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Monday, January 20
Updated: March 13, 4:45 PM ET
Australian Nilsson hasn't played in majors since 1999

Associated Press

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox have reached a tentative agreement with first baseman David Ortiz and plan to bring Dave Nilsson to spring training on a minor-league contract.

Both deals are expected to be finalized this week, a club source said Monday on the condition of anonymity.

The first-base picture has changed considerably since last season with the team's decision not to keep Brian Daubach and Tony Clark and with the acquisition of Jeremy Giambi.

Ortiz, who spent the last four-plus seasons with the Twins, passed a physical in Boston on Saturday, the source said. Nilsson, an Australian, last played in the majors in 1999 when he hit .309 for Milwaukee.

There were no new developments in Boston's pursuit of outfielder Kevin Millar. He played last season for Florida, then signed a contract with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan's Central League. The Red Sox, who claimed him off waivers, believe they still can get him if his contract with Chunichi wasn't properly executed.

Ortiz was primarily a designated hitter for the Twins, who released him Dec. 16. He hit .272 with 32 doubles, 20 home runs and 75 RBI in 412 at-bats and 125 games last season. In his career, he hit .266 with 108 doubles, 58 homers and 238 RBIs in 455 games.

The Red Sox hope he can avoid injuries which have marred his career.

In 1998, a broken wrist sidelined him for two months of his rookie season. He missed more than two months with a broken wrist in 2001 and sat out 18 games last season with bone chips in his knee.

Like Giambi, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Ortiz is a left-handed hitter. Both can play first base and designated hitter, and Giambi may be best suited to the outfield.

Nilsson spent all eight of his major-league seasons with the Brewers, hitting .284 with 105 homers and 470 RBIs in 837 games. His best season was 1996 when he hit .331 with 17 homers and 84 RBI in 123 games.

A left-handed hitter, he was primarily a catcher with Milwaukee but also played first base, the outfield and designated hitter.

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