BOSTON (AP) – Mike Timlin’s preference was to remain with the Boston Red Sox.

“The decision wasn’t totally mine. It was my family’s too,” he said Friday after finalizing a $3 million, one-year contract. “At this point in my career, it’s not just about me anymore.”

Timlin’s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, checked out the market and told the 41-year-old right-hander he had choices.

“There was some serious interest across the league. It was nice to know,” Timlin said. “But we know the people in the organization and they know what I’m about. I really enjoy playing for Terry Francona. Boston is always competitive. That’s the reason I signed there six years ago.”

Timlin was 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA and one save this season and had a 3.17 ERA in six postseason games. He ranks fourth on the career list with 44 playoff appearances.

With the Red Sox, Timlin has won the World Series twice in the last four years.

“Winning is fun, It’s a whole lot more fun than losing,” he said. “The guys that lead the team are not afraid to step out, take a chance and tell someone that they need to straighten it up. That’s a little bit old school for today’s baseball. But it works well there. If you don’t stay in line and play the game correctly, the way that the veterans think you should play, you’re going to get chastised for it. It just makes for a great team.”

Timlin made at least 50 appearances for the 12th consecutive season last year despite missing time with a strained left oblique muscle and right shoulder tendinitis.

Notes: Boston acquired minor league C Juan Apodaca from the Cincinnati Reds for cash. The 21-year-old Apodaca was assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

He spent most of last year at Class A Great Lakes, where he batted .259 in 58 games.

AP-ES-12-07-07 1831EST

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