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Catcher will let them come to him

Warmup tosses were the highlight for Boof Bonser: He gave up 6 hits and 5 runs in 2 innings vs. the Rays. Warmup tosses were the highlight for Boof Bonser: He gave up 6 hits and 5 runs in 2 innings vs. the Rays. (Steven Senne/Associated Press)
By Peter Abraham and Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / March 23, 2010

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — With one swipe of a pen across town at the Minnesota complex, Victor Martinez will become the most attractive catcher on the free agent market next winter.

Unless the Red Sox sign him.

Joe Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million deal with the Twins was a landmark for catchers. The $23 million average annual value shattered the standard of $13.1 million established by Jorge Posada of the Yankees in 2007.

“Man, it’s great,’’ Martinez said yesterday. “He deserved every penny he got. I think he’s going to be fine for the next eight years. He really deserved every penny. Obviously, he’s a great guy, a great player.’’

Martinez and agent Alan Nero have made it clear to the Red Sox they’re interested in an extension. But talks have yet to start. The Red Sox seem more interested in locking up righthander Josh Beckett.

“Nothing so far,’’ Martinez said of negotiations. “I don’t know, man. It’s all up to them. I just worry about myself, just keep working, be healthy and let things happen. I told them through my agent that I was going to be more than happy to do it before the season starts. We’ll see what happens.’’

Manager Terry Francona welcomed the news of Mauer staying with the Twins.

“I think it’s really good for the game,’’ he said. “Minnesota’s got their new stadium and it looks like they’re going to get after it a little bit.’’

Sox pitcher Boof Bonser, a former Twin and a good friend of Mauer’s, said, “He could take the whole darn city of Fort Myers out for dinner. It’s good for baseball and that city.’’

One is enough
John Lackey hadn’t allowed a run all spring. That the first one came during a minor league intrasquad scrimmage didn’t bother him at all.

“Got one out of the way,’’ Lackey said after giving up a solo shot to Sox prospect Daniel Nava. “Honestly, it’s kind of good, because it’s going to happen. It’s good to get that feeling, get back in the strike zone and get the next guy out.’’

Lackey threw 68 pitches (46 strikes) over five innings. He allowed three hits and struck out six without a walk. Lackey hasn’t walked a batter in 14 innings this spring.

“That’s my game,’’ he said. “Especially coming over here to the East, you can’t walk people. Guys are such good hitters, you’re going to give up hits. If you give them base runners, that’s when those hits are really magnified.’’

Though Lackey said the adrenaline wasn’t flowing as it would be in a normal game, he was glad to get his work in. He continued to get his pitch count higher, which is his goal for the rest of the spring. Lackey has tried to build up gradually after getting injured during his last two springs with the Angels.

“I’ve definitely scaled back a few things,’’ he said.

Bling back
Johnny Damon told the New York Post that he has started wearing his 2004 Red Sox championship ring for the first time in several years. “I started wearing it this past offseason after I knew I wasn’t coming back to New York,’’ Damon said. “I was in New York for four years and I couldn’t wear it then.’’ Damon has rings from both sides of the rivalry. “I am going to wear them both,’’ he said. “There aren’t too many guys with rings from each team.’’ . . . Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols got an anti-inflammatory shot yesterday for tightness in his back and is expected to be out the next couple of days, the Associated Press reported. He did not play in the Cardinals’ 13-8 victory over the Red Sox yesterday . . . Newly signed lefthanded reliever Alan Embree threw in the bullpen and is scheduled for a minor league game tomorrow.

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