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Saito Open to Returning to Sox After Becoming Free Agent

10.19.09 at 5:42 pm ET

Red Sox reliever Takashi Saito cleared outright waivers on Monday, and elected to become a free agent. As noted last week, the Sox and Saito found such an outcome mutually beneficial, since having Saito become a free agent via this process allows the Sox to negotiate with him this offseason about a possible return. Had the Sox instead released the pitcher after declining his $6 million option (with a potential $1.5 million in incentives for 2010), the club would not have been eligible to negotiate with him until May 15.

Saito is open to re-signing with the Red Sox, though the pitcher plans to talk to other clubs as well. According to a baseball source, the Sox have expressed some interest in bringing the right-hander back, though there have not been any discussions of specific contract terms. In 56 appearances that spanned 55.2 innings, Saito finished the year with a 2.43 ERA, the eighth lowest by an American League reliever with 40 or more appearances.

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