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Red Sox Pitcher Exercises Option

November 3, 1997

BOSTON (AP) _ Red Sox pitcher Steve Avery, who barely reached a contract incentive that gave him the right to a 1998 contract, decided Monday to pick up the option that will pay him $3.9 million next season.

Avery had a 6-7 record with a 6.42 ERA this season, making $4.85 million but getting pulled from the rotation after his 17th start following a four-start stretch in which he allowed 26 earned runs in 12 2-3 innings. He was guaranteed a contract for ’98 _ if he wanted it _ if he made at least 18 starts.

In spite of the pitcher’s poor performance, Avery’s agent threatened to file a grievance, claiming he was benched to keep him from reaching the incentive. But Red Sox manager Jimy Williams, reportedly against the wishes of the front office, put Avery back in the rotation for one more start.

At the time, Avery said he might not want to pick up the option, saying ``You’d have to be a little crazy to come back to something like this.″ But after four consecutive bad years, he was unlikely to command as high of a salary on the free agent market.

Through a spokesman, general manager Dan Duquette said, ``The Red Sox hope that Steve will regain his early successful form on a consistent basis.″

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