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Sox sign Graffanino

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  January 11, 2006 06:52 PM

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Tony Graffanino was back. And now he's signed.

The Red Sox agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the second baseman for $2.05 million, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing.

The 33-year old Graffanino enjoyed a solid stint as the Red Sox starting second baseman last year after being acquired from Kansas City on July 19. Graffanino hit .319 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 51 games for the Red Sox in 2005 after he replaced the injured and slumping Mark Bellhorn. Between the Royals and Red Sox, Graffanino hit .309 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in 110 games.

In all or part of 10 major league seasons with the Braves, the Devil Rays, the White Sox, the Royals and the Red Sox, Graffanino has batted .268 with 42 home runs and 213 RBIs in 759 games.

In the 2005 postseason, Graffanino made a critical error against the White Sox in Game 2 of ALDS when he let a potential inning-ending, double-play ground ball roll between his legs into the outfield. The White Sox Tadahito Iguchi then hit a three-run home run off David Wells to give Chicago a 5-4 lead, and the White Sox went on to a three-game sweep of Boston en route to their World Series title.

Graffanino became a free agent after the postseason but accepted salary arbitration on Dec. 20, even though the Red Sox trade for Padres infielder Mark Loretta would make it difficult him to get regular playing time at second base, Graffanino's primary position.

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