A thumb injury is holding up a trade that would send third baseman Mike Lowell from the Boston Red Sox to Texas Rangers, the

Boston Globe


The teams had reached preliminary agreement last week that would send minor league catcher Max Ramirez to Boston, with the Red Sox picking up $9 million of Lowell's $12 million salary for next season.

The Globe reported the Rangers had signed off on the condition of Lowell's surgically repaired right hip but were continuing to examine his right thumb.

"There are still things to go over,'' Red Sox assistant general manager Ben Cherington said, according to the Globe.

Another issue thought to be holding up the deal was the approval of the commissioner's office, which must OK a cash swap of that mangnitude.


* Chien-Ming Wang became a free agent when the New York Yankees failed to offer a contract for next season by Saturday night's deadline.

The 29-year-old righthander was a 19-game winner in 2006 and 2007, starting the Yankees' postseason openers in both years, but he hasn't been the same since severely injuring his right foot while running the bases at Houston on June 15, 2008.

* Designated hitter Jack Cust became a free agent when the Oakland Athletics failed to offer him a 2010 contract.

Cust hit .240 with 25 homers and 70 RBI last season but struck out 195 times, becoming the first player to lead the AL in strikeouts in three straight seasons since Minnesota's Bobby Darwin from 1972-74. Cust whiffed 164 times in 2007 and 197 times in 2008.

* Righthanded reliever Grant Balfour has agreed to a $2.05 million, 1-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, avoiding arbitration.