Catcher is first free agent to re-sign with Sox

BOSTON -- Catcher Doug Mirabelli became the first of Boston's 16 free agents to re-sign, agreeing Monday on a $3 million, two-year contract with the World Series champion Red Sox.

Mirabelli will earn a $200,000 signing bonus and $1.4 million in
each of the next two seasons.

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein did not immediately return
a call seeking comment.

Mirabelli made $825,000 last season, when he batted .281 with
nine homers and 32 RBI in 160 at-bats as Jason Varitek's backup
and the regular catcher for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Mirabelli had sought work as a regular catcher. Instead, he
nearly doubled his pay to stay with the Red Sox, who also are
trying to re-sign Varitek.

Varitek's agent, Scott Boras, has said he wants a five-year deal
for $50 million.

Fourteen players who finished the season with the Red Sox and
became free agents remain unsigned, including Varitek, pitchers
Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe and shortstop Orlando Cabrera.

Boston has reportedly offered Martinez a two-year contract worth
about $25 million with a third year that could become guaranteed to
bring the deal to $38 million. Cabrera is seeking a multiyear deal,
but the Red Sox don't want to commit long-term because prospect
Hanley Ramirez could be ready as soon as 2006.

Mirabelli, 34, was acquired during the 2001 season from the
Texas Rangers for Justin Duchscherer. Mirabelli hit .305 with nine
homers and 29 RBI in his 41 starts last season. He had a .525
slugging percentage last year -- best among AL catchers with at
least 40 games.

Red Sox pitchers had a 4.19 ERA with Varitek behind the plate,
compared to 4.26 with Mirabelli.