Drew, Boston settle issues

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BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox and J.D. Drew finally resolved their wrangling over the outfielder’s five-year, $70 million contract – more than seven weeks after agreeing to everything except what to do about his surgically repaired right shoulder.

A baseball official involved in the negotiations said Thursday that the language had been agreed to. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because an announcement had not yet been made.

Drew’s agent, Scott Boras, did not immediately return a telephone message, and Red Sox spokesman John Blake said the team had no comment.

The Red Sox reached a tentative agreement with Drew on Dec. 5, but the deal was delayed over possible damage lingering from Sept. 2005 shoulder surgery. After wrangling for weeks – interrupted by the holidays and Boston’s pursuit of Japanese ace Daisuke Matsuzaka, another Boras client – the sides agreed on language that would allow the team to opt out of guaranteed money in 2010 and 2011 if a specified pre-existing injury recurs.

The language is similar to that in Magglio Ordonez’s deal with Detroit. Boras and the players’ association agreed that if the Red Sox exercise their rights under that language, neither Drew nor the union would contend that the language is unenforceable.

Drew takes the place of longtime rightfielder Trot Nixon, who played his entire 11-year career in Boston but agreed to a $3 million, one-year deal with the Cleveland Indians last week. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said after confirming the tentative agreement on Dec. 5 that Drew fits nicely into right field and the No. 5 spot in the lineup, behind David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. “With David and Manny, if they want to walk those guys, we want them to pay a steep price,” manager Terry Francona said then.

The 31-year-old Drew has had injuries throughout his career, but he played in 146 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers last season and hit .283 with 20 homers.

and a team-high 100 RBIs. He became a free agent when he opted out of the last three years of his five-year, $55 million deal with the Dodgers.

The Red Sox eagerly pursued him.

Drew’s deal calls for annual salaries of $14 million.



AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.

AP-ES-01-25-07 1913EST

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