Red Sox claim Wagner off waivers

Gordon Edes
Yahoo! Sports

BOSTON – Billy Wagner's(notes) first inning of pitching in the big leagues in 11 months was enough to convince the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox placed a waiver claim on the New York Mets' 38-year-old reliever, Yahoo! Sports confirmed, and will attempt to work out a trade for the left-hander. They have until Tuesday afternoon to do so.

Wagner, who underwent Tommy John tendon transfer surgery to replace a torn ligament in his left elbow last September, returned to the New York Mets on Thursday night and threw 14 pitches against the Atlanta Braves, striking out two.

With the Mets out of contention in the National League East and Wagner in the last year of his four-year, $43 million contract (the deal includes an $8 million club option with a $1 million buyout next season), the Mets were expected to test the trade market for Wagner, who has been supplanted as closer by Francisco Rodriguez(notes).

The Red Sox have just one left-hander in their bullpen, Hideki Okajima(notes), and Wagner, 38, would give them another eighth-inning setup option, as well as an backup closer if Jonathan Papelbon(notes) was unavailable. The Red Sox have former closer Takashi Saito(notes), and while he is unscored upon in 11 of his last 12 appearances and has held left-handed hitters to a .181 average, he has not been as dominating as he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wagner, meanwhile, credited physical therapist/trainer Chris Correnti, who directed his rehab, for getting back to the point where he was throwing in the mid-90s Thursday night. Correnti worked for years with Derek Lowe(notes) and Pedro Martinez(notes).

Wagner, who has 385 career saves, has full no-trade protection. However, he indicated to reporters that he would not allow that to stand in the way of a possible postseason appearance.

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