Red Sox Reach Deals With Bard, Penny

9:59pm: Ian Browne of MLB.com weighs in on Bard. He discusses the catching situation, and in particular, how the Red Sox will use Bard if free-agent Jason Varitek returns to the franchise.

SI.com points out Penny’s Interleague numbers: 7-11 with a 5.08 ERA in 24 appearances against American League opponents. Penny has spent his entire career in the National League.

8:41pm: Rob Bradford of WEEI.com spoke with Brad Penny, who confirmed his deal with the Boston Red Sox.

From Bradford:

“There were a lot of teams involved,” said Penny in a phone conversation. “But I wanted to go somewhere where I knew we had a great chance at winning, and Boston is that place.”

Bradford adds that Penny will be in Boston on Jan. 7 to take his physical and will begin his throwing program next week.

Bradford also updates the status of Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, who has started exercises on his throwing shoulder, which is earlier than in years past. Bradford’s post states that the injury that plagued Beckett at the end of the 2008 season has subsided. The injury centered around the intercostal muscles near the ribs and not the oblique as previously thought.

7:33pm: Free-agent catcher Josh Bard has reached a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox, Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald and Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe are reporting.

The Bard agreement is a nonguaranteed major-league deal worth $1.6MM. According to McAdam, Bard is viewed as a backup, but he could see more time depending upon what Boston decides to do at catcher.

Bard, 31 in March, spent seven games with the Red Sox in 2006 before Boston traded him to the Padres. He hit .202 in 57 games with San Diego in 2008.

McAdam has more on the Brad Penny deal, too. The agreement, a one-year deal with a base salary of $5MM, will be finalized Monday. Incentives and performance bonuses can increase the total deal another $3MM if Penny pitches more than 160 innings, McAdam reports.

Penny, 31 in May, went 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA in 17 starts and two relief appearances in 2008 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander played 4.5 seasons for the Dodgers. He played with the Florida Marlins from 2000 until he was traded in 2004.

With the addition of Penny, the Boston rotation now consists of Penny, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester.

The move also allows righty Justin Masterson to remain in a setup role for closer Jonathan Papelbon.


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