Here’s the release from the Boston Red Sox announcing their extension of their Player Development Contract with the Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League.

Greenville DriveThe Boston Red Sox and Greenville (SC) Drive today announced the extension of their Player Development Contract (PDC) for an additional four years. The extension keeps the Red Sox South Atlantic League Single-A affiliate in Greenville through the 2016 season.

Red Sox Director of Player Development Ben Crockett and Drive Co-Owner/President Craig Brown made the announcement.

“As an organization, we truly value our relationship with the Drive and the City of Greenville, and we are excited to extend our affiliation for an additional four seasons,” said Crockett.  “Our minor league players benefit greatly from their experience with the Drive’s outstanding staff under the leadership of Craig Brown and Mike deMaine, as well as Greenville’s state-of-the-art ballpark and passionate fan base.”

The Red Sox originally entered into an agreement with the Drive when the franchise moved from Columbia, SC to Greenville for the 2005 season.  The PDC had since been extended twice, most recently for four years through 2012 prior to the 2008 season.

“This is a great day for the Greenville Drive and the entire Upstate of South Carolina,” said Brown. “The partnership we have forged with the Boston Red Sox is of enormous importance to us and the very talented Major League prospects that consistently play for the Drive at Fluor Field.  The true test of a world class organization is the delivery of sustained success over a period of time and the Red Sox have set the standard in this regard.  In the end, the success of an organization is the result of its people, and working with the Red Sox ownership group, Ben Cherington, Mike Hazen, Ben Crockett, the coaching staffs and entire the Red Sox organization has been a wonderful experience.  The Red Sox set the bar very high both on and off the field, which serves as an inspiration to our organization.  We are delighted to formally extend our relationship and look forward to the continued development of our partnership for many years to come.”

The Drive have compiled a winning record in five of seven years since becoming an affiliate of the Red Sox, including each of the last four seasons, and have made the playoffs twice in the last three years, reaching the South Atlantic League Championship Series in 2010.  Alumni who have recently appeared in the Majors with the Red Sox include Lars Anderson, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Ryan Kalish and Ryan Lavarnway.  Greenville’s Fluor Field at the West End, which opened in 2006, is modeled after Fenway Park.

Greenville is one of Boston’s six minor league affiliates, joining Triple-A Pawtucket (International League), Double-A Portland (Eastern League), High-A Salem (Carolina League), Short-A Lowell (New York-Penn League) and Rookie Gulf Coast Red Sox (Gulf Coast League).

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is scheduled as the featured guest at the Sixth Annual Greenville Drive Hot Stove Event tonight at the Huguenot Mill in Downtown Greenville, SC.

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