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03/31/06 10:10 PM ET

Report: Ortiz near extension with Sox

Slugger would reportedly sign four-year, $50 million deal

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox and slugger David Ortiz could be closing in on a contract extension.

ESPN Deportes reported Friday that the club and its designated hitter are close to agreeing on a four-year, $50 million extension.

"Sounds good to me," quipped Ortiz. "I don't know, I haven't heard anything. I'm serious."

"We've just had some quiet discussions, that's all," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said in an e-mail.

Ortiz said in January that he'd love to sign a new deal that would keep him in Boston. The left-handed DH has a club option for 2007, capping off the extension he signed in May 2004.

Ortiz's career has blossomed since coming to the Red Sox. After hitting 31 home runs with 101 RBIs in 2003, followed by a 2004 season in which he helped the Red Sox win the World Series with 41 homers and 139 RBIs, he enjoyed a third consecutive career year in 2005.

The 30-year-old Ortiz cemented his status as one of the elite sluggers and clutch performers in the game by batting .300 and establishing career highs with 47 home runs, 148 RBIs, 119 runs, 102 walks, a .604 slugging percentage and a .397 on-base percentage last season.

He was named team MVP for the second consecutive year by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America and finished second to Alex Rodriguez in American League MVP voting (listed first or second on every ballot cast). He won the Hank Aaron Award, his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award, and received the Edgar Martinez Award as the top DH in the AL for the third straight year.

Ortiz won the Players Choice Award as the AL's Outstanding Player, led the majors in RBIs and ranked among AL leaders in extra-base hits (first with 88), home runs (second with 47, just one behind Rodriguez), slugging (second at .604), RBI ratio (second with 1:4.1 at-bats), walks (second with 102, 27 more than his previous best from 2004), total bases (third with a career-high 363), runs (third with 119), home run ratio (third with 1:12.8 at-bats) and on-base percentage (fourth at .397).

He was elected to start the All-Star Game at DH as the leading vote-getter in the Majors, his second trip to the Midsummer Classic and first start.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.