Red Sox reacquire Mirabelli to catch Wakefield

BOSTON -- Catcher Doug Mirabelli got a police escort from the
airport, changed into his uniform in a car and made it to Fenway
Park just in time to fill his unique role as personal catcher to
knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

The Boston Red Sox reacquired Mirabelli from the San Diego Padres in exchange for catcher Josh Bard, minor-league pitcher Cla Meredith. The Padres also received $100,000 in the deal, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney is reporting.

Mirabelli, Wakefield's normal catcher last season when Mirabelli was with the Red Sox, arrived back at Fenway 13 minutes before
the night game against the New York Yankees, just enough time for him to be in the starting lineup.

"It was a chance for us to bring back the one guy who's
probably most qualified to catch Tim Wakefield, put him in a
situation to succeed," Boston general manager Theo Epstein said.
"Josh was working really hard and going about it in a very
professional way.

"But we just didn't necessarily have the luxury of time waiting
to find out if things would get better so we made this move now
while Doug was available at a reasonable cost."

The Yankees also tried to obtain Mirabelli to keep him from returning to the Red Sox, Olney reported.

The Red Sox traded Mirabelli to the Padres for second baseman Mark Loretta in December. The Padres' compensation in this latest deal is still unclear.

Mirabelli had been Wakefield's personal catcher in Boston before being traded. In 2005, he batted .228 in just 136 at-bats in 50 games. This season, he is batting .182 in 22 at-bats for the Padres.

He is a career .240 hitter with 47 homers and 165 RBI in 459 career games for Boston, Texas, San Francisco and San Diego.

Bard, who has caught Wakefield's five starts in 2006, leads the major leagues with 10 passed balls.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.