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Source: Astros reach agreement with Bill Hall

12.17.10 at 3:13 pm ET
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A baseball source confirmed that the Astros have reached an agreement with free agent Bill Hall to be their regular second baseman. The news was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com (via twitter), who said that the deal is for $3 million deal and includes a mutual option for the 2011 season.

Hall, who turns 31 later this month, spent this year as a utility man for the Sox, hitting .247/.316/.456/.772 with 18 homers and 46 RBI in 119 games. With his performance, Hall hoped to prove that he was ready to return to everyday duty as a free agent.

‘€œObviously, I do want to be an everyday player again,” he said during the season. “I feel like I’€™ve got a lot of baseball left in me. I’€™m not on my last legs. I’€™m just 30.”

His performance in Boston as a versatile player who appeared at every position except for catcher and first base led the baseball world to reach the same conclusion, resulting in his agreement to terms with the Astros.

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Red Sox still talking to Dan Wheeler, not engaged with Brian Fuentes

12.17.10 at 2:45 pm ET
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According to industry sources, the Red Sox continue to have conversations with right-hander Dan Wheeler about a potential deal to bring the Rhode Island native to Boston, but the team is not focused on left-hander Brian Fuentes.

Wheeler, 33, who was drafted out of Pilgrim High School in Warwick (R.I.), has been with the Tampa Bay Rays since the middle of the 2007 season, when he was acquired from the Astros in a trade for Ty Wigginton. Wheeler had a 3.35 ERA in 48 1/3 innings in 2010, and he struck out 8.6 batters per nine innings. However, his innings total was the lowest of his professional career, and he has seen his workload go down in each of the last three years. Over his last three full seasons with the Rays, he has a 3.24 ERA while striking out 7.5 batters per nine innings, while walking 2.5 batters per nine.

Fuentes was seen as a likely subject of Red Sox interest this offseason, coming off a year when he had a 2.81 ERA and 8.8 strikeouts per nine innings for the Angels and Twins. Over the last three years, most of which he spent as a closer, Fuentes had a 3.15 ERA and 9.5 punchouts per nine innings.

He missed time twice during the 2010 season due to back woes, resulting in his lowest innings tally since 2004. Still, he was very sharp down the stretch, tossing 9 2/3 innings for the Twins without allowing an earned run. He held opponents to a .181 average and .607 OPS in 2010, and dominated lefties to the tune of a .128 average and .371 OPS.

But, after the Sox’ reported two-year deal with Bobby Jenks, the team’s appetite for multi-year deals for middle relievers may have been exhausted, despite an AOL FanHouse report that the Sox and Yankees are engaged in a fight for the left-hander’s services.

Read More: brian fuentes, dan wheeler, Hot Stove,

Red Sox spring training tickets on sale Jan. 8

12.17.10 at 11:47 am ET
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The Red Sox announced that they will put spring training tickets on sale on Sat., Jan. 8, at the City of Palms Park box office, on the team website and by phone at 888-REDSOX6. Handicap accessible seating is also available by calling 877-REDSOX9. Hearing impaired patrons may call the TTY line at 617-226-6644.

Those in Fort Myers can take part in a number of events at City of Palms Park from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Six pitchers sign minor league deals with Red Sox

12.16.10 at 7:18 pm ET
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In addition to their decision to re-sign lefty Andrew Miller to a minor league deal, the Red Sox announced the signings Thursday of five other free agents to 2011 minor league contracts, a group that includes former Sox reliever Lenny DiNardo ‘€” a deal that was reported by WEEI.com on Wednesday.

In addition to Miller and DiNardo, Boston inked southpaws Rich Hill and Randy Williams, as well as right-handed pitchers Clevelan Santeliz and Ryan Harvey. Hill, Miller, Williams and Santeliz have also been invited to Boston’€™s major league spring training camp as non-roster players.  All of the free agents have been placed on the Triple-A Pawtucket roster.

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Red Sox re-sign Andrew Miller, sign Matt Albers, trade Eric Patterson

12.16.10 at 5:23 pm ET
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The Red Sox took two steps toward shoring up their bullpen Thursday, while also completing the trade for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

According to a major league source, the Sox have re-signed lefty Andrew Miller, whom they originally acquired from the Marlins in exchange for Dustin Richardson. Miller was non-tendered by the Red Sox in Nov., allowing the 25-year-old to become a free agent. He is expected to compete for a spot in the Red Sox’ bullpen.

The Red Sox also made the signing of reliever Matt Albers official, announcing they have inked the 27-year-old to a one-year deal. Alberts, a righty, went 5-3 with a 4.52 ERA in a career-high 62 appearances with the Orioles in 2010. Albers tossed more than one inning on 25 occasions  in ’10, tops among American League relievers.

Another move made by the Sox was trading utilityman Eric Patterson to the Padres to complete the Dec. 6 deal for Gonzalez. Patterson had been acquired by the Red Sox on June 26 of last season from the A’s, going on to hit .226 with two homers in 45 games. Between Oakland and Boston, Patterson established career highs in games played (90), at-bats (187), runs (26), hits (40), doubles (8), triples (5), home runs (6), RBI (16), and stolen bases (11) over the course of the ’10 season.

The team also re-signed Rich Hill, who pitched six innings for the team last season.

Additionally,they announced the signing of lefty reliever Randy Williams, who pitched 27 innings with a 5.40 ERA for the and White Sox last season, and right-handers Clevelan Santeliz and Ryan Harvey.

Harvey was the sixth overall pick by the Cubs in the 2003 draft. The team drafted him as an outfielder, but he never made it past Double-A.

For more Red Sox news, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

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Mariano Rivera says Red Sox interest ‘was real’

12.16.10 at 4:20 pm ET
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Speaking to MLB.com at Yankee Stadium Thursday, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said in regard to the Red Sox‘ interest when the 41-year-old was a free agent this offseason, “It was real.”

Rivera told MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez that he didn’t have any face-to-face discussions with the Red Sox. Sources told WEEI.com that Rivera’s representatives initiated conversations for the reliever, who ultimately agreed to a two-year, $30 million deal with New York.

“[I] made sure that I thanked them, because they took me into consideration,” Rivera said. “But, again, this is business, and the Yankees did the right thing. And I’m here.”

While Rivera did say he believed the Red Sox’ interest to be genuine, he also noted that there wasn’t a strong likelihood he would end up pitching for the Sox.

“I don’t think so. I don’t think the Yankees will allow that to happen,” Rivera said. “I just had to make sure that I had a job, and the Yankees did that.”

To read the entire report, click here.

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Reports: Bobby Jenks agrees to two-year, $12 million deal with Red Sox

12.16.10 at 3:02 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, the Red Sox have agreed to terms with free agent right-handed relief pitcher Bobby Jenks. The 29-year-old was non-tendered by the White Sox following the season and became a free agent. As a result, the Red Sox will not lose any draft picks for signing Jenks. ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting Jenks’ deal with the Red Sox is for two years and $12 million and that it is pending a physical. Jon Heyman of SI.com was the first to report the agreement.

A two-time All-Star closer, Jenks has had at least 40 saves twice in his six-year career. He had 27 last season for the White Sox, while striking out 61 batters in 52 2/3 innings. He posted a 4.44 earned run average and a 1.36 WHIP. He dealt with forearm and back pain in his final season in Chicago.

Olney’s source notes that Jenks will be a set-up man for the Sox next season and that he has been told he will be a candidate to take over as closer in 2012 “after Jonathan Papelbon is replaced.” The Sox also have Daniel Bard as an option.

For more on the Red Sox, visit their team page at weei.com/redsox.

Tom Werner on D&C: ‘I thought Christmas came early’ when Lee signed with Phillies

12.16.10 at 1:07 pm ET
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Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday morning to talk about the busy offseason and the new faces in Boston, as well as the Home Base Program, a partnership the organization and Mass. General Hospital are heavily involved in that helps improve the lives of veterans who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The program helps veterans live with combat-related stress and/or traumatic brain injury.

‘€œWe came back from one of our trips to Walter Reed, and it’€™s just when you see these heroes coming back from the war, and you find out the amount of military men and women who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, it’€™s just, it’€™s something that we felt in Boston, if we could team up with Mass. General to create a new clinic with a way to service families and do some cutting-edge research, that we could actually do our part.’€

To hear the entire interview with Werner, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

You and the rest of the Red Sox organization are getting heavily involved in the Home Base Program. Of all the charities to come knocking at your door, why choose this one?

Well we actually, we did the knocking in this case, as you guys probably know. We came back from one of our trips to Walter Reed, and it’€™s just when you see these heroes coming back from the war, and you find out the amount of military men and women who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, it’€™s just, it’€™s something that we felt in Boston, if we could team up with Mass. General to create a new clinic with a way to service families and do some cutting-edge research, that we could actually do our part.

I’€™ll just quote what Tim Wakefield and Dustin Pedroia said to me about it, which is, ‘€œThey served us, it’€™s now our turn to serve them.’€ And when you talk to Bob and Eric, I’€™m very close to Eric, I mean these men are heroes, and we have to do our part. They really performed valiantly for us, and it’€™s our job, when they come back, if they’€™ve got injuries, we’€™ve got to take care of them. So I think you guys know about the run. I think Gerry, you’€™re going to participate this year, right?

Yeah, I feel better now, because I think I can beat Bob, it’€™s just my guess.

Last year there were over 2,000 runners who ran it, and I came in 2,004. I’€™m challenging you to at least beat me this year.

In this economic climate, underfunding is a term we hear a lot. But that’€™s what this race is about, helping with some of the funding.

Well we raised $2.5 million for this program last year, and that was in our first year. I think more than 2,000 people ran. It was a great experience; you start at Fenway Park, you run around Boston and you touch home plate at the end. There were 10,000-15,000 people on to cheer them. We had a special part for the military: Gen. Casey shook hands with all the people when they crossed the finish line. So it was a great day, so people had fun, and more importantly I think they helped what I think is an important cause. ‘€¦ And before we end, I just want to tip my hat to Eric and Bob for coming on today.

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Read More: adrian gonzalez, Boston Red Sox, carl crawford, Hot Stove

Thanks to airport chaos, Dustin Pedroia sprints for first time since surgery

12.16.10 at 8:36 am ET
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Appearing on The Big Show Wednesday afternoon, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia explained how an airport mix-up allowed him to sprint on his surgically-repaired left foot for the first time since the operation.

Traveling back from vacation with his family, along with the family of Dodgers’ outfielder Andre Ethier, Pedroia was having a difficult time getting his entire group through customs, making it difficult to make its flight on time.

“They wanted me, who just got cleared to jog, to sprint to the gate, which is on the other side of the airport, to hold the plane up,” Pedroia said. “So I’m sprinting, testing out my foot with my shoelaces untied, holding my 30-pound son — by the way, my foot felt phenomenal — sprinting through the airport, and I get to the gate, and I’m like, ‘Ma’am, did the flight leave?’ She said, ‘I’m going to give you three minutes.’ I’m like, ‘There’s no way.’ Andre’s kid is a little bigger than [Pedroia’s son] Dylan and he’s running everywhere. Two seconds later, the pilot comes off the plane and goes, ‘We’ve got a situation.’ I thought, ‘Jeez, now we’re definitely staying here.’

“She pulls off this couple. Some woman was beating the [expletive] out of her husband on the plane. They pull those two off. This guy has a bloody face. He must have smarted off or something. The flight was delayed 30 minutes, and we got to get on the flight. I almost high-fived everybody. It was awesome.”

“It was out of control. We ended up getting on. I was more pumped my foot felt good from sprinting with a 30-pound kid on me. We got on the flight. I was pumped. It was a good day.”

Asked how the foot felt after the unexpected exercise, Pedroia came away optimistic.

“I woke up and wanted to go run more, but I’ve got to kind of take it easy,” he said. “But it was fun.”

Pedroia also talked about where he might hit in the lineup now the Red Sox have added first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

“I actually texted Tito [Francona],” he said. “I said, ‘€˜Tito, I’€™ve been with the Red Sox four years now, and this might be the first time you have to manage. You might have to think about the lineup you’€™re going to throw out there.’€™

“I don’€™t think it matters. I texted Carl a little bit. I don’€™t care where I hit. He doesn’€™t care. Neither does Ells. We want to win. The more good players we have, the better off our team is going to be.”

To listen to the interview, click here. For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Another one bites the dust: Reliever Jesse Crain reportedly signs with White Sox

12.15.10 at 9:21 pm ET
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According to Peter Gammons of NESN and the MLB Network (via twitter), the White Sox have signed right-handed reliever Jesse Crain to a three-year deal. Crain was regarded by some as having the best stuff of any available right-hander on the market.

Crain had 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 2010, and 7.7 punchouts per nine over the last three years. But while he has electric stuff — a mid-90s fastball and a wipeout slider — his year-to-year results have been wildly inconsistent over the last five years. Here they are, from 2006-10: 3.52, 5.51, 3.59, 4.70, 3.04.

One talent evaluator noted that his results have not consistently matched his stuff, while another raved about what the 29-year-old is capable of.

“On a championship team, he’€™d be a great right-hand setup guy who could come in and crush you,” he said. “Someone like Crain, someone will give him three years.”

Once again, that is a length that the Sox typically do not go to for a reliever, having done so only once (for Keith Foulke) under GM Theo Epstein.

The White Sox, however, were willing to go to such lengths. Crain’s decision to stay in the AL Central could be to his benefit since, while he was dominant against most of the 17 clubs he faced last year, he had an 11.70 ERA in 10 innings against AL East opponents.

Read More: Hot Stove, jesse crain,
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