Four-time All-Star signs with Tigers

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Four-time All-Star signs with Tigers

From Comcast SportsNetDETROIT (AP) -- Free agent outfielder Torii Hunter has agreed to a 26 million, two-year deal with Detroit, giving the Tigers a capable corner outfielder coming off an impressive season at age 37.A person with knowledge of the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity Wednesday because no announcement had been made, confirmed the deal and said Hunter has a physical scheduled for Friday. Hunter hit a career-best .313 last season for the Los Angeles Angels with 16 home runs and 92 RBIs.Acquiring a corner outfielder was a major offseason priority for Detroit, and Hunter won nine consecutive Gold Gloves from 2001-09 before gradually switching from center field to right. With the exception of Austin Jackson in center field, the Tigers were largely unimpressive defensively last season.Detroit went into 2012 hoping for solid production from outfielders like Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn, but by the time the postseason started, the Tigers were primarily using Andy Dirks, Quintin Berry and Avisail Garcia alongside Jackson. Dirks had a fine season, hitting .322, but Hunter has a longer track record.Hunter is also a .289 career hitter against left-handers. The Tigers hit a pedestrian .253 versus southpaws in 2012.Detroit is chasing its first World Series title since 1984. The Tigers were swept by San Francisco in this year's series.After back-to-back AL Central titles, Detroit is aggressively trying to win now. Ace Justin Verlander and sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder are all in their prime, and the Tigers traded top pitching prospect Jacob Turner to Miami in the middle of the season for right-hander Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante.Detroit seems like a sensible fit all along for an older player like Hunter, who follows his five-year tenure with Los Angeles by reaching a shorter deal with the Tigers. Detroit is not required to give up compensation for Hunter.Sanchez is now a free agent, and the Tigers have said they'd like to take a shot at retaining him. Detroit is also ready to welcome back Victor Martinez, who will replace Delmon Young at designated hitter after missing the whole 2012 season with a knee injury.There are still a few other questions for the Tigers, who are unlikely to bring back closer Jose Valverde. General manager Dave Dombrowski indicated Detroit has some in-house candidates for that role, but the offseason is young.Although Hunter is now off the market, some other top free agent outfielders remain for other teams to shop for, such as Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher.Hunter's arrival means Boesch, Garcia or Berry could be an odd man out on Detroit's opening day roster in 2013. Boesch has hit 42 home runs in three seasons with the Tigers, but his average dipped to a career-low .240 in 2012. Berry came from off the radar this year as a 27-year-old rookie and stole 21 bases without being caught. The 21-year-old Garcia hit .319 in 47 at-bats, but he may be a candidate for more seasoning in the minors.

Quotes, notes and stars: Ziegler 'a Godsend' for Red Sox bullpen

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ziegler 'a Godsend' for Red Sox bullpen

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Minnesota Twins:

 
QUOTES

“We’ve come off a couple of days where we’re a pitch away or a swing of the bat away from being in a spot where we’re possibly looking at four consecutive in this series. But to pressed as we were -- give them credit they didn’t give in. They kept coming back -- they mounted some threats late.” - John Farrell said on the Red Sox the third consecutive in which they’d blown the lead.

“He’s been a Godsend to be honest. It’s a comfortable inning. The ball’s on the ground . . . He’s very calm, he’s experienced it . . . His addition here has given us a huge boost in line with the injuries to Koji [Uehara] and Craig [Kimbrel]” -  Farrell said on having Ziegler as an option.

“I’ll be honest, I get nervous when I’m watching, sixth, seventh, eighth inning of the game. I’ve picked my fingernails down too low one night. It’s a lot easier for me when I’m on the mound.” - Ziegler on dealing with his adrenaline and excitement when entering a game.

“That’s baseball. I mean, over the course of 162 games those sort of things are going to happen and you just keep battling and doing your job.” - Rick Porcello said about things not going entirely his way, despite feeling good on the mound.

“Yes. Because he threw me a changeup first pitch in my first at-bat. Sometimes you guess right.” - Hanley Ramirez said on why he was expecting a changeup from Tommy Milone that he turned into a three-run home run in the third inning

“I even didn’t know -- to be honest – that he threw over. When I was halfway I think I didn’t see like the catcher get up to throw the ball or anything so I figured maybe he threw to first. Once I saw Dozier catch it [one] way, I tried to [go] the other way. ” - Xander Bogaerts on avoiding the tag when he stole second in the fifth.

 

NOTES

* Xander Bogaerts finished 3-for-4 and has had multiple hits in nine of his last 11 contests. He leads MLB with 17 three-hit games.

* The Red Sox have now homered in 15 straight games, slugging 28 in that span.

* Hanley Ramirez has five home runs in his last five games, eight in his last 23. Over those 23 games, Ramirez is batting .337 (28-for-83) with 18 runs, seven doubles and 21 RBI to go with the eight homers.

* Three of Travis Shaw’s last four hits have been for extra bases -- 10 of his last 14 -- with the most recent being his three-run homerun Sunday. Shaw has also homered in four the last five series.

* Rick Porcello has won seven straight decisions and now has ten wins at home -- remaining undefeated at Fenway Park.

 

STARS

1) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez slugged his fifth home run in his last five games, knocking in three runs. Sunday's DH finished 2-for-4 and scored two runs in the game.

2) Juan Centeno

Minnesota’s catcher finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI in the losing effort

3) Rick Porcello

Despite giving up five runs (four earned) in his 6.2 inning of work, Porcello did what he needed to do to keep Boston in the lead. Had it not been for some shaky fielding, Porcello’s numbers might have been a better representation of how he looked and felt.

Kimbrel's knee 'feels great,' pushing himself towards return

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Kimbrel's knee 'feels great,' pushing himself towards return

BOSTON -- Just before the All-Star break, it almost seemed like the Red Sox were bound to lose Craig Kimbrel for six weeks potentially with the knee damage.

However, prior to Saturday’s game, John Farrell sounded optimistic about Kimbrel return more towards the three-week timetable.

The closer has gotten back to what he was working on prior to his injury, including his breaking ball.

“I’m out there spinning the ball right now,” Kimbrel said. “My knee feels great, so I’m just working on getting back into my mechanics. Staying compact and before I hurt my knee I was working on a few things. Just getting back to focusing on [those things].”

Kimbrel also stated that his arm “feels great” which was originally a concern for the Red Sox Front Office when he was injured -- fearing the knee would somehow lead to arm problems later.

Although things seem to almost be moving too fast for Kimbrel, he feels like the process has taken too long.

“It may look like a pretty fast recovery but it feels like forever,” Kimbrel said. “I think the way some people may look at it, it might be a little fast, but I’m not doing anything that is uncomfortable. I’m pushing myself, but I’m not pushing myself to a point where it doesn’t feel good. Testing everything out, that’s kind of where it is.

“Went in there and we didn’t really fix anything. Just kind of cut some cartilage out and right now it’s [about] getting my muscles firing like they’re supposed to. That’s coming back pretty fast because we were able to keep the swelling down right after surgery, so I was able to get back into the weight room and get back to the range of motion pretty quick.”

The righty will throw his first bullpen since the surgery and his confident he’ll feel good on the mound.

In fact, he thinks he could’ve thrown off the mound Sunday, but still hasn’t tested one important responsibility of a pitcher.

“I think I could throw off the mound,” Kimbrel said. “I don’t know if I can run in from the bullpen yet. Tomorrow we’re going to get off the mound, throw a bullpen and then can start pushing off and running.

“Fielding my position and cutting -- things like that. The kind of things where if a guy bunts on me [or] if I’ve gotta cover first -- I’ve gotta be able to do things like that.”