By JIMMY GOLEN AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) _ The Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms with
right-hander Ryan Dempster on a two-year contract worth $26.5
million, two people familiar with the negotiations said Thursday.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington would not comment on
Dempster at a news conference to announce the signing of outfielder
Shane Victorino. “We’re engaged with a pitcher. That’s all I can
say at this point,” Cherington said, without mentioning Dempster
by name.

But a few hours later the sides completed the framework of a
deal, the two people familiar with the talks said. They spoke on
the condition of anonymity because the agreement was pending a

Dempster would help a rotation led by Jon Lester and Clay
Buchholz, promising young pitchers coming off subpar seasons. At
the other end of the staff are Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront;
pitchers the Red Sox hope can develop into dependable starters.
John Lackey returns after missing last season due to elbow
ligament-replacement surgery.

Dempster, 12-8 with a 3.38 ERA this year, gives the Red Sox a
reliable pitcher who has thrown more than 200 innings for four of
the past five seasons. He was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA with the Chicago
Cubs this year before being traded to Texas. He was 7-3 with a 5.03
ERA for the Rangers.

Boston hopes he will be an improvement over Josh Beckett, who
was 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA before he was traded to the Los Angeles
Dodgers in a deal that conceded the 2012 season while clearing $250
million in future salaries. Daisuke Matsuzaka, who arrived in
Boston to international fanfare, was 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA last
season while battling injuries.

Dempster, 35, has a 124-124 record and a 4.33 ERA in a 15-year
big league career, most of it with the Marlins and Cubs.
AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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