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Hermida and Red Sox reach agreement

By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / January 27, 2010

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With arbitration hearings set to start at the beginning of February - and every other arbitration-eligible member of the Red Sox signed - Jeremy Hermida agreed to terms yesterday. The outfielder, who was acquired from the Marlins in November, will be paid $3.345 million next season on a one-year, nonguaranteed contract.

Hermida avoided being the first member of the team to go to arbitration in general manager Theo Epstein’s tenure. The Sox already had settled on deals with the arbitration-eligible Jonathan Papelbon, Ramon Ramirez, and Manny Delcarmen.

Hermida earned $2.25 million last season, and was seeking $3.85 million in 2010. The Sox had offered $2.95 million.

Hermida, who turns 26 Saturday, is expected to be a backup outfielder and lefthanded bat off the bench. He batted .259 with 13 home runs and 47 RBIs over 129 games with the Marlins in 2009.

He made just one error in 205 total chances in right field and left field, for a .995 fielding percentage. But he played in just three games after Aug. 31 because of a muscle strain on his right side.

Nightly news
Major League Baseball announced tentative game times for the upcoming season. The Sox will be playing on Sunday nights in April and May, both against the Yankees. One is the previously announced Opening Day, April 4 at Fenway, the other May 9, also in Boston. The Sox still have eight games on the schedule that are listed as TBA . . . The Sox announced their broadcast schedule for spring training. Nine of the 35 games will be televised on NESN, including seven at City of Palms Park. Two spring games will be televised by ESPN.

Thome, Twins agree
A person familiar with the negotiations said slugger Jim Thome and the Twins have agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract that includes performance bonuses. The 39-year-old Thome likely will be more of a bench player for the Twins than the middle-of-the-lineup force he’s been for 19 seasons on his way to 564 career home runs . . . Outfielder Xavier Nady and the Cubs have reached preliminary agreement on a one-year, $3.3 million contract, contingent on him passing a physical. Nady underwent reconstructive elbow surgery for the second time in his career last July while with the Yankees.

A’s get Sheets
The Athletics added a veteran arm to their young rotation, agreeing to terms with free agent righthander Ben Sheets on a $10 million, one-year contract. The 31-year-old Sheets, a four-time All-Star, has been plagued by injuries. He didn’t pitch in the majors last season while recovering from elbow surgery but last week held a session for several scouts in Louisiana . . . Free agent righthander Jon Garland and the Padres have agreed to a $5.3 million, one-year contract. Garland was 11-13 with a 4.01 ERA last year with Arizona and the Dodgers.

Francisco in fold
The Rangers and closer Frank Francisco reached agreement on a $3.265 million contract to avoid an arbitration hearing. Francisco was 2-3 with a career-best 25 saves and a 3.83 ERA in 51 relief appearances last season, when he also had three stints on the disabled list . . . The Dodgers re-signed a pair of veterans, infielder Ronnie Belliard and catcher Brad Ausmus, to one-year contracts . . . In Port St. Lucie, Fla., Mets ace Johan Santana threw off a mound for the first time since having elbow surgery Sept. 1 and said he felt good . . . Six years after signing Miguel Tejada to a top-dollar contract, the Orioles welcomed back the 2002 American League Most Valuable Player at a bargain price. Tejada received a $6 million, one-year contract after passing a physical and was introduced at a news conference . . . The Cardinals have invited 30-year-old lefthander Rich Hill to spring training. Hill, who is from Milton, formerly pitched for the Cubs and Orioles.

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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