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Wakefield gets new deal

Extension will probably keep him in Sox uniform for the rest of his career

The Red Sox today agreed to a contract extension with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield for the 2006 season that contains club options for 2007 and beyond.

Wakefield, 38, who joined the Sox as a minor league free agent in 1995 and is the longest-tenured member of this year's team, will earn $4 million next season with a performance bonus that, should he make 30 starts, could earn him $5.25 million.

The righthander will earn $50,000 next season for each start from 11-20 and $75,000 for each start from 21-30. Each club option thereafter is for $4 million plus bonuses.

“For the last 11 years, Tim Wakefield has represented the best of the Boston Red Sox,'' general manager Theo Epstein said. “His continuing contributions to the success of the franchise on the field are matched only by his dedication to community service. This agreement virtually guarantees Wake will retire as a Boston Red Sox, which is fitting. In the long, proud history of this franchise, few men have brought greater honor to the uniform.''

In agreeing to the deal, Wakefield, who has a career mark with the Sox of 116-99 with 22 saves and a 4.28 earned run average, said he will donate $100 to charity for every strikeout he records this season.

Wakefield is off to a 2-0 start with a 1.37 ERA in three starts this season, his 11th in Boston. He is second on the team's career list with 390 appearances, third with 1,866 innings, third with 253 starts and seventh with 116 wins.

He also has 1,343 strikeouts for the Red Sox -- ahead of Cy Young and behind only Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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