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Red Sox interested in reliever Wheeler

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / December 16, 2010

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The Red Sox are discussing a possible deal with righthanded reliever Dan Wheeler, a Rhode Island native who has pitched effectively for Tampa Bay the last four seasons.

Wheeler, 33, has a 3.84 ERA in parts of 11 seasons with four teams. He was 2-4 with a 3.35 ERA in 64 appearances for the Rays last season.

The Red Sox also are close to completing a minor league deal with lefthander Lenny DiNardo, according to WEEI.com. DiNardo has a 5.36 ERA over six seasons. He was with the Red Sox from 2004-06, going 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA in 43 appearances as a reliever and spot starter.

Elbow surgery limited DiNardo to 12 minor-league appearances last season. The 30-year-old spent two seasons with Oakland under Curt Young, the new Sox pitching coach.

Lee went with comfort Cliff Lee chose comfort and familiarity over more money.

Lee and the Phillies finalized a $120 million, five-year contract yesterday that brings the star pitcher back to Philadelphia.

“It’s plenty of money,’’ Lee said. “When you hit a certain point, enough’s enough. It’s just a matter of where you’re comfortable, where you’re happy, where your family’s the most comfortable, what team gives you the best chance to win.’’

Lee spurned more lucrative offers from the Yankees ($150 million) and Rangers to return to the Phillies, who traded him a year ago after he helped them reach the 2009 World Series.

Dodgers zeroing in The Dodgers are close to signing reliever Matt Guerrier and taking him off the Red Sox wish list. A person with knowledge of the deal confirmed that Guerrier will sign a three-year contract. pending a physical today. The 32-year-old righthander has spent his entire career with the Twins. He had a 3.17 ERA in 74 games last season.

Guerrier has a 3.38 ERA in seven major league seasons. He’s appeared in at least 73 games in each of the last four years.

Werth has no-trade Jayson Werth’s $126 million, seven-year contract with the Nationals includes a full no-trade clause. “It’s going to be a great seven years, and we’re going to surprise a lot of people,’’ Werth vowed . . . Reliever Randy Choate agreed to a $2.5 million, two-year contract with the Marlins. Choate appeared in 85 games last season, the most in the American League since 2004 and the most by an AL lefthander since 1998. He went 4-3 with a 4.23 ERA for Tampa Bay and held lefthanded hitters to a .202 average, fourth-best in the AL. Choate has a career record of 10-10 with an ERA of 4.39 in 342 games . . . Free agent infielder Ty Wigginton and the Rockies agreed to a two-year contract worth $8 million with a club option for 2013. The 33-year-old hit 22 home runs with 76 RBIs and batted .248 last season for Baltimore . . . Righthander Rich Harden agreed to terms on a one-year contract to rejoin the Athletics, according to a person with knowledge of the deal, pending a physical. Harden went 5-5 with a 5.58 ERA in 20 appearances and 18 starts last season for Texas . . . The major leagues minimum salary is rising $14,000, to $414,000, the commissioner’s office said. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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