Notes: Sox sign Albers, minor leaguers; trade Patterson

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Notes: Sox sign Albers, minor leaguers; trade Patterson

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

Bobby Jenks wasn't the only transaction for the Red Sox Thursday -- just the biggest name for the biggest money.

The team also announced the signing of one other major-league reliever, completed a deal from earlier this month, and agreed to terms with six minor-league free agents.

Boston signed Matt Albers to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal for 875,000. Albers pitched for Baltimore the last three seasons, appearing in 62 games while compiling a 4.52 ERA. He also pitched for the Orioles in 2008 and 2009, having come over from Houston as part of the trade for Miguel Tejada.

Albers will compete for one of two remaining bullpen spots. Albers is a sinker-slider type who gets lots of ground balls.

The Sox added six minor-league free agents, including four lefties: Rich Hill, Andrew Miller, Randy Williams and Lenny DiNardo.

All but Williams have some previous history with the Sox.

Hill pitched part of last season at Pawtucket, then was promoted to the big-league team in September. Hill actually had a deal in place weeks ago with the Sox, but it wasn't formally announced because the Sox would have had to expose him to the Rule V draft, held last week at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings in Orlando.

Miller was obtained in a trade with Florida last month, but when the two sides couldn't reach agreement on a deal, was non-tendered earlier this month. By signing a minor-league deal, the Sox could potentially have Miller start the season at Pawtucket to work through some of the mechanical and command issues he's battled without exposing him to waivers.

DiNardo pitched for the Red Sox for parts of three seasons from 2004 through 2006.

Williams pitched in 27 games for the Chicago White Sox last season and has pitched for Seattle, San Diego and Colorado in his career.

The Sox also signed Clevelan Santeliz, who spent the last six seasons in the White Sox' minor-league system.

Hill, Miller, Williams and Santeliz were given invitations to spring training.

Finally, the Red Sox signed former outfielder Ryan Harvey to a minor-league deal with the intention of converting him to the mound. Harvey was the No. 6 overall pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2003, but never got above Double A while the Cubs, and more recently, the Colorado Rockies.

The Sox officially closed out the Adrian Gonzalez trade when they sent utilityman Eric Patterson as the player to be named later, joining prospects Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes.

Patterson hit .226 with two homers and seven RBI in 45 games with the Red Sox last season. He was obtained from Oakland on the final weekend of June when the Sox were struck by a rash of injuries.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

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Extended podcast with David Ortiz on his career, PED's, the Marathon bombing and more

David Ortiz offers thoughtful answers and insight in this interview with Sean McAdam touching on his beginning with the Red Sox, the Boston Marathon bombings, showing up on a PED list, his impact in the dugout, and more.

You can also see pieces of the interview on CSN Friday at 6:30pm on a special Arbella Early Edition with Gary Tanguay and Lou Merloni.

RELATED Special Video Series - "Big Papi - An Oral History" from CSN

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

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Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

NEW YORK -- Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a terrific 2015, his second full season in the big leagues.

He finished second in the American League batting race, established himself as a solid defender at short and generally showed immense promise.

The only thing he didn't do was show much home run power, limited to just seven homers.

This past spring, both manager John Farrell and Chili Davis expressed confidence that the home runs would come, and that they would come organically.

And so they have. In Thursday night's loss to the New York Yankees, a solo homer in the fifth by Bogaerts represented the only Red Sox run of the night in a 5-1 loss. It also gave Bogaerts 21 homers for the year, exactly triple his output from a year ago.

"The maturity is clearly taking hold," said John Farrell of Bogaerts' growth. "You start to get a couple thousand at-bats at the major league level, you're starting to understand your swing, you're picking out certain counts in which to leverage a little bit more. He's been able to do that.

"Home runs are up across the board. But with Xander in particular, he's physically maturing and he's maturing as a major league player as well."

Bogaerts took the advise of Davis and others and didn't set out to try to hit more homers this year. He knew they would come in time.

"Maybe not this quick," he said of the big increase, "but probably in the future, yeah. That's what I did in the minor leagues, so it's kind of something that I thought might translate to the big leagues, too."

Bogaerts is hard-pressed to put his finger on any on factor to explain the big uptick. After all, he didn't change his swing or his stance.

Rather, the homers came as a result of him understanding himself better as a hitter and consistently taking the right approach at the plate.

"It's just (a matter of) taking good swings in good counts," he offered. "Sometimes, you're looking for one. But overall, it's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose."

It hasn't hurt that he's surrounded by quality hitters in the Red Sox lineup, with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia ahead of him earlier in the year, and now Pedrioa ahead of him and David Ortiz behind him.

In addition to seeing better pitches because of who's surrounding him, Bogaerts has also benefitted from listening to Ortiz, who watches his at-bats and offers advice when called for.

Still, most of the credit belongs to Bogaerts himself, who has grown into his power naturally -- just as his manager and hitting coach forecast.