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Red Sox, Dempster have deal

BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms with former Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster on a two-year contract worth $26.5 million, two people familiar with the negotiations said Thursday.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington would not comment on Dempster at a news conference to announce the signing of outfielder Shane Victorino. “We’re engaged with a pitcher. That’s all I can say at this point,” Cherington said, without mentioning Dempster by name.

But a few hours later the sides completed the framework of a deal, the two people familiar with the talks said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement was pending a physical.

Dempster would help a rotation led by Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, promising young pitchers coming off subpar seasons. At the other end of the staff are Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront; pitchers the Red Sox hope can develop into dependable starters. John Lackey returns after missing last season because of elbow ligament-replacement surgery.

Dempster, 12-8 with a 3.38 ERA this year, gives the Red Sox a reliable pitcher who has thrown more than 200 innings for four of the past five seasons. He was 5-5 with a 2.25 ERA with the Cubs this year before being traded to Texas. He was 7-3 with a 5.03 ERA for the Rangers.

Victorino joins Jacoby Ellsbury in the Red Sox’s outfield, with the opportunity to replace the 2011 AL MVP runner-up when Ellsbury’s contract expires at the end of next season. In the meantime, Victorino is slotted for right field, where he has not played regularly since 2007.

Twins sign Correia: At Minneapolis, the Minnesota Twins have filled another hole in a staff that was full of them last season, when their starters posted the second-worst ERA in the majors and 12 pitchers took at least five turns in the rotation.

After finalizing a $10 million, two-year contract with Kevin Correia on Thursday, general manager Terry Ryan said he’s still looking for pitching candidates after casting a wide net at last week’s winter meetings.

Correia, 32, was an All-Star in 2011 with Pittsburgh. He went 12-11 with a 4.21 ERA in 171 innings this year, losing his spot in the rotation when the Pirates traded for Wandy Rodriguez.

Reds add Hannahan: At Cincinnati, the Reds and free-agent infielder Jack Hannahan finalized a $4 million, two-year contract Thursday, giving the team added depth at third base.

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