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Red Sox Sign Johnny Damon

December 21, 2001

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BOSTON (AP) _ When the Red Sox traded Carl Everett to the Rangers, Johnny Damon knew he wanted to play in Boston.

Damon got his wish Friday when he agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with the Red Sox.

``After the Everett trade I knew Boston had a void for a leadoff hitter and a center fielder, so this is perfect,″ the outfielder said at a news conference.

General manager Dan Duquette said Damon will probably play center, and Trot Nixon will remain in right.

Damon also wanted to come to the East Coast to be closer to his family, which lives in Florida.

There is plenty of pressure playing in Boston, which has not won a World Series since 1918, but Damon is confident in his abilities and thinks he will fit in well with his teammates.

``This is a team that can possibly throw off the Yankees, even this year,″ he said.

Damon, 28, was among the top hitters on the free-agent market, batting .256 with nine homers and 49 RBIs for the Oakland Athletics last season.

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