Five signed to minor league contracts

December, 3, 2010
12/03/10
11:49
PM ET
The Red Sox have signed five free agents to minor league contracts.
They are: right-handed pitchers Jason Bergmann, Brandon Duckworth and Santo Luis, and infielders Nate Spears and Drew Sutton.

Bergmann, Duckworth, Spears and Sutton have also been invited to Boston’s Major League Spring Training camp as non-roster players.

Here's some background on the players, courtesy of the Red Sox media department:

Bergmann, 29, spent the majority of the 2010 season pitching for Washington’s Triple-A Syracuse affiliate, posting a 6-4 record and a 2.84 ERA (16 ER/50.2 IP) with 56 strikeouts compared to 19 walks in 43 relief appearances. The right-hander led the International League with 17 holds while holding opponents to a .221 average (42-for-190). He also made four relief appearances with the Nationals last season, going 0-1 with one hold and a 15.43 ERA (4 ER/2.1 IP). Selected by Montreal in the 11th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Bergmann has a career 12-24 Major League record with a 5.04 ERA (218 ER/389.2 IP), 299 strikeouts and 153 walks in 155 games (50 starts) over parts of six seasons with the Nationals (2005-10).

The 34-year-old Duckworth went 5-4 with a 3.32 ERA (39 ER/105.2 IP), 102 strikeouts and 45 walks in 25 games (16 starts) with Philadelphia’s Triple-A Lehigh Valley club in 2010. He last pitched in the Majors with Kansas City in 2008, going 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA (19 ER/38.0 IP) in seven starts for the Royals. Originally signed by the Phillies as an undrafted free agent on August 13, 1997, Duckworth has gone 23-34 with one save and a 5.28 ERA (300 ER/511.0 IP), 376 strikeouts and 228 walks in 134 Major League games (84 starts) over parts of eight seasons with the Phillies (2001-03), Astros (2004-05) and Royals (2006-08).

Luis, 26, combined to go 6-2 with one save, a 3.99 ERA (30 ER/67.2 IP), 64 strikeouts and 37 walks in 38 relief appearances between the White Sox Double-A Birmingham affiliate and the Red Sox Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket clubs in 2010. Claimed off waivers by Boston on April 14, he went 5-1 with one save and a 2.72 ERA (14 ER/46.1 IP) in 23 games with Portland before a July 15 promotion to Pawtucket where he was 0-1 with a 7.36 mark (15 ER/18.1 IP) in 13 outings. Luis was originally signed by Houston as an international free agent on September 11, 2002 and is 27-22 with 41 saves, a 3.71 ERA (186 ER/450.2 IP), 525 strikeouts and 185 walks in 231 career minor league games (19 starts) in the Astros, White Sox and Red Sox organizations. Additionally, he has posted a 2.57 ERA (2 ER/7.0 IP) this offseason in 6 relief appearances with Estrellas de Oriente of the Dominican Winter League.

Spears, 25, hit .272 (140-for-514) with 30 doubles, four triples, 20 home runs, 82 RBI, 104 runs scored, 84 walks and 13 stolen bases in 136 games with Double-A Portland in 2010. Named a mid-season All-Star, he led both the Eastern League and Red Sox minor league system and ranked seventh overall among all minor leaguers in runs scored. Spears also paced Boston farmhands and the EL in walks, finished fourth in the league with a team-high 238 total bases and tied for the team lead in homers. In his first season in the Red Sox organization, he led Eastern League second basemen in games (130), fielding percentage (.982), total chances (601), putouts (201), assists (389) and double plays (96). Originally selected by Baltimore in the fifth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Spears has hit .275 (816-for-2,964) with 152 doubles, 41 triples, 47 home runs, 330 RBI, 482 runs, 375 walks and 72 stolen bases in 862 minor league games in the Orioles, Cubs and Red Sox organizations.

Sutton, 27, split the 2010 season between the Reds and Indians organizations, hitting a combined .256 (10-for-39) with a double, two home runs, eight RBI and five runs scored in 13 Major League contests. He started 10 of his 11 games with Cleveland, including six at shortstop and four at second base, and made no errors in 51 total chances overall in the field on the season. The switch-hitter batted .273 (98-for-359) with 24 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 42 RBI in 113 Triple-A games between the two stops, including a .302 clip (29-for-96) in 29 games with Columbus after being claimed by the Cleveland organization on August 6. At the Triple-A level, he appeared in 22 games at first base, 30 at second base, 11 at third base, four at shortstop and 38 in the outfield. Selected by the Astros in the 15th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Sutton has hit .229 (24-for-105) with five doubles, one triple, three home runs, 17 RBI and 15 runs scored in 55 Major League games over parts of two seasons with the Reds (2009-10) and Indians (2010).

All of the free agents are on the Pawtucket roster.

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