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.
BOSTON -- Justin Smoak hit a pair of homers and Steve Pearce drove in two runs when Boston second baseman Brock Holt lost his popup in the sun, and the Toronto Blue Jays held on to beat the Red Sox 8-6 on Thursday.
The teams split the four-game series. Including the 15-inning game on Tuesday with Toronto, the AL East-leading Red Sox played 76 innings in about 144 hours - the equivalent of 8 1/2 games in six days.
Dominic Leone (2-0) earned the win. Starter Francisco Liriano got just five outs, allowing three runs in the second, but Toronto came back with four in the third to take a 5-3 lead against Doug Fister (0-4).
Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 24th save.
Smoak has 26 homers this season. His previous career high was 20, in 2013.
It was 7-3 in the seventh when Dustin Pedroia, in the lineup at designated hitter after the long week, hit a three-run homer - his third hit of the day and his fourth homer in 11 games.
Smoak, who also had an RBI single, added his second homer of the game in the ninth.
BOSTON — John Farrell might have stopped short of actually stumping for a deal. Still, the Red Sox manager on Thursday morning spoke highly of the potential impact of a trade and indicated his players are waiting to see what this front office can add to a first-place team.
From a morale perspective, Farrell sees a potential boon in an acquisition.
“I think it’s always a plus,” Farrell said. “It’s a strong sign that everyone is aligned to support, add to, fortify — however you want to describe it — an area of need. And I think there’s a lot that goes into — there’s almost an injection of maybe that support or, further momentum that, OK, this is going to better equip us to go deep into the season.”
The players, Farrell said, have an anticipation for the possibility of a trade as well.
“I think there is. I think players carry that,” Farrell said. “They’re well in tune. Maybe some of them might be wondering OK, am I out?...So there’s a tentative period of time that we’ll go through here in the next 10-14 days. But adding to [the team] I think is always a positive.”
A day earlier, Farrell noted the improvement the Yankees made in their trade for Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.