/.415/.588/1.003 through Aug. 18, he hit .153/.253/.290/.543 over his last 38 games.

Read More: josh willingham, Rumor Mill,

A Bit About New Red Sox Pitcher Scott Atchison

12.07.09 at 2:14 pm ET
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As was first reported this morning by FoxSports.com, the Red Sox have signed pitcher Scott Atchison away from the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League. Atchison, 33, is said to have shown improvement since going to Japan, with a fastball in the low-90s and a usable slider. He signed a one-year, major-league deal that includes options for 2011 and 2012. He does have a minor-league option remaining, so he could be used in the minors. He recorded a 1.70 ERA in 90 bullpen innings for Hanshin last year.

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Rumor Mill at this hour: 2 p.m.

12.07.09 at 2:04 pm ET
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles will meet with the representatives for Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman this week.

Giving more of a backbone to what was initially reported by Ken Rosenthal, Buster Olney is reporting that the Padres are “not expected to tender” starter Kevin Correia a contract. Correia went 12-11 with a 3.91 ERA for the Padres in 2009.

Edwin Jackson is as good as gone from Detroit, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The tweet says that is “close” to trading Jackson and that a deal could be done “as early as today,” though he doesn’t say where the 26-year-old might be headed. Nightengale also notes that Tigers are still hopeful that they will move Curtis Granderson this week.

Read More: aroldis chapman, Curtis Granderson, edwin jackson, Kevin Correia

Rumor Mill: Angels talking with Bay

12.07.09 at 1:38 pm ET
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According to SI’s Tracy Ringolsby, the Angels have begun negotiations with Jason Bay. Ringolsby notes that the Angels prefer Bay to Matt Holliday and that “Boston officials are becoming concerned” with their chances of retaining their left fielder.

Read More: jason bay, Rumor Mill,

Rumor Mill: Mariners not pushing for Bay?

12.07.09 at 1:14 pm ET
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Buster Olney is reporting that the Mariners, once considered favorites to sign free agent outfielder Jason Bay, are now unlikely to pursue the 31-year old. This Orange County Register post is just one of many to suggest that Bay wanted to play in Seattle, but with the club having already signed Chone Figgins and given their negotiations with Felix Hernandez and Russell Branyan, it may come down to a lack of resources.

Bay hit .267 / .384 / .537 with 36 homers and 119 RBI for the Red Sox in 2009.

Read More: jason bay, Rumor Mill,
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