Red Sox, Youkilis agree to deal

The Red Sox locked up another of their young stars to a long-term deal Thursday.

Boston avoided arbitration with Kevin Youkilis, agreeing to a four-year contract with the first baseman worth more than $40 million. The deal includes an option for a fifth year.

The deal announced Friday includes Youkilis' last two years of arbitration eligibility and delays his chance to become a free agent by two years.

Youkilis, 29, enjoyed a breakout season in 2008, hitting .312 with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs. His most impressive work might have been in the field, where he moved from third base to first when the Red Sox acquired Mike Lowell, then back to third when Lowell was injured.

Earlier this offseason, Boston signed second baseman Dustin Pedroia to a long-term deal. The American League MVP received a six-year contract worth $40.5 million.

The Red Sox have not gone to arbitration since Theo Epstein took over as GM. Closer Jonathan Papelbon and reliever Javier Lopez have also filed for arbitration this offseason.

Youkilis won the
Hank Aaron Award as the AL's top offensive player last season. He finished third in AL MVP voting, behind Pedroia and Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.