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Red Sox sign rehabbing reliever Liam Hendriks to two-year free agent deal

Hendriks replied that he was having breakfast at JetBlue Park, after agreeing to a two-year contract with the Sox.

“I was pretty pumped,” Giolito said.

With good reason. Hendriks is a three-time All-Star who was one of the most dominant relievers in the game from 2019-22.

But the 35-year-old righthander appeared in only five games for Chicago last season, returning from a bout with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in May then injuring his elbow June 9. He had Tommy John surgery in August and is expected to be on the injured list until at least late July.

Hendriks underwent a physical Monday and his contract is not yet official. But Sox officials confirmed a deal was in place.

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The two-year, $10 million agreement includes a potential $10 million in bonuses based on performance. There is also a mutual option for 2026.

A native of Australia, Hendriks made his major league debut in 2011 and became a closer in 2019 with the A’s. He had 75 saves for the White Sox from 2021-22 and averaged 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

“It’s a great move for the club,” Giolito said. “He brings a lot of energy and life. He’s a funny dude and can take a joke. He’ll fit in nicely.”

Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen has a year remaining on his contract. He has been part of trade talks in recent weeks.

How the addition of Hendriks affects Jansen isn’t clear. But it could make it easier to trade Jansen ahead of the July 30 deadline.

Hendriks has a home in Fort Myers, which he purchased while a member of the Twins from 2011-12. He actually resides closer to the Red Sox complex than Hammond Stadium, where the Twins train.

Masataka plans to role with it

Masataka Yoshida’s first season with the Red Sox was a jumble.

He left spring training for several weeks to play for Japan in the World Baseball Classic then admittedly needed time to adjust to everything about the major leagues, including the longer road trips, time zone changes, and tougher schedule.

Now comes another change: Alex Cora has said the Sox see Yoshida being their primary designated hitter instead of playing mostly left field.

“I’m trying to do the best I can in whatever role I get,” Yoshida said. “Obviously, I’m here to contribute to the team. Offensively and defensively, I want to stay ready at all times.”

Yoshida hit .309 with an .832 OPS in 85 games in left field last season but dropped to .255 with a .705 OPS on 49 games as the DH.

Masataka Yoshida hit .289 in his first season in the majors, but just .255 over 49 games as the designated hitter.
Masataka Yoshida hit .289 in his first season in the majors, but just .255 over 49 games as the designated hitter.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

“I had experience doing DH in Japan,” Yoshida said. “I had sort of a routine.”

The Sox had members of their strength and conditioning staff work with Yoshida during the offseason. He wore down in the second half and hit only .245.

“We constantly communicate,” Yoshida said.

Yoshida also has a new translator, Yutaro Yamaguchi, who worked with the Red Sox when former pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura was with the team from 2021-22.

Breslow will deal with Cora

Team president and CEO Sam Kennedy said it’s up to chief baseball officer Craig Breslow to make the call on a new contract for Cora, who is on the final year of his deal.

“Those guys will talk about it,” Kennedy said. “They do not want it to be a distraction, and they’ve had open and honest and direct conversations about that. So we’ll leave those discussions to Bres and AC when they feel it’s appropriate … Alex knows how we all feel about him.”

Whoever Cora signs his next contract with will pay him a hefty salary, considering he’s won a World Series title and new Cubs manager Craig Counsell, who has not, is earning a reported $40 million over the next five years.

“The one thing that is axiomatic is that the market is the market,” Kennedy said. “You’ve seen what Craig signed for and the value, it’s hard to put a value on the leader of your baseball team and the manager of your baseball team, so we’ll see where the market goes.”

Without giving names, Kennedy also said the Sox are engaging in extension talks with young players both on and off the big league roster.

After failing to extend notable players in previous years, Kennedy wants the team to improve its approach.

“We need to do a better job of making it personal and Bres is probably the absolute perfect person to do that, expressing what it means to be a career Boston Red Sox player,” Kennedy said.

He added that “starting those conversations earlier is a good idea.”

Jansen throws in bullpen

Jansen, who was slowed a few days by shoulder soreness, threw a handful of pitches in the bullpen and felt fine … Principal owner John Henry , who also owns the Globe, worked the crowd a bit, signing autographs near the agility field … Poor weather pushed some of the workouts into the covered batting cages … Senior vice president of community, alumni and player relations Pam Kenn will leave the team after the season, her 25th with the Sox. Kenn has had several roles, including director of media relations, and is widely respected within the organization.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him @PeteAbe. Michael Silverman can be reached at


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