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Nelson not worried about opt-out date

03.24.10 at 5:02 pm ET
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BRADENTON, Fla. — Joe Nelson’s agent, Doug Schaer, confirmed that his client does indeed has an opt-out date where the pitcher can become a free agent if he is not on the Red Sox’ major league roster: June 1.

Nelson, who has never had such a clause in any of his previous contracts, isn’t concerning himself with such formalities.

“I never had one because whomever I signed with the chances were that I wasn’t going to be on the big league team so I wasn’t trying to go somewhere else right away. This year, since I was in the big leagues last year and I had a guaranteed deal, my agent said, ‘You want to ask for that?’ I just said, ‘Sure, I guess.’ I know the people in this front office and they’re not going to bury me,” said Nelson, who is currently signed to a minor-league deal with the Sox.

“If they think I’m part of their plans on Opening Day or down the road their going to keep me. The second I’m not a guy where I’ve lost favor, or something like that, they would come to me and tell me that and let me go somewhere else to pitch in the big leagues. I have a relationship with them and they respect me as much as I respect them. It’s a two-way street. I trust them. If they have no plans for me tomorrow, they’ll let me know. They’re not going to hold on to me and say, ‘Maybe.’ If they don’t have plans for me they will let me know.”

Nelson took a step in the right direction in terms of making the team Wednesday, pitching one inning against the Pirates, striking out two and inducing a grounder. The 35-year-old’s spring training ERA now stands at 3.00, having made nine appearances.

“I think he’s feeling a lot more confidence in his changeup, which is certainly putting it in hitters’ heads that he can elevate that fastball and they have to respect the changeup,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona after his team’s 6-4 spring training win over Pittsburgh. “The last couple, three outings, I think he’s felt a lot better.”

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