Red Sox upgrade bullpen with Gagne deal

CLEVELAND -- Eric Gagne's comeback has landed him a new role
on a new team: helping the Red Sox close out the Yankees.

Gagne, pitching like his old self following two elbow operations
and back surgery, was acquired by Boston for the stretch run on
Tuesday from the Texas Rangers, who also unloaded first baseman
Mark Teixeira to Atlanta in a seven-player swap.

Gagne waived his no-trade clause to join the American League East leaders and agreed to be Boston's set-up man after the Red Sox restructured the reliever's contract, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports. Boston will pick up $2.1 million in Gagne's performance bonuses, while the Rangers will pay $400,000.

Once one of baseball's premier closers, Gagne joins a Boston bullpen that
already had two All-Star relievers: closer Jonathan Papelbon and
set-up man Hideki Okajima.

But the Red Sox, who entered Tuesday leading the AL East by
eight games over New York, didn't want to take any chances of
blowing their big lead and acquired Gagne to bolster the back end
of their bullpen after consecutive implosions last weekend by
Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen.

Gagne will serve as Papelbon's primary set-up man and will close
on days Papelbon needs rest.

"We actually love our bullpen," Boston manager Terry Francona
said of his relievers, who have the lowest ERA (2.74) in the
majors. "I think it just got a lot better. Papelbon, Okajima and
Gagne -- these are guys that you don't match up. You just let them
pitch really good baseball."

Shortly after acquiring Gagne, Boston announced that reliever
Brendan Donnelly will have season-ending surgery on his right

The Red Sox sent left-hander Kason Gabbard and minor league
outfielders David Murphy and Engel Beltre to the Rangers, who were
the busiest team in the majors before Tuesday's 4 p.m. EDT
non-waiver trade deadline.

Agent Scott Boras said the chance to pitch on a playoff
contender was irresistible for Gagne, who played in just two
postseason games with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Eric wanted to be in a playoff environment," Boras said. "He
has respect for Papelbon, and I'm sure Papelbon has respect for
him. While he won't be a full-time closer there, it was an
opportunity to win."

Earlier, the Rangers completed the deal that sent Teixeira and
pitcher Ron Mahay to the Braves for rookie catcher
Jarrod Saltalamacchia and four minor leaguers. Last week, the Rangers
traded outfielder Kenny Lofton to the Cleveland Indians for minor
league catcher Max Ramirez.

Gagne stayed at the team hotel and did not accompany the Rangers
to Jacobs Field before the deal was announced.

"There's a little mixed emotions in there," Rangers pitcher
Kevin Millwood said. "The trade for Tex [Teixeira] kind of had to
happen, I think. He just wasn't going to re-sign here. At least we
got some good players. Gagne, I kind of felt we had a chance to
sign him. I'm a little more surprised, but we move on."

Milwaukee, clinging to its NL Central lead, also had been
interested in obtaining Gagne.

Gagne was on Boston's radar screen last winter before he signed
a one-year contract with the Rangers in December after eight
successful seasons with the Dodgers.

He went 2-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 16 saves for last-place Texas,
which began a three-game series in Cleveland 15{ games behind the
first-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.

The 31-year-old Gagne was a three-time All-Star and won the NL
Cy Young Award in 2003 when he saved 55 games for the Dodgers.

He had 45 saves in 2004 but was limited to just 14 the following
season because of elbow problems that eventually needed surgery.
The hard-throwing native of Montreal pitched in only two games last
season as he tried to come back from another elbow operation as
well as surgery to repair a herniated disk.

From 2002-04, Gagne set a major league record by converting 84
consecutive saves. There were still doubts about his durability,
but he has been able to pitch on consecutive days this season,
further proof that he's healthy.

The 25-year-old Gabbard went 4-0 with a 3.73 ERA, taking
Curt Schilling's spot in the rotation while the right-hander was on the
disabled list. Schilling, who was scheduled to make a rehab start
on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, could be activated later this week.

Murphy, 26, was batting .280 with nine homers and 47 RBIs in 100
games for Triple-A Pawtucket.

Beltre, 18, batted .215 with five homers and 13 RBIs for the
Gulf Coast Red Sox.

Buster Olney is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.