Red Sox Sign Five Free Agents to Minor League Contracts

The Red Sox announced the signing of five free agents to 2011 minor league contracts on Friday.

The newest members of the Sox' organization are right-handed pitchers Jason Bergmann, Brandon Duckworth and Santo Luis, and infielders Nate Spears and Drew Sutton. Along with the minor league contracts, Bergmann, Duckworth, Spears and Sutton have also been invited to Boston's major league spring training camp as non-roster players.

The 29-year-old Bergmann spent the majority of the 2010 season pitching for Washington's Triple-A Syracuse affiliate where he posted a 6-4 record and a 2.84 ERA with 56 strikeouts. The righty led the International League with 17 holds while keeping opponents to a .221 average. Bergmann made four relief appearances for the Nationals last season, going 0-1 with one hold and a 15.43 ERA. So far in his MLB career he has posted a 12-24 record with a 5.04 ERA, 299 strikeouts and 153 walks in 155 games over six seasons with Nationals from 2005-10.

Duckworth is a 34-year-old right-hander who played for the Philadelphia Triple-A Lehigh Valley club last season, posting a 5-4 record with a 3.32 ERA, 102 strikeouts and 45 walks in 25 games (16 starts). The last time he pitched in the majors was with the Kansas City Royals in 2008 where he went 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA in seven starts for the Royals. Duckworth has pitched in 134 MLB games (84 starts), going 23-34 with one save and a 5.28 ERA.

Luis is a 26-year-old righty who posted a 6-2 record with one save in 38 relief appearances between the White Sox Double-A Birmingham affiliate and the Red Sox Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket clubs last season. Originally claimed off of waivers by Boston on April 14, he went 5-1 with one save and a 2.72 ERA in 23 games with Portland before being promoted to Pawtucket where he was 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in 13 appearances.

Spears, a 25-year-old second baseman, played for Double-A Portland in 2010 where he hit .272 with 30 doubles, four triples, 20 home runs and 82 RBIs in 136 games played. Spears led both the Eastern League and the Red Sox minor league system in runs scored last season, resulting in his mid-season All-Star nod. In his first season with the Red Sox' organization, he led the EL second basemen in games (130), fielding percentage (.982), and double plays (96).

Sutton, 27, is a middle infielder who split his 2010 season between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, hitting a combined .256 with two home runs, eight RBIs and five runs scored in 13 Major League games. He started 10 of 11 games with Cleveland including six at shortstop and four at second base. The infielder made no errors in 51 total chances on the season. The switch-hitter batted .273 with 24 doubles, five home runs and 42 RBIs in 113 Triple-A appearances.

All of the five free agents are on the Pawtucket roster.

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