Gonzalez close to joining Red Sox

Gonzalez, Red Sox close in

BOSTON -- Should he pass all the remaining medical tests, free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez could be sporting a Red Sox uniform by the end of the week.

The Providence Journal reported that Gonzalez visited Boston on Tuesday to take a physical and is undergoing further tests Wednesday.

The former Marlins shorstop had arthroscopic surgery to remove two bone chips from his right elbow on Sept. 30. He had a similar procedure following the 2004 campaign.

Assuming everything checks out, the slick-fielding Gonzalez would then be introduced by the Red Sox as their new starting shortstop, replacing Edgar Renteria.

The Boston Herald reported that the one-year, $3 million deal Gonzalez signed is filled with incentives and out clauses that would enable the club to free itself if they choose by either the middle of Spring Training or by Opening Day.

The Herald also reported that Gonzalez is guaranteed just $500,000 if he is cut before March 15 and $750,000 if he does not make the Opening Day roster. If he makes it on the team by Opening Day, then he would receive the full $3 million.

In signing Gonzalez to a one-year deal, the club is also keeping open the option that top middle-infield prospect Dustin Pedroia could step into the role at the beginning of the 2007 season, if not sooner.

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