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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Red Sox have traded infielder Jed Lowrie and right-handed pitcher Kyle Weiland to the Houston Astros for reliever Mark Melancon, CBSSports’ Jon Heyman has confirmed.
The 25-year-old right-hander closed games for the Astros at the end of the season, and could be a candidate to do the same for Boston.
Melancon went 8-4 with 20 saves in 2011, striking out 66 over 74.1 innings pitched. His 2.78 ERA was the lowest among full-time Astros pitchers. He was 20-for-25 in save opportunities in 2011.
Stats: Mark Melancon Player Page
If the Red Sox do not acquire another closer during the offseason, Melancon could contend for the position. If Boston were to get someone for the ninth inning, and start Daniel Bard, Melancon could slide into the set-up role.
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Lowrie played in a career-high 88 games last season, but still had trouble staying on the field. After getting off to a red-hot start in April, he evened out and ended the season batting .252 with six homers and 36 RBI.
Viewed as a utility infielder and potential starting short stop, Lowrie could never stay healthy during his time in Boston. He played in just 256 games over four seasons with the Red Sox, batting .252 with 19 home runs and 117 RBI.
The 25-year-old Weiland went 0-3 with an ERA of 7.66 for Boston in seven games in the big leagues. He made three starts, with Boston going 1-2 in those games.