Sox, Dogs extend deal

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PORTLAND (AP) – The Boston Red Sox and the Portland Sea Dogs said Monday they have agreed to a four-year extension of the partnership that made Portland the Red Sox’ Double-A affiliate.

“We are thrilled to extend our (player development contract) with the Portland Sea Dogs through the 2012 season,” said Ben Cherington, Red Sox vice president for player personnel.

Cherington and Sea Dogs General Manager Charlie Eshbach made the announcement at Hadlock Field.

After nine years with the Florida Marlins, the Sea Dogs entered into a two-year player development contract with Boston in September 2002. That contract was later extended for four years, keeping the Red Sox in Portland through the 2008 season.

Such contracts can be extended in either two- or four-year increments. Four years is the maximum permissible.

“When we joined with the Red Sox in September 2002, it was with the intention of establishing a long-term relationship,” Eshbach said. “The extension of the PDC for an additional four years helps to further strengthen that bond.”

Former Sea Dogs now with the Red Sox include Josh Beckett, Manny Delcarmen, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kason Gabbard, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. In all, 29 players have made the move from Hadlock Field to Fenway Park.

The switch in affiliation to a team with countless loyalists in Maine was widely applauded by Sea Dogs fans, who turned out in record numbers during each season that the partnership has been in place.

The minor league team had marked the change by building a likeness of Fenway Park’s Green Monster in left field and renaming the skyboxes at Hadlock Field in honor of former Red Sox batting stars.

Last season, the Sea Dogs won their first Eastern League championship in the 13-year history.

of the franchise.

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