BOSTON, MA-The Boston Red Sox today signed free agent infielder Ryan Roberts, who will be active for tonight’s game against the Rangers at Fenway Park, wearing No. 7. To make room for him on the 25-man roster, infielder Brock Holt was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. To make room for Roberts on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Steven Wright was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement.
Roberts, 33, is a veteran of parts of the last eight major league seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays (2006-07), Texas Rangers (2008), Arizona Diamondbacks (2009-12), and Tampa Bay Rays (2012-13). He played 18 games with the Chicago Cubs this spring.
The right-handed batter has hit .266 against left-handed pitching in the major leagues, with a .341 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage against southpaws. Originally signed by the Blue Jays as an 18th-round selection in the 2003 June Draft, he has hit .245 (363-for-1,481) with 204 runs scored, 71 doubles, four triples, 46 home runs, 169 RBI, 163 walks, and 35 stolen bases in 510 big league games overall.
Defensively, he has primarily played third base (217 games, 195 starts) and second base (197 games, 148 starts), while also appearing in left field (36 games, 24 starts), first base (3 games), shortstop (1 game), and right field (1 game).
In four stints with the Rays last season, Roberts hit .247 (40-for-162) with six doubles, five homers, 1 RBI, and 11 walks in 60 games. He batted .305 with an .845 OPS against left-handed pitching, with four of his five homers coming off southpaws. One of his two multi-homer games of the year came on April 22 at Tropicana Field, when he went deep twice off New York Yankees lefty CC Sabathia.
In 2013, he appeared defensively for Tampa Bay at second base (48 games, 30 starts), third base (9 games, 6 starts), and first base (3 games). He also played in 30 games for the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate in Durham.
The native of Fort Worth, TX made a career-high 127 starts with the Diamondbacks in 2011, playing 107 games at third base. That year he set single-season highs while ranking among primary National League third basemen with 66 walks (1st), 18 stolen bases (1st in MLB), and 19 home runs (3rd).
He started all five games in Arizona’s 2011 National League Division Series loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, hitting .350 (7-for-20) with a double, two homers, and six RBI. In Game 4, he hit a first-inning grand slam.
Holt, 25, was recalled to Boston yesterday but did not appear in the Red Sox’ loss to the Brewers. He returns to Pawtucket, where he hit .364 (4-for-11) with two doubles, two walks, three runs scored, and a stolen base in three games to begin the season. Acquired by the Red Sox as part of a six-player trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates in December 2012, the left-handed batter appeared in 26 games with the Red Sox in 2013 and made 17 starts, all at third base, hitting .203 (12-for-59) with two doubles, 11 RBI, and seven walks.
Wright, 29, had been placed on the 15-day disabled list on March 27 (retroactive to March 21) while recovering from right sports hernia surgery. The right-handed knuckleball pitcher made his big league debut with four outings for the Red Sox last year, including one start, and went 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA (8 ER/13.1 IP) and 10 strikeouts. He spent the majority of the 2013 season with Pawtucket, where he posted an 8-7 record with a 3.46 ERA (52 ER/135.1 IP) in 24 starts. Signed by the Indians as a second-round selection in the 2006 June Draft, he was acquired by the Red Sox at the 2012 trade deadline after converting to knuckleball to begin the 2011 season.