Red Sox Add Flexibility With Hinske

Gearing up for a crucial five-game series against the Yankees this weekend, the Red Sox bolstered their depth by acquiring Eric Hinske from the Blue Jays for a player to be named. Boston also received $2.813 million to cover half of Hinske’s 2007 salary.

Hinske, 29, can play the outfield or infield corners. He’ll probably start by sharing time with Wily Mo Pena in right field while Trot Nixon is on the disabled list. Hinske also will allow the Red Sox to spell regulars at his other positions as well as give them a lefthanded bat off the bench. He’s hitting .264/.353/.513 with 12 homers and 29 RBIs in 197 at-bats over 78 games. Hinske’s power is his best tool, though he never has approached his production from 2002 (24 homers, 86 RBIs), when he was the American League rookie of the year. Hinske has below-average speed but good instincts on the bases. He’s not much of a defender at any of his positions, though he does have some arm strength and hustles. He’s making $4.325 million this year and $5.626 million in 2007, the last two seasons in a five-year, $14.75 million contract he signed following his rookie season. Hinske is a career .259/.337/.437 hitter with 78 homers and 313 RBIs in 655 games.

Update: The Red Sox will complete the deal by sending cash considerations to the Blue Jays.

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