2012-02-14 / Sports

Papi’s back!

Ortiz, Red Sox avoid hearing, agree at $14,575,000
BY HOWARD ULMAN The Associated Press

BOSTON

David Ortiz and the Boston Red Sox avoided salary arbitration by agreeing Monday to a one-year contract worth $14,575,000.

The deal for the slugging designated hitter was midway between the $16.5 million he asked for last month and the $12.65 million submitted by the Red Sox, which matched his 2011 earnings.

Ortiz became a free agent after the season then passed up a chance to go elsewhere when he accepted Boston’s arbitration offer on Dec. 7.

“I feel happy since I avoided going to arbitration,” he said on Monday, hours before the hearing had been scheduled to start in St. Petersburg, Fla. “People are used to see me with the Red Sox uniform and when you have so much time in one organization, and you’re identified with it, the best thing is to stay, even if it is for 1 or 2 million less.”

The Red Sox have not gone to an arbitration hearing in 10 years and have no unsigned players eligible for arbitration.

Ortiz hit .309 with 29 homers and 96 RBIs last year.

Signed as a free agent from the Minnesota Twins in 2003, the 36-year-old is entering his 10th season with the Red Sox.

“I figure I was gonna reach this deal, and that’s what we’re celebrating right now,” he said.

He played last season in the option year of a contract that paid him $65,225,000 over five seasons.

Ortiz had an outstanding season after getting off to poor starts the previous two years.

His average, homers, RBIs, 162 hits, 70 extra-base hits, 40 doubles, .398 on-base percentage and .554 slugging percentage were all his highest totals in four years.

Boston also has agreed to a minor league contract with right- hander John Maine, who has not been asked to attend big league camp.

He last pitched in the majors in 2010, starting nine games for the New York Mets before elbow surgery. Last year, he was 1-3 with a 7.43 ERA in 46 innings with Colorado’s Triple-A team at Colorado Springs.

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