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Dennys Reyes says he is recovered from 2011 forearm strain

03.26.11 at 7:44 pm ET

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Left-hander Dennys Reyes was among a group of lefties that was scrambling for jobs in the days leading up to spring training. The 33-year-old nearly agreed to a deal with the Phillies earlier in the offseason, but when that fell apart (Reyes said earlier in spring training that the deal fell apart over contract terms), he was left to search for minor league deals.

Reyes was among a group of a few different left-handed specialists whom the Sox were considering in the days before pitchers and catchers reported. According to a source familiar with the Sox’ thinking, the team viewed the 33-year-old — who has a 2.63 ERA and an average of 65 appearances a year since 2005 — as the option with the most medical risk but the highest upside. The Sox elected to sign Reyes, issuing a minor league deal that would feature a $900,000 major league salary with incentives that could push the value of the deal to $1.4 million.

Reyes suggested that it was a forearm strain late last year that dampened his market during the offseason. But, on the day that his contract was purchased — thus guaranteeing his $900,000 salary — he suggested that he was pleased to emerge healthy from spring training.

“The thing last year, I ended up being hurt at the end of the season. That’€™s the main thing. I think I signed a minor league deal because of that,” said Reyes. “I had a strained muscle in my forearm, but I think I showed them that I was healthy. I had a three-week rehab after the season, and I think I showed them that I’€™m healthy and can pitch at this level.”

Though his contract was purchased by the Sox (on the strength of nine innings in which Reyes has allowed three earned runs, striking out eight and walking four), Reyes has been made aware that he is one of four pitchers competing for the final two Red Sox bullpen spots. He acknowledged that his uncertain roster spot is on his mind, but based on his prior experience dealing with such situations, he is focusing on his work on the mound rather than on what the Sox might decide to do.

“The last four or five days get tougher. You get to the park, you get used to being around the guys. It is hard, but at the same time, you understand that this is a business,” said Reyes. “You think about it a few times during the day when you’€™re in your room. But not really [when you’re pitching]. If you start thinking like that, you’€™re done. … You don’€™t have control [of the contract].”

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