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Spring Training Tickets On Sale Saturday

12.03.09 at 5:29 pm ET
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Just a reminder — amidst 70-degree, December temperatures in Boston — that spring training tickets for Red Sox home games in Fort Myers will go on sale on Saturday. Here is the Red Sox’ press release:

Tickets for all 2010 spring training home games at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Florida will go on sale on Saturday, December 5. The club also released an amended spring schedule with two additional games bringing the total up to 35 games, which includes 18 games at City of Palms Park.

Tickets will also be available beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 5 at the City of Palms Park box office, on www.redsox.com, or by calling 888-REDSOX6. Handicap accessible seating is also available by calling 877-REDSOX9. Hearing impaired patrons may call the TTY line at 617-226-6644.

Two additional split-squad games against the Houston Astros have been added to the spring schedule. The Red Sox will play the Astros at Kissimmee on Tuesday, March 16 at 1:05 p.m. with Houston visiting City of Palms Park for another contest on Sunday, March 21 at 1:05 p.m. The complete 2010 spring training schedule is attached.

2010 tickets will remain at the 2009 prices. This will mark the fourth time in five years that ticket prices for games at City of Palms Park have remained unchanged. Tickets for the Northeastern University and Boston College games will be half price.

The City of Palms Park box office will be open Saturday, December 5 from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 6 from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Beginning Monday, December 7, the Fort Myers box office and the Red Sox Team Store at City of Palms Park will be open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays, with the exception of December 26 and January 2 when both will be closed.

2010 SPRING TRAINING TICKET PRICES

Category Price

Standing Room $10.00

Lawn $12.00

Bleachers $15.00

Reserved Standing Room $15.00

Reserved Seats $23.00

Box Seats $26.00

Right Field Deck $26.00

Dugout Box’€”Row 2 $36.00

Dugout Box’€”Row 1 $40.00

Home Plate Box $46.00

All tickets are half-price for the games versus Boston College and Northeastern University.

2010 BOSTON RED SOX SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

(All Times Eastern and Subject to Change)

DATE OPPONENT SITE TIME/TV/Radio

Wednesday, March 3 Northeastern (SS) City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Wednesday, March 3 Boston College (SS) City of Palms Park 6:05 p.m.

Thursday, March 4 Minnesota Twins City of Palms Park 7:05 p.m.

Friday, March 5 Minnesota Twins Hammond Stadium 1:10 p.m.

Saturday, March 6 Minnesota Twins (SS) City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 6 Tampa Bay Rays (SS) Port Charlotte 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 7 Baltimore Orioles Sarasota 1:05 p.m.

Monday, March 8 St. Louis Cardinals City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday, March 9 Florida Marlins Jupiter 1:05 p.m.

Wednesday, March 10 Tampa Bay Rays City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Thursday, March 11 New York Mets Port St. Lucie 1:05 p.m.

Friday, March 12 St. Louis Cardinals Jupiter 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 13 Pittsburgh Pirates City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 14 Minnesota Twins Hammond Stadium 1:10 p.m.

Monday, March 15 Baltimore Orioles City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday, March 16 Houston Astros (SS) Kissimmee 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday, March 16 Tampa Bay Rays (SS) Port Charlotte 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday, March 17 New York Mets City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Thursday, March 18 Off Day

Friday, March 19 Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 20 Baltimore Orioles City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 21 Houston Astros (SS) City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 21 Toronto Blue Jays (SS) Dunedin 1:05 p.m.

Monday, March 22 Tampa Bay Rays City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday, March 23 Minnesota Twins Hammond Stadium 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday, March 24 Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton 1:05 p.m.

Thursday, March 25 Florida Marlins City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Friday, March 26 Toronto Blue Jays City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 27 Baltimore Orioles Sarasota 1:05 p.m.

Sunday, March 28 Minnesota Twins City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Monday, March 29 Tampa Bay Rays City of Palms Park 7:05 p.m.

Tuesday, March 30 Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte 1:05 p.m.

Wednesday, March 31 Baltimore Orioles Sarasota 1:05 p.m.

Thursday, April 1 Minnesota Twins City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Friday, April 2 Washington Nationals City of Palms Park 1:05 p.m.

Saturday, April 3 Washington Nationals Nationals Park TBA

(SS)’€”Split Squad Home Games at City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Florida

Report: Braves Sign Takashi Saito

12.03.09 at 2:58 pm ET
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According to CBSSports.com, free-agent reliever Takashi Saito is prepared to sign a one-year, $3 million deal with the Braves. The report suggests that the deal will be announced later today.

Saito spent the 2009 season with the Red Sox, after signing an incentive-laden deal with a base salary of $1.5 million. Saito remained healthy and pitched well, recording a 2.43 ERA in 56 games as a middle-innings reliever. In the process, he earned enough incentives to increase the value of his deal to $6 million.

The Red Sox were interested in bringing Saito back to Boston, and the pitcher (who will turn 40 on Valentine’s Day) was interested in remaining with the Sox. However, it appears that the Braves were able to make a more attractive offer.

The Braves have now signed a pair of relievers who finished 2009 with the Sox, having also inked reliever Billy Wagner to a one-year, $7 million deal.

Read More: billy wagner, Braves, Takashi Saito,

Report: M’s Making ‘Concerted Push’ for Bay

12.03.09 at 1:17 pm ET
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According to a report in the Seattle Times, the Mariners are making a “concerted push” for free-agent outfielder Jason Bay. The paper suggests that while the Mariners have some concerns about both Bay’s outfield defense as well as the potential impact of Safeco Field on his offensive production, his presence as an impact middle-of-the-order bat might allow them to surmount those concerns. It is worth noting that Mariners left fielders had, far and away, the worst OPS of any club in baseball at that position (.609), and that the Sox led the majors in that category with a .913 OPS that was largely due to Bay’s performance.

The report (by Mariners beat writer Geoff Baker) goes on to suggest, “I’ve heard from folks in the Seattle area that Bay (who lives in Kirkland) has been telling people he’s optimistic about signing here.”

In the past, Bay has expressed interest in playing in Seattle, given his roots (and current residence) in the Pacific Northwest.

Bay’s agent, Joe Urbon, told WEEI.com in an email earlier this week that while he is in dialogue with other clubs, “the Red Sox have remained in contact with me and I see no reason why that communication won’t continue.”

Read More: jason bay, Mariners,

Lowell open to time at first base

12.03.09 at 8:39 am ET
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Although he said the Red Sox have not contacted him about preparing to play some first base in 2010, Mike Lowell said Wednesday night that he isn’t averse to the idea.

“I wouldn’t rule it out, absolutely not,” he said. “I’m a realist. If they think that makes us a better defensive team, that’s fine. I don’t have a major problem with that. I would have to work on it. I think Triple A was probably the last time I played first. I played for about three or four games. But that doesn’t mean I think I can’t do it. But I haven’t been asked.”

Lowell won the Gold Glove in 2005 while playing third base for the Florida Marlins. The only other position he has played in his major league career other than third has been second base, where he played nine games in ’05. As Lowell referenced, the only time he has played first base in his professional baseball career came when he manned the spot for four games with Triple A Columbus in 1998.

Check back later Thursday morning for more from Lowell.

Hudson also drawing interest from Sox

12.03.09 at 1:06 am ET
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The list gets longer by the day — middle infielders who the Red Sox are kicking the tires on.

The likes of Adam Everett, Mark DeRosa, and Adam Kennedy are all names that have surfaced in the last few days as players the Red Sox have at least called about. And then, Wednesday night, MLB.com’s Ian Browne was the first to report that the Sox had also inquired about Placido Polanco, who, according to a source, was close to signing a deal to become the Phillies’ third baseman as Thursday approached.

So, who’s next? According to a major league source one name to add to the list is Orlando Hudson.

Like Polanco, Hudson is a Type A free agent who wasn’t offered arbitration by his team, which, in the 31-year-old’s case was the Los Angeles Dodgers. That was of some importance when evaluating the Red Sox’ interest, as they wouldn’t have to surrender a draft pick if a deal was struck.

Hudson, who has never played any other position but second base in his eight-year big league career, would only fit in the Red Sox’ plans if they made the move of playing Dustin Pedroia at short. It should also be noted that the Red Sox have shown interest in the smooth-fielding Hudson, who played four seasons in Toronto, three with Arizona, and last year with the Dodgers.

In 149 games with LA last season, Hudson batted .283, while winning his fourth Gold Glove in the past five seasons.

It still appears shortstop Marco Scutaro remains a top priority for the Red Sox. Scutaro, who was offered salary arbitration by the Blue Jays and would cost a draft pick if he is signed, turned down a two-year deal. It should be noted that such an offer by the Jays suggests that Toronto had no fears that the plantar fasciitis injury the infielder suffered at the end of the ’09 season was a concern for the future.

Hot Stove Live Chat

12.03.09 at 12:05 am ET
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Join WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, Alex Speier, and Lou Merloni talking all things Hot Stove, Thursday at noon. Bring your questions and comments regarding baseball’s offseason as the Winter Meetings reside just a few days away.

Hot Stove Live Chat

Red Sox to fill McLeod’s spot from within

12.02.09 at 10:18 pm ET
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Jason McLeod is headed home.

The man who once played high school basketball against Junior Seau is going back to work in Southern California to become the assistant general manager for the San Diego Padres after serving as the Red Sox‘ amateur scouting director since November 2004. It is a return to the Padres for McLeod, who worked in various positions with the Padres from 1994-03. He is a native of San Diego, having attended high school at Rancho Buena Vista.

The Red Sox will fill McLeod’s position with an internal candidate. One potential candidate is 31-year-old assistant director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye.

McLeod was largely responsible for the influx of young talent on the Red Sox over the last five years. Current players on the Red Sox major league roster he helped draft include Dustin Pedroia, Jed Lowrie, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard.

Pedroia on playing shortstop

12.02.09 at 12:38 pm ET
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Before the report came out on ESPN.com that Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox were keeping their options open in regard to the Gold Glove second baseman moving over to shortstop, he talked about the potential switch on the Mut and Bradford Show, Saturday.

“There would have be probably 100 things for that to happen, but I feel like I could,” he said.

Click Here to listen to the portion of Pedroia’s weekly segment where he talks about potentially playing shortstop.

Also, for more on how Pedroia might fare over at shorstop, read Alex Speier’s story, ‘Could He Do It?’

Read More: Dustin Pedroia,

Red Sox Contact DeRosa, Kennedy

12.02.09 at 12:23 pm ET
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According to baseball sources, the Red Sox continue their aggressive explorations of the infield market.

The Sox are one of five or six teams that has expressed interest in the versatile Adam Kennedy, who spent last year with the Oakland Athletics, hitting .289 with a .348 OBP, .758 OPS and 11 homers and 20 steals in the 33-year-old’s best season since 2005. (News of the contact with Kennedy was first reported by the Boston Herald.) Interest in Kennedy has been either as a second baseman or as a utility player who can play around the infield and in corner outfield spots. As a left-handed hitter with an opposite field stroke, Kennedy would seem to have a swing with a Fenway affinity, a notion backed by his career .395 average, .438 OBP and 1.061 OPS in 161 career plate appearances in Boston.

In 2009, Kennedy spent 82 games at third base and 50 at second. According to UZR/150 (Ultimate Zone Rating over 150 games, a statistic on Fangraphs.com that measures how many runs a player saves with his defense compared to an average fielder at a position), though Kennedy rated as having been -14.8 runs per 150 games over a small sample at second last year, he has been a well above-average fielder at second base throughout his career. His third-base defense last year also graded poorly. The John Dewan Plus/Minus ratings told a similar story, suggesting that Kennedy made 10 fewer plays than the average second baseman and seven fewer plays than the average third baseman in 2009, but that in each of the previous five years, Kennedy had been average to well above average at second base.

Conversations between Kennedy and the Red Sox were characterized as preliminary, with no formal offer as part of the expression of interest. He concluded a three-year, $10 million deal this year. Kennedy would likely seem a better fit for the Sox if the team did have second baseman Dustin Pedroia move to shortstop. He is believed to be a less expensive alternative to the other top second basemen (Orlando Hudson, Placido Polanco, Felipe Lopez) on the market.

The Sox also expressed preliminary interest in similarly versatile infielder Mark DeRosa, who spent 2009 with the Indians and Cardinals. DeRosa, who received an arbitration offer from St. Louis as a Type B free agent (meaning that if another team signs him, there would be no draft-pick compensation involved), saw his average (.250) and OBP (.319) fall to four-year lows, though he hit a career high 23 homers. The average and OBP declines can be explained partially by bad luck on batting average on balls in play (his .282 BABIP was well below his career norm of .311), though his strikeout rate went up and his walk rate declined by notable amounts.

The 34-year-old was primarily a third baseman for the Cards and Indians in 2009, grading as below average in both Plus/Minus (-12 plays) and UZR/150 (-8.7 runs/150 games) at the position. He also spent time at first and second bases and in left and right fields. He was primarily a second baseman in 2008, however, when he graded as below average (-15.9 UZR/150, -8 Plus/Minus).

At this point, one talent evaluator described him as better suited for the corners; if the Sox agree, then DeRosa would more likely be considered an alternative to Mike Lowell or Casey Kotchman should the Sox elect to part with either, rather than as an everyday second baseman who would allow Pedroia to move to short.

Read More: adam kennedy, Casey Kotchman, Dustin Pedroia, mark derosa

Report: Billy Wagner Signs With Braves

12.02.09 at 2:38 am ET
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That didn’t take long.

Just hours after the Red Sox made official their offer of salary arbitration to reliever Billy Wagner, FoxSports.com reported that the left-hander, whom the Red Sox acquired in August, agreed to terms on a one-year, $7 million deal to close for the Atlanta Braves. The preliminary agreement would require Wagner to undergo a physical on Wednesday.

The development is a significant one for the Red Sox. Because Wagner is a Type A free agent who declined arbitration to sign with another club, the Sox will get additional compensation draft picks next year, one that could be as high as the No. 20 overall pick (depending on whether Atlanta signs another Type A free agent), as well as a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of the draft. That, in turn, could represent the highest Red Sox draft pick since 2003, when the team took outfielder David Murphy with the No. 17 overall pick. The sandwich pick, meanwhile, will be no worse than the No. 43 overall selection in next year’s draft.

Wagner had a 1.98 ERA in 15 games for the Red Sox. He struck out 22 batters in 13.2 regular-season innings, adding a dominant left-handed arm to the Boston bullpen. That said, part of the reason why he was acquired from the Mets in exchange for first baseman/outfielder Chris Carter and catcher Eddie Lora was because of the prospect of receiving the draft picks. To the Sox, the possibility of acquiring two high picks — accompanied by the promise of getting the services of one of the best closers in major-league history — made it more than palatable to pick up the last $3.5 million of Wagner’s 2009 salary (a number that included the $1 million buy-out of his 2010 option).

Read More: arbitration, billy wagner, Braves,
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