BOSTON Just a few hours after shipping infielder Jed Lowrie to Houston, the Red Sox signed free agent infielder Nick Punto to a reported two-year, 3 million contract with a possible 500,000 in incentives. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman was first to report the deal.
Its a good pickup for them, said a major league scout. Puntos a good defensive player. He can play around the infield. He plays hard.
Punto, who turned 34 last month, has played parts of 11 seasons for the Phillies (three seasons), Twins (seven), and last season for the Cardinals, when he hit .278 with 1 home run, 20 RBI, a .388 on-base percentage, and .421 slugging percentage over 63 games and 166 plate appearances. He played second base (45 games), shortstop (8 games), and third base (7) for the Cardinals last season. He also has 11 career games in the outfield, but none since 2008 while with Minnesota.
He is a career .249 hitter, with a .325 OBP, .327 SLG, 14 home runs, and 218 RBI.
The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.
Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.
The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.
Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.
Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.
If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack.
The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)
Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.
A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.
Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.
An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.