BOSTON The bright spots in this Red Sox season have been difficult to find ,but Jarrod Saltalamacchia provided at least a glimmer of one in the Red Sox 5-4 loss to the Yankees Wednesday night at Fenway Park.Returning to the lineup for the first time since he left the game against the Blue Jays Friday night with back spasms, Saltalamacchia went 3-for-3, falling a single shy of the cycle, reaching base in all four plate appearances including a walk, with two runs scored and an RBI. He led off the ninth inning with a home run into the right field seats, his 24th homer of the season, to pull the Sox within a run.Salty had a couple of days off and his back was a little tight after he hit the triple but he stayed in there and played great, said manager Bobby Valentine. I think Saltys had a really good year for us this year, totally unappreciated by some. But did a very good job tonight and for most of the season. A walk, double, triple and homer. Thats pretty good.Saltalamacchia set a career high with three extra-base hits. His fifth-inning triple, his first hit of the night, was his first triple of the season and first since Sept. 19, 2011, against the Orioles.I got the hardest part out of the way the triple, he said. After that my back started to get tighter. I was trying to focus on that and staying in the game.It was the first time in his career that he reached base in four plate appearances.I wasnt trying to do too much because of the back, he said. I wasnt trying to overswing. I was standing in on balls, not trying to pull anything. Felt pretty good.After taking game one on Tuesday from the Yankees, the Sox stayed in Wednesdays game until their final at-bat, showing, perhaps, more fight than they have in some recent games.Im not going to say more of a fight, Saltalamacchia said. The Yankee series always means a little more to Boston fans and us. I dont think weve changed our approach,. We want to win. We dont want to lay down for anybody. We havent changed our approach.Although Saltalamacchia is hitting just .232 for the season, with a .293 on-base percentage, he is slugging .480, third among major league catchers entering Wednesdays game. He also entered the game tied for second-most home runs by major league catchers. His 24 home runs are the most by a Sox catcher since Jason Variteks 25 in 2003.If I finish the season doing well, you feel good, Saltalamacchia said. One guy cant win all the games. David Ortiz is out and thats taken a big hit on our offense. It would be better if the team went into the offseason feeling better where were at. I wasnt thinking too much about my swing, just trying to put good at-bats together.
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.
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."