Notes: Sox sign Albers, minor leaguers; trade Patterson


Notes: Sox sign Albers, minor leaguers; trade Patterson

By Sean McAdam

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 Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.