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Gedman back in the fold

2-time All-Star becomes new Lowell hitting coach

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / January 11, 2011

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Rich Gedman started with the Red Sox in 1977 as an undrafted free agent out of St. Peter-Marian High in Worcester. He went on to spend parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues in Boston, twice making the All-Star team.

Now he’s coming back to where he started. Gedman was named the hitting coach of the Single A Lowell Spinners yesterday.

“It’s nice to be back with the Red Sox after spending so much of my youth there,’’ the 51-year-old Gedman said. “I’ve been in contact with the organization over the years about potential openings and job opportunities and this was the time it worked for them. There’s an opportunity there for me and it’s up to me to make it work.’’

Gedman was a career .252 hitter over 13 seasons with the Red Sox, Astros, and Cardinals. His best season came in 1985 when he hit .295 with 18 homers and 80 RBIs for the Sox. Gedman then helped lead the Sox to the 1986 World Series.

“I didn’t invent anything but I can pass on the things I learned from people like Walt Hriniak when I played,’’ Gedman said. “I had the work ethic and I understood the approach to hitting and how to prepare. I want to see how I fit in with their organization. This will be new for me but I have the experience from my career.

“Baseball is a way to keep young. It’s a boy’s game and even at the highest level, we sometimes act like kids. You want to have fun. But that comes with success, and how you handle pressure helps you have that success.’’

Gedman was manager of the independent Worcester Tornadoes from 2005-10.

“Lowell seems like a good fit but I would have been happy to go anywhere,’’ he said. “However I can help the Red Sox is fine with me. I haven’t thought about the future beyond this season.’’

Okajima deal official The Sox completed their deal with lefthanded reliever Hideki Okajima. He has a base salary of $1.75 million with an opportunity to earn an additional $550,000.

Okajima would receive $50,000 for 70 innings, $125,000 for 60 games, $125,000 more for reaching 65 games, and $250,000 more for 70 appearances.

Okajima, 35, made $2.75 million last season. He had a career-worst 4.50 earned run average in 2010 over 56 appearances (46 innings), and was hit hard by righthanders and lefthanders alike.

With Daniel Bard and Bobby Jenks expected to share setup responsibilities for Jonathan Papelbon, Okajima projects as more of a specialist and may have to earn a spot in spring training.

Davis to Pawtucket The new hitting coach at Pawtucket will be Chili Davis. A three-time All-Star, Davis hit .274 with 350 home runs over 19 seasons with five teams. He spent last season with the Dodgers as a part-time instructor.

Davis replaces Gerald Perry, who was hired as the major league hitting coach in Oakland.

Andy Fox is the new minor league infield coordinator, replacing Gary DiSarcina. Fox earned World Series rings playing for the Yankees (1996) and Marlins (2003). He spent nine years in the majors and has four years of experience coaching in the minors with Seattle, Florida, and Texas.

The Sox also hired Basilio Alvarado and Oscar Lira as coaches for the Dominican Summer League team.

Morris joins scouts Former big leaguers Hal Morris and Nate Field joined the pro scouting department along with John Lombardo, a former Blue Jays scout and Rangers executive.

Tom Allison (Midwest crosschecker), Jon Adkins (Ohio Valley), and Chris Pritchett (Canada) were added to the amateur scouting staff along with Victor Rodriguez Jr., who will scout the Dominican Republic. He is the son of minor league hitting coordinator Victor Rodriguez Sr.

Mike Murov was named an assistant in the baseball operations department.

Caron signs extension Sox pregame and postgame host Tom Caron agreed to a multiyear contract extension with NESN. The Maine native joined the network in 1985 . . . Catcher Max Ramirez lasted less than a week with the Sox. Claimed off waivers from the Rangers, he was lost via waivers to the Cubs. Okajima took his place on the 40-man roster . . . The annual New Stars For Young Stars event will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at Jillian’s across from Fenway Park. Dan Wheeler, Darnell McDonald, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Ryan Kalish are among those expected to attend and sign autographs. Go to JimmyFund.org for details.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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