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Sox officially re-sign Kotsay

Posted by Chad Finn, Globe Staff  January 15, 2009 04:56 PM

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The Red Sox retained a significant piece of manager Terry Francona's bench today when they formally announced that they have re-signed outfielder/first baseman Mark Kotsay to a one-year deal. Terms were not disclosed.

To make room for Kotsay on Bostonís 40-man roster, righthanded reliever David Aardsma was designated for assignment.

Kotsay, 33, joined the Red Sox in a trade with the Braves last Aug. 27 in exchange for minor league outfielder Luis Sumoza. The lefthanded hitter batted .226 with 12 RBIs in 22 regular-season games with the Sox.

Overall with Boston and Atlanta, he hit .276 with 45 runs, 111 hits, 25 doubles, 6 homers, 49 RBIs and 32 walks, his highest marks in all of those categories since 2006.

Kotsay took over as the Sox' starting first baseman in the postseason when third baseman Mike Lowell was sidelined with a hip injury, necessitating the move of Kevin Youkilis to third base. Kotsay batted .250 (10 for 40) in the playoffs, without an RBI.

The Globe's Tony Masserotti reported Jan. 9 that the Red Sox believed they had a formal agreement in place to retain Kotsay, but the agreement could not be finalized until he returned from a trip to the Caribbean.

Following the season, Kotsay said he had some interest in returning to the Sox, but that he preferred first to shop for a job as a starter on the open market. But the market never materialized, so he returned to Boston.

Kotsay, who is excellent defensively, proved to be a versatile and valuable substitute a season ago. Because he can play the outfield and infield, the Sox can carry only four players on their bench, allowing manager Terry Francona to have the preferred 12 pitchers at his disposal.

In his career, he has a .281 career batting average, 109 home runs and 609 RBIs in 1,450 total games with the Marlins (1997-2000), Padres (2001-03), Athletics (2004-07), Braves (2008) and Red Sox (2008).

Aardsma, 27, pitched 47 games during his lone season in Boston, all in relief. In 48.2 innings, he allowed 49 hits while striking out 49, but he struggled to harness his excellent fastball, walking 35 batters and finishing with a 5.55 ERA.

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The Red Sox also announced today that they have sent outfielder Mickey Hall to the Cleveland
Indians to complete the Aug. 12 trade for righthander Paul Byrd. Hall, who spent five years in the Red Sox organization, batted.230 with 14 homers and 37 RBIs in 94 games at Single A Lancaster and Double A Portland last season.

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