Sox sign hurler Fien

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox have claimed right-hander Casey Fien off waivers from Detroit and designated righty Gaby Hernandez for assignment.

Fien, who was designated for assignment last week, was 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in nine games as a rookie with Detroit last year.

The Red Sox claimed Hernandez off waivers from Seattle on last month. He spent all of last year with Triple-A Tacoma and went 10-9 with a 5.23 ERA in 26 starts.

Former Sox OF Payton makes comeback with Colorado

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Jay Payton is either on the road back to the big leagues or the road to retirement. Either way, he’ll find out during the 2010 season.

The 37-year-old Payton is in camp on a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies. He missed the entire 2009 season after injuring his right shoulder lifting weights before the start of spring training. Unsigned at that time, Payton tried to continue working out but finally underwent arthroscopic surgery in April to have a torn labrum repaired.

Payton spent the final two months of 2002 and all 2003 with the Rockies before moving on to San Diego, Boston, Oakland and Baltimore. He realizes he’s “more of an insurance policy” at this point, since the Rockies are flush with outfielders. Starters include Brad Hawpe in right field, Dexter Fowler in center and Carlos Gonzalez, who can play all three outfield positions, in left.

The Rockies also have outfielders Ryan Spilborghs and Seth Smith on their bench, as well as third baseman Melvin Mora, who has outfield experience.

“I was fortunate enough to be in a situation where I knew I was going to be on a team, I knew I had a job,” Payton said. “To be able to do that for 10 years is pretty good. To have a year where you didn’t play and come in and be 37 and have an opportunity to be part of a great organization, I can’t ask for any more.”

Payton, who has a .278 career average in 1,239 games, played center field in an eight-inning intrasquad game Monday at Hi Corbett Field. He batted against Chaz Roe, left-hander Christian Friedrich and Edgmer Escalona, none of whom has thrown a pitch above the Double-A level.

Cards’ Freese putting arrest behind him

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals are pleased with the way David Freese has handled his personal issues.

Freese was arrested in December outside of St. Louis on a drunken-driving charge. He apologized and is still slotted to be the team’s third baseman this season.

“Obviously we were very unhappy with what happened,” general manager John Mozeliak said Monday. “The very next day I met with him in my office and we talked about it. I made sure he understood dealing with the alcohol problem and dealing with the legal side was more important than baseball.

“If he could do all that then there wouldn’t be any disciplinary actions. And that’s what he’s done.”

Freese, 26, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23, nearly three times Missouri’s legal limit of 0.08, when he was arrested on Dec. 12 in Maryland Heights. He immediately entered the team’s employee assistance program and said he has not had a drink since.

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