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Sox trying to add a lefthanded hitter

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  January 22, 2008 06:20 PM

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The Red Sox are mulling their options and could add a lefthanded bat off the bench by the end of the week.

The Sox would love to sign Brad Wilkerson, the former Expo and Ranger, but he might have options for more money and security elsewhere. The Sox prefer someone who can play a corner infield spot and protect either Kevin Youkilis and/or Mike Lowell. In the past the Sox have rested Lowell by moving Youkilis to third. That could still happen if the Sox obtain a backup first baseman.

There are still interesting ones out there such as Sean Casey, Tony Clark, Doug Mientkiewicz, Mark Sweeney, and Eric Hinske.

Casey, 33, is an intriguing possibility. He's lost his first base job to Carlos Guillen in Detroit. He's limited defensively, but he hit .296 last season with four homers and 54 RBIs. He also hit .455 as a pinch hitter (5 for 11) with three RBIs. He had a .353 on-base percentage and has a .366 OBP over his 11-year career. Casey loves Boston and at this stage of his career has indicated his main objective is to play for a team that can win the World Series. He would accept a limited role.

There are also lefthanded-hitting outfielders such as Trot Nixon, Shawn Green, Luis Gonzalez, and Ryan Klesko (who can play first), but the need is more for a true first baseman or third baseman from the left side.

Clark indicated in an e-mail yesterday he would love to return to the Red Sox. He has a very good relationship with Terry Francona, but sources indicate Clark would be further down on the list of preferences.

The Red Sox are hoping to obtain a player who can give Youkilis more rest. Because of the hard-nosed nature of Youkilis's play, the Sox are concerned he wears down at the end of the season.

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