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Saturday, July 26, 2014
Pirates tracking Sox relievers

By Gordon Edes

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Pirates, looking to upgrade their bullpen, had a scout in Toronto when the Red Sox were there earlier this week, have two scouts here watching the Sox, and plan to scout them through the trading deadline back in Boston.

The Sox have four relievers on the major-league roster who can become free agents after the season: closer Koji Uehara, left-handed setup man Andrew Miller and middle men Burke Badenhop and Craig Breslow. They also have left-hander Felix Doubront, who began the season in the rotation and would welcome a change of scenery, and right-hander Edward Mujica, who has been a disappointment in the first season of a two-year deal.

The Sox do not seem inclined to trade Uehara. Miller, who has been dominant this season, would probably bring the biggest return, particularly if packaged with other pieces. Badenhop, who leads big-league relievers in double plays induced (13), has done well in his role. Breslow has shown considerable slippage from last season. Doubront and Mujica are eminently available.

If the Sox are looking for outfield prospects in return, the Pirates would seem to match up well, led by 21-year-old Josh Bell, a switch-hitting slugger just promoted to Double-A after tearing up Class A Bradenton with a .335 average, and 2013 first-round draft pick Austin Meadows, a 19-year-old left-handed hitter judged to have the system’s best strike zone discipline by Baseball America.