Ortiz hopes to join Dominican team

Posted Jan. 16, 2009, at 12:20 a.m.

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hopes to have his injured wrist healed enough to let him play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic on March 5-23.

“I have been swinging some and my injured wrist has not bothered me since last year,” he told The Associated Press by e-mail Thursday. “Just as I promised, if I’m healthy, I will join the team.”

Ortiz was on the disabled list twice last season with a partially torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. Doctors had told him to rest over the offseason.

Ortiz hit .264 with 23 home runs and 89 RBIs in 109 games, all lows for him since he joined the Red Sox in 2003.

Baseball officials in the Dominican Republic said training will start Monday and last three weeks. Ortiz is in Boston visiting his father and plans to arrive in the Caribbean country on Saturday.

Sox re-sign Kotsay

BOSTON — Mark Kotsay and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a one-year contract Thursday worth a guaranteed $1.5 million.

The 33-year-old Kotsay batted .276 last season, including .226 with 12 RBIs in 22 games for the Red Sox after he was acquired from Atlanta on Aug. 27. Kotsay played in 10 of Boston’s 11 postseason games, batting .250 and scoring the tying run in the Game 5 comeback against Tampa Bay during the AL championship series.

An outfielder most of his career, Kotsay filled in at first base for Boston when Mike Lowell was injured and Kevin Youkilis went to third. Kotsay could earn up to $1 million in performance bonuses: $200,000 each for 300, 350, 400, 450 and 500 plate appearances.

To make room for him on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated right-hander David Aardsma for assignment. Boston also shipped minor league outfielder Mickey Hall to Cleveland to complete the trade that sent pitcher Paul Byrd to Boston in August.

Hall batted .232 with 13 homers and 35 RBIs in 82 games last season for Boston’s Double-A Portland affiliate. The 24-year-old was a second-round pick in 2003 by the Red Sox and has a .239 career batting average in the minors.

Rangers’ Young moving to 3B

All-Star shortstop Michael Young will accept the Texas Rangers’ decision to move him to third base and doesn’t expect to be traded.

While the 32-year-old Young said Thursday he doesn’t think it’s the right time in his career to switch positions again, he said he’s ready to focus on preparing for next season and he didn’t want the pending switch to be a distraction to him or the team.

Texas general manager Jon Daniels confirmed Sunday night that the Rangers were exploring trade options at Young’s request. The Rangers first spoke with Young last month about moving to third to make room for touted prospect Elvis Andrus at shortstop.

Eckstein, Padres agree to 1-year

SAN DIEGO — David Eckstein and the Padres agreed Thursday on a one-year contract, and the 2006 World Series MVP is expected to play second base for San Diego.

Eckstein, who turns 34 on Tuesday, was the starting shortstop on two 100-win teams during his three seasons in St. Louis. He won World Series titles with the Cardinals (2006) and Anaheim Angels (2002).

A two-time NL All-Star, Eckstein signed with Toronto before last season and was traded to Arizona for a prospect on Aug. 31.

He’ll join a Padres team that has been in a salary-slashing mode since losing 99 games last season, its worst finish in 15 years. Former Diamondbacks CEO Jeff Moorad is negotiating to buy the Padres, a move precipitated by owner John Moores’ divorce from wife Becky.

Eckstein will bring a veteran presence to the middle infield. Luis Rodriguez, who’s never played more than 79 games in a season, is the incumbent starting shortstop after Khalil Greene was traded to the Cardinals in December. That move shed $6.5 million from a payroll that the Padres project to be $40 million.

The acquisition of Eckstein likely knocks Edgar Gonzalez, older brother of Padres All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, into a utility role.

The Padres also claimed right-hander Jae Kuk Ryu off waivers from Tampa Bay.

Eckstein hit a combined .265 in 94 games with Toronto and Arizona in 2008. Between the two stops, he made 57 appearances, including 56 starts, at shortstop, and played 24 errorless games, 23 of them starts, at second base.

“David has been a part of two World Series championship teams and knows what it takes to win,” general manager Kevin Towers said in a statement. “He will bring an incredible work ethic to the playing field and should establish himself as a leader in the clubhouse.”

Eckstein played for the Angels during Padres manager Bud Black’s tenure as that club’s pitching coach.

“Eck is the ultimate winner,” Black said. “I look forward to working with him again. He will set a great example for our young players and help the Padres win ballgames.”

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