Beleaguered Josh Beckett combines on shutout of Mariners

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Josh Beckett’s critics will have to stand down for a few days: the occasional golfer and devourer of fried chicken blanked the Mariners for seven innings and struck out nine in Boston’s 5-0 victory Tuesday.

It was actually Beckett’s fifth quality start in seven tries this season. His other two outings were pretty spectacularly bad (he gave up five homers to the Tigers in his season debut and seven runs in 2 1/3 innings to the Indians last week), but he’s been good more often than not despite dealing with diminished velocity.

Beckett allowed just four hits in this one, though the Mariners did make a couple of bids for homers. Justin Smoak hit a drive over the wall in right in the second inning that appeared to be foul, though replay was inconclusive. The umpires ruled it foul and then went to the replay before standing by the call. In the sixth, Kyle Seager hit a ball to deep right with two men on. It would have been a homer in a few parks, but in Fenway, it was just a long out.

Beckett is now 3-4 with a 4.97 ERA this season. The Red Sox have won five in a row to improve to 17-19.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.