The first move in the Ben Cherington era as Boston Red Sox GM is in the books. The Red Sox have picked up the $6 million option on shortstop Marco Scutaro.

Here’s the release:

BOSTON, MA – The Boston Red Sox today exercised the 2012 contract option on shortstop Marco Scutaro.

Boston Red SoxThe announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington.

Scutaro, who turned 36 today, hit a career-best .299 (118-for-395), the second-highest clip among American League shortstops with at least 400 plate appearances, and also set a career mark with a .423 slugging percentage in 113 games for the Red Sox in 2011. He tallied 26 doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 54 RBI, 59 runs and 38 walks this past season while posting a .358 on-base percentage and .781 OPS, both the second-best marks of his career. Scutaro made 109 appearances at shortstop in 2011, including 103 starts, and also started two games at second base. His .301 clip (116-for-386) as a shortstop during the 2011 season was the best by a Red Sox while playing the position since Nomar Garciaparra’s .301 average in 2003.

In 263 games with the Red Sox since he signed with the club as a free agent on December 4, 2009, Scutaro has batted .284 (292-for-1,027) with 64 doubles, one triple, 18 home runs, 110 RBI, 151 runs and 91 walks. Originally signed by the Indians as an international free agent in 1994, he has a .270 career average (1,019-for-3,768) with 214 doubles, 14 triples, 68 home runs, 404 RBI, 538 runs, 388 walks and 44 stolen bases in 1,103 Major League games over parts of 10 seasons with the Mets (2002-03), Athletics (2004-07), Blue Jays (2008-09) and Red Sox (2010-11), and has posted the highest zone rating among AL shortstops since 2007 (minimum 320 games) at .844.

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