BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox reached a one-year contract deal with closer Mike Timlin, who was eligible for free agency, the team said Wednesday.

The 39-year-old right-hander, one of the Red Sox best relievers, began the year as a set-up man moved to the closer role when Keith Foulke was lost with knee problems in September.

Timlin, who was eligible for free agency, was 7-3 with 13 saves and a 2.24 ERA in 81 appearances over 80.1 innings. He ranked fifth among American League relievers in innings pitched.

In three seasons with the Red Sox, Timlin is 18-11 with 16 saves and a 3.30 ERA in 229 games.

The 15-year major league veteran, who started his career with the Toronto Blue Jays, has played for Seattle, Baltimore, St. Louis and Philadelphia. He was second in career appearances among active pitchers at the end of the 2005 season with 893.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Two other Red Sox relievers have filed for free agency: left-hander Mike Myers and right-hander Matt Mantei, who missed part of the season with an ankle injury.

AP-ES-11-02-05 1912EST


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