Reports: Sox close to agreement with Okajima

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Reports: Sox close to agreement with Okajima

Multiple media outlets report that the Red Sox are close to agreement on a one-year contract with reliever Hideki Okajima.

The Sox non-tendered Okajima earlier this offseason, making him a free agent. The team, however, indicated it might be interested in bringing back the 35-year-old left-hander for less than the 2.75 million he earned in 2010.

Okajima striggled in 2010, posting career highs in ERA (4.50), WHIP (1.717) and walks9 innings (3.9), and career lows in ERA-plus (97), strikeouts9 innings (6.5) and strikeoutwalk ratio (1.65). He pitched in a career-low 56 games, with a career-low 46 innings.

Okajima would be the fifth lefty fighting for what might prove to be one spot in the bullpen. The others are Lenny DiNardo, Felix Doubront, Rich Hill and Andrew Miller. Bullpen spots would seem to be assured to Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler, Scott Atchison and Tim Wakefield, all right-handers.

Boston is also rumored to still be interested in free agent left-hander Brian Fuentes, though his demands may be too rich for the role (left-handed setup manlefty specialist) the Sox would have him fill.

Young, Vazquez homer for Red Sox in 9-2 win over Twins

Young, Vazquez homer for Red Sox in 9-2 win over Twins

BOSTON - Chris Young hit a three-run homer and Christian Vazquez homered for the first time in more than a year as the Boston Red Sox routed the Minnesota Twins 9-2 on Tuesday night in a game delayed twice by stormy weather.

Drew Pomeranz (7-4) pitched five innings, three after a 1 hour, 16 minute delay between the second and third as a thunderstorm slowly passed over Fenway Park. Despite the interruption, Pomeranz held the Twins to one unearned run and four hits, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.

Dustin Pedroia had three hits and scored twice and Xander Bogaerts had two hits and scored twice for the Red Sox as they won consecutive games for the first time in nearly two weeks.

The two rain delays totaled 2:06.

Drellich: MLB could explain umpire rulings more often

Drellich: MLB could explain umpire rulings more often

BOSTON — We know that Red Sox manager John Farrell did something wrong. In the absence of any sort of formal announcement otherwise, we’re left to assume the umpires did everything properly — but there’s room for MLB to make that clearer.

If the NBA can put out Last 2 Minute reports, why can’t MLB provide more regular explanations or reviews of contested calls?

Farrell on Tuesday said he’d like to see more public accountability in the umpiring realm, hours before the manager was to sit out Game No. 77. Farrell was suspended one game for making contact with crew chief Bill Miller on Saturday night as manager and umpire rained spittle on each other over a balk call that went against the Sox.

Well, was it a balk or not? Did Miller do anything wrong as well?

“I don’t know if there was anything levied on the other side,” Farrell said. “I don’t know that.”

But would he like such matters to always be public?

“I think there have been strides made in that way,” Farrell said. “I guess I would. I think everyone in uniform would prefer that to be made public. Whether or not that happens, I don’t know, but that would be a choice I would make.”

The league has a thorough internal review system. But it is just that: internal. Most of the time, any way.

On most every night at Fenway Park, there is someone on hand watching just the umpires and reviewing them.

MLB, to its credit, has announced suspensions for umpires in the past. The league has made public acknowledgments when calls have been made incorrectly. More of that seems viable — even if it’s an announcement to reaffirm that the call was made and handled properly, and here are the reasons why.

“I haven’t received any further determination or review of what transpired,” Farrell said. “My position, my stance, remains steadfast. I still firmly believe that time was called [before the balk call was made]. I wasn’t arguing the balk. I was arguing the timing of it. As I reiterated today to those that I spoke with, I still stand by my side of the argument. Unfortunately, there was contact made.”