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There are Christmas presents, and then there's the one Warwick native Dan Wheeler gave to his family Saturday. The veteran relief pitcher has signed a one-year deal with the Boston Red Sox with a vesting option for 2012. Wheeler said he has taken his physical, meaning the deal is complete.
"I've always loved the teams I've played on," said Wheeler Saturday afternoon, "but there's a little part of me that's always wanted to put on the Red Sox uniform. I'm pretty excited about that."
The 33-year-old Wheeler, who pitched at Pilgrim High, posted a 3.35 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays. In the last three seasons, Wheeler has a combined ERA of 3.24.
Wheeler has pitched in two World Series -- 2005 with Houston and 2008 with Tampa -- yet has been unable to snag the big prize.
"Winning is the most important thing for me at this point," Wheeler said. "It can be a long six months if you're playing for a team (not in contention). There's nothing like October baseball, and that's why we all play this game. You never know how many chances you'll get and you've got to take advantage of every single one."
For more about Wheeler and his connection with Hurd Post 14 Legion head coach Jim Dawber, read Monday's edition of The Call.