Foulke bids Red Sox farewell, will try free agency

BOSTON -- Pitcher Keith Foulke, who closed out Boston's first World Series championship in 86 years, declined a $5.25 million option Friday and filed for free agency.

"We respect Keith's decision to become a free agent," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "Keith said he wanted to play in a city closer to his family, and that's certainly understandable. We wish him the best."

Foulke, who gets a $1.5 million buyout, had 32 saves in 2004 and fielded the final out of the World Series. He was bothered by knee and arm injuries the next two seasons, and replaced as closer by rookie Jonathan Papelbon this year.

Foulke spent much of the season on the disabled list, going 3-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 44 relief appearances.

Earlier this week, Boston declined a $7.5 million team option for 2007.