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Red Sox, Seanez agree on one-year deal

Red Sox, Seanez agree on one-year deal

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BOSTON -- Add another arm to the fierce Spring Training competition for jobs in the 2006 Red Sox bullpen.

The team announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with right-handed pitcher Rudy Seanez, with a club option for the 2007 season. Co-general managers Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer made the announcement after the 37-year-old passed a physical on Tuesday morning. Terms were not disclosed.

This is Seanez's second tour with Boston. He made nine relief appearances for the Red Sox in 2003, going 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA, walking six in 8 2/3 innings.

But Seanez has found new life over the last two seasons, combining to post a 10-2 record with a 2.96 ERA in 96 relief appearances since the start of the 2004 campaign.

Last year with San Diego, he went 7-1 with a 2.69 ERA and yielded just 18 earned runs in 60 1/3 innings over 57 relief appearances. He set career highs in wins, appearances, innings pitched (60 1/3) and strikeouts (84), and his 2.69 ERA was his lowest since he posted a 2.66 mark with the Dodgers in 1994. Seanez averaged nearly four strikeouts per walk and limited opponents to a .222 batting average, including a .212 mark by righties and a .231 mark by left-handed batters.

"We sure hope so," said Hoyer when asked if the club believes Seanez has solved the control problems of the past two seasons. "He's just been outstanding the last two years. He has really improved his command, and his strikeout numbers are outstanding, so clearly we hope that is the case. We are excited to have him.

"He had a great year, as good as any relief pitcher last year, and we're thrilled in this market to get him."

In 2005, Seanez ranked second among National League relievers with 12.5 strikeouts per nine innings, and was tied for second in the league with seven relief wins. He posted a 2.19 ERA in 10 appearances in April, fanning 15 and walking only one. In a 24-game stretch from April 21 to June 19, he went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, including 13 2/3 scoreless innings covering 12 outings from April 21 to May 24. The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder missed 28 games in July and August with a right shoulder strain and returned to go 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA in his final 19 outings of the season.

Come February in Fort Myers, Seanez will join a relief corps that already includes new addition Guillermo Mota, as well as Mike Timlin, Keith Foulke, Jonathan Papelbon, Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen.

And Cherington left no doubt on Tuesday as to Foulke's role when Spring Training rolls around.

"Keith Foulke is the closer and will go into Spring Training as the closer, and he'll have every opportunity to be a closer for 2006," said Cherington. "We're optimistic that he'll be able to fill that role and return to the form he's shown in the past."

With Foulke's place at the back of the bullpen re-established and Seanez added to the number of relievers under contract, skipper Terry Francona should have more flexibility.

"As for the rest of the bullpen, since the end of the regular season, we've been trying to build a deeper bullpen, one that is more versatile, one that will allow our manager and our staff a little bit more flexibility in terms of how they use them," said Cherington. "I think at times last year, [Francona] was hamstrung to a certain degree in terms of who he could use in certain situations.

"We feel like we're starting to get there in terms of Foulke, Timlin, Mota and Seanez," he added. "These guys are guys who can pitch against both left- and right-handed hitters. They've all pitched late in games and can be used in different roles, giving us more versatility in the bullpen."

Seanez has pitched for eight Major League clubs in all or part of 15 seasons: Cleveland (1989-91), Los Angeles (1992, 1994-95), San Diego (1993, 2001, 2005), Atlanta (1998-2001), Texas (2002), Boston (2003), Kansas City (2004) and Florida (2004).

Cleveland selected the native of Brawley, Calif., in the fourth round of the 1986 First-Year Player Draft.

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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