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Sox near deals with Penny, Bard

Posted by Amalie Benjamin  December 28, 2008 08:03 PM

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The Red Sox are nearing an agreement with free-agent righthanded starting pitcher Brad Penny, according to baseball sources. The one-year deal would be worth $5 million, with $3 million in performance bonuses believed to start at approximately 160 innings pitched.

In a separate deal, the Sox are also nearing an agreement with free-agent catcher Josh Bard, according to baseball sources. The one-year deal, which is not guaranteed, would be worth $1.6 million and would include a team option, according to sources.

Both potential deals are pending physicals.

The 29-year-old Penny is coming off an injury-plagued season for the Dodgers, during which he made just 17 starts and posted a 6.27 ERA. He was shut down in September with a sore throwing shoulder. In 2007, Penny went 16-4 with a 3.03 ERA for the Dodgers. Over his nine-year career, Penny is 94-75 with a 4.06 ERA.

This would be Bard's second stint with the Red Sox. The first one was brief. The Sox acquired Bard from the Indians as part of the trade for Coco Crisp in January 2006. He served as a backup to Jason Varitek and struggled catching Tim Wakefield's knuckleball. About a month into his tenure in Boston, Bard was traded to the Padres for Doug Mirabelli, who was experienced catching Wakefield's knuckler.

Bard hit just .202 in 57 games for the Padres last season. However, Bard had much more success in his previous two seasons in San Diego. In 2006, he hit .338 with nine homers and 40 RBIs in 231 at bats, and hit .285 with five homers and 51 RBIs in 389 at bats in 2007.

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