BOSTON – Left-handed reliever Hideki Okajima and the Boston Red Sox have finalized a $1.75 million, one-year contract.
Okajima, who had become a free agent, will return to the Red Sox for a fifth year under Monday's agreement.
Since signing as a free agent in November 2006, Okajima is 16-8 with six saves and a 3.06 ERA in 254 relief appearances with the Red Sox. He struggled for much of last season, when he finished 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 56 games. But in his last 15 games he had a 1.30 ERA in 13 innings.
The 35-year-old 35, has appeared in at least 50 games in each season with Boston and was picked for the AL All-Star team in 2007, the year the Red Sox won their second World Series in four seasons.
Okajima rejoins closer Jonathan Papelbon, setup man Daniel Bard and Scott Atchison, all right-handers, in a bullpen that has undergone many changes since it finished last season with the third-worst ERA in the AL. The Red Sox have added right-handers Bobby Jenks, Dan Wheeler and Matt Albers and signed lefties Rich Hill, Andrew Miller and Randy Miller to minor-league deals with invitations to spring training.
The Red Sox also announced that catcher Max Ramirez had been claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs, five days after Boston picked him up off waivers from the Texas Rangers. He batted .217 last season with two homers and eight RBIs in 28 games with Texas. He also had three homers and 29 RBI in 56 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Boston also announced several moves among player development personnel.
Chili Davis, who had 350 homers in 19 seasons with five teams, was appointed hitting coach at Triple-A Pawtucket. Andy Fox, who spent nine years with four teams as an infielder, is the new minor league infield coordinator. Rich Gedman, who played parts of 11 seasons as a catcher with the Red Sox, was chosen as hitting coach for Class A Lowell. Hal Morris, a first baseman who batted .304 during 13 seasons with five teams, was added as a pro scout.