Trade doesn't clear up Sox' outfield situation

Trade doesn't clear up Sox' outfield situation
December 29, 2011, 3:03 am
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BOSTON -- While the trade for closer Andrew Bailey helped shore up the Red Sox bullpen, it did little to help clear up the teams outfield mix . . even with the acquisition of Ryan Sweeney in the deal.

Sweeney, like Reddick, is a left-handed hitter who is seen by many as a fourth, or even fifth, outfielder rather than a starter.

He appeared in 108 games overall in 2011 and played all three outfield positions -- 41 games in left, 34 in center and 23 in right. In 264 at-bats, he hit .265 with 1 home run, 25 RBI, a .346 OBP, and .341 slugging percentage.

Sweeney, who turns 27 in February, was a second-round pick by the White Sox out of Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 2003. He made his big-league debut Sept. 1, 2006. He was traded by Chicago to Oakland in January 2008 with Fautino De Los Santos and Gio Gonzalez for Nick Swisher. In 2009, he saw the most playing time of his six-season career, appearing in 134 games (121 starts), with 484 at-bats, playing all three outfield positions, batting .293, with a career-high 6 home runs, 53 RBI, and .755 OPS.

With Carl Crawford in left and Jacoby Ellsbury in center, Sweeney will, as of now, vie for the right-field job with Darnell McDonald, the only right-handed hitting outfielder on the Sox 40-man roster with major league experience. Right-handed hitting Mike Aviles, primarily an infielder who was sent to Puerto Rico this offseason to become more familiar with the outfield, will also be in the Sox outfield mix. (Che-Hsuan Lin, added to the 40-man in November, is also a right-handed batter but was promoted to Triple-A last season.)

Left-handed-hitting Ryan Kalish, whohad neck surgery in September, is expected to be ready for workouts in spring training, but not likely for major league consideration to start the season.

Sweeney has two more seasons under club control, and is eligible for arbitration for the second time.