Baseball

Red Sox pick up Wilkerson

Free-agent outfielder Brad Wilkerson agreed Monday to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Free-agent outfielder Brad Wilkerson agreed Monday to a minor-league contract with Boston, with an invitation to spring training.

Wilkerson, 31, is guaranteed a salary of $400,000 US if he sticks with the Red Sox, and can make an additional $2.1 million US in performance incentives.

With third baseman Mike Lowell still recovering from hip surgery, Boston is toying with the notion of shifting Kevin Youkilis to third base and pencilling in Wilkerson at first base.

"There is a lot of opportunity for me to get the necessary at-bats to compete and to contribute to this team in a lot of ball games," Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson also signed with the Red Sox "knowing that they might need some help there in centre field to give Jacoby [Ellsbury] some days off."

Wilkerson split last season between the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays, hitting .220 with four home runs, 28 runs batted in and 21 runs scored in 104 games.

"It was really tough," Wilkerson said. "I felt like I got off to a pretty good start there in Toronto and then they made some changes and that is the way the business of baseball is.

"But I felt like I rededicated myself to training and working hard and getting ready for this season."

Wilkerson is a .247 hitter overall with 122 HRs, 399 RBIs and 500 runs in 972 games over eight MLB seasons with the Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, Mariners and Blue Jays.

With files from the Associated Press