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Red Sox come to terms with Wilkerson

02/03/09 7:24 PM EST

Red Sox come to terms with Wilkerson

Addition of veteran first baseman/outfielder brings depth to bench

Brad Wilkerson hit .220 with four homers and 28 RBIs in 264 at-bats in 2008. (Aaron Harris/AP)
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BOSTON -- In an effort to create more bench depth, the Red Sox, according to multiple media outlets, have agreed to terms with veteran first baseman/outfielder Brad Wilkerson on a Minor League deal that presumably includes an invitation to Spring Training.

Though the Red Sox already have Rocco Baldelli to back up in the outfield and Mark Kotsay as a reserve at both first base and the outfield, Wilkerson serves as additional insurance. This is particularly important when you consider the uncertain health of Baldelli, who is trying to overcome an ailment that causes excessive fatigue and left him unavailable to play for much of last season.

With Mike Lowell rebounding from right hip surgery and David Ortiz coming back from a season of left wrist woes, Wilkerson's presence could provide more security if either of those players have a setback.

The Red Sox were interested in signing Wilkerson last winter, but he wound up signing with the Mariners. However, Seattle released him on May 7, and he wound up hooking on with the Blue Jays two days later.

Wilkerson got 264 at-bats in 2008, batting .220 with four homers and 28 RBIs. He has shown power in the not-too-distant past, belting 20 homers in 338 at-bats for the Rangers in 2007.

Though he figures to be a utility option with the Red Sox, Wilkerson has four years of experience as a starter with the Expos-Nationals from 2002-05. His best season was '04, when he smashed 32 home runs in 160 games.

Wilkerson, 31, is a left-handed batter.

WEEI.com reported that Wilkerson's contract will be worth a base salary of $400,000 if he is on the Major League roster and that performance bonuses could bring it as high as $2.5 million.

The deal will be official once Wilkerson passes his physical.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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