NEW YORK (AP) – J.D. Drew’s agent said the outfielder doesn’t have any physical ailments that would prevent his contract with the Boston Red Sox from being finalized.

Scott Boras, who represents Drew, reached a preliminary agreement with the Red Sox on Dec. 5 for a $70 million, five-year contract. The Boston Herald reported Saturday that the outfielder’s medical exam raised “a red flag” that the team wanted to check into, and the Herald and Boston Globe have focused on his right shoulder.

Drew had surgery on his right shoulder and on a wrist in September 2005.

“J.D. is healthy,” Boras said Wednesday night. “We’ve had noted experts that have demonstrated that he’s without any condition that would effect him over the five years of the contract.”

Boras said that drafting the agreement is the only obstacle to completing an agreement. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has not commented publicly on the deal since the reports on Drew’s condition began last weekend.

“Theo and I are working on this in good faith,” Boras said. “We’re just working through the language.”

Drew would receive annual salaries of $14 million, but if he doesn’t meet set levels of games played, some of the final year’s $14 million would be deferred.

Boston plans to have the left-handed-hitting 31-year-old play right field and bat fifth behind David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Drew hit .283 last season with 20 homers and a career-high 100 RBIs for the Dodgers.

Eight minor leaguers agree to deals with Sox

Catcher Alberto Castillo, an 11-year major league veteran, was among eight players who agreed Wednesday to minor league contracts by the Boston Red Sox.

Pitcher Travis Hughes, infielders Jeff Bailey, Luis Jimenez, Joe McEwing, Ed Rogers and Bobby Scales and outfielder Kerry Robinson also agreed to contracts.

The 36-year-old Castillo hit .268 in 88 games last season at Washington’s Triple-A team in New Orleans. He reached the majors in 1995 with the New York Mets, spending four years with them before moving to St. Louis, Toronto, the New York Yankees, San Francisco, Kansas City and Oakland.

In 407 major-league games, he hit .222.

The right-handed Hughes was 0-0 with a 6.35 ERA in eight games last year with Washington.

Last season, Bailey led Pawtucket with 22 homers and 82 RBIs, while McEwing spent the season in the Houston organization, batting .315 at Triple-A Round Rock and going hitless in six at bats with the Astros.

Rogers spent the last nine seasons in the Baltimore organization, Scales was in the Philadelphia system last year and Robinson was in the Kansas City organization in 2006.

AP-ES-12-20-06 1833EST


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