The Phillies also came to terms with outfielder Reggie Taylor and pitchers Brad Baisley and Eric Junge yesterday and signed lefthanded reliever Allen McDill to a minor-league deal. McDill, 30, pitched in 15 games with the Boston Red Sox last season, posting a 5.52 ERA. Brought in primarily to face lefthanded hitters, he struck out 16 batters in 14 2/3 innings and held lefties to a .233 (7 for 30) average. McDill has been invited to spring training as a nonroster player.
Red Sox. Boston fans are willing to pay more to put a winning team on the field, incoming owner John Henry said yesterday, a day after the team announced a 7.4 percent increase in ticket prices next season.
Fenway Park is the smallest stadium in the major leagues, and Red Sox tickets were the most expensive in baseball last season. They averaged $36.08 last year after a 27 percent increase from 2000.
"Well, that's the problem with having the smallest facility in the majors," Henry said in a telephone interview. "There is incredible demand."
Henry said Boston needs a stadium with 10,000 more seats to satisfy demand and to compete.
"When the Red Sox come to Yankee Stadium they'll have 57,000 fans in attendance; here we'll have 34,000, but it's a sellout," he said.
Henry's $660 million purchase of the team was approved by major-league baseball owners earlier this month. But the deal cannot close until after he reaches an agreement to sell the Florida Marlins to Montreal Expos owner Jeffrey Loria and baseball owners approve that sale. Henry also must sell his 1 percent share in the New York Yankees.
Owners meeting. Commissioner Bud Selig called for a meeting of major-league owners to approve Loria's purchase of the Marlins.
Henry and Loria have been negotiating a $158 million sale of the Marlins since November.
The meeting most likely will be Feb. 11, 12 or 13 in the Chicago area, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee said it may hold a hearing on baseball's antitrust exemption.
Separately, baseball owners and players recessed their talks on a new labor contract after three days of sessions in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Noteworthy. Lefthander Kent Mercker and righthander Bobby Chouinard agreed to minor-league contracts with the Colorado Rockies. . . . Infielder Mike Lansing, who played for the Red Sox last season, agreed to a minor-league contract with Cleveland.
This article contains information from Inquirer wire services.