Melancon perfect in one-inning return for Red Sox

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Melancon perfect in one-inning return for Red Sox

MIAMI -- It didn't affect the game in any significant way, but reliever Mark Melancon was happy to pitch the eighth inning Monday night, his first appearance in the big leagues since the second week of the season.

The fact that it was a perfect inning was a bonus.

Melancon, who found himself optioned back to the minor leagues after just four appearances, came out of the bullpen after starter Josh Beckett was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth.

He recorded a flyout, then two groundouts in a 1-2-3 inning.

"That was what I was hoping to see," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He had a much better angle on his fastball and his curveball was sharp. He looked totally in control."

"It felt good to be out there," said Melancon, who spent nearly two months at Pawtucket, waiting for a chance to return. "It was definitely tough (to be in the minors). But at the same time, I knew why I was down there (and) everybody up here was doing really well. While I was down there, I was just staying focused and waiting for the opportunity.

"It's nice to be back. It wasn't a crucial thing (to have a perfect inning in his first outing), but it was definitely nice to be back out there and here with the team."

While he was in the minors, Melancon said he "didn't change anything mechanically. It was just more of an approach and mindset. I felt good. I felt like I'm back."

Comparing himself now to the way he was throwing in April, Melancon believes he's far more aggressive -- in both his approach and his pitch selection.

"I've searched and searched for that answer," said Melancon, "and I think that's the best answer -- just being aggressive."

Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

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Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

OXON HILL, Md. - Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

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