BOSTON – New Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington made his first move since his promotion, picking up the contract option on shortstop Marco Scutaro on Sunday.

The Red Sox will pay $6 million for Scutaro, who helped stabilize a position that seemed to be in perpetual flux since Nomar Garciaparra was traded away in the World Series championship season of 2004. Before Scutaro arrived in 2009, General Manager Theo Epstein churned through seven regular shortstops in five seasons.

Scutaro, who turned 36 on Sunday, hit a career-best .299 this season, second-best among AL shortstops who qualified for the batting title. He also had a career-best .423 slugging percentage.

FREE AGENCY: The Yankees have made a contract offer to ace CC Sabathia, who has until today to decide whether to opt out of the $92 million and four years remaining on his current deal.

The offer was made over the weekend, the person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because no details were announced.

Sabathia agreed to a $161 million, seven-year contract before the 2009 season and has gone 59-23 with a 3.18 ERA during the regular season for New York.

If he opts out, the 31-year-old left-hander would become the top pitcher on the free-agent market.

This year’s free agents are headed by first baseman Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, shortstop Jose Reyes, and pitchers C.J. Wilson, Edwin Jackson and Mark Buehrle. 

CARDINALS: A red sea of fans jammed downtown St. Louis to honor the World Series champions and send a clear message to Albert Pujols: Please stay.

An official crowd estimate was not immediately available for the parade down the streets of St. Louis and the celebration at Busch Stadium, but city officials expected several hundred thousand, and it was clearly that, if not more. 

GIANTS: Left-handed reliever Javier Lopez has agreed to an $8.5 million, two-year contract to stay with San Francisco, which also picked up the $5 million contract option for fellow lefty reliever Jeremy Affeldt.