Cherington: Punto 'good in the clubhouse'

December, 15, 2011
Even before the Boston Red Sox traded infielder Jed Lowrie and pitcher Kyle Weiland to the Houston Astros in exchange for reliever Mark Melancon on Wednesday, general manager Ben Cherington had his eye on veteran infielder Nick Punto.

After Cherington made the trade to acquire Melancon, the Sox moved quickly to sign Punto as a free agent.

“Nick’s a guy we’ve had interest in the past but the timing never quite worked out to get him here,” Cherington said. “He’s a guy who plays really good defense. He’s a smart baseball player and puts together a good at-bat and he’s really good in the clubhouse. He understands his role on a winning team and he certainly showed that this year, down the stretch in October with St. Louis.”

The Red Sox signed the 34-year-old Punto to a two-year deal worth $3 million. He can play second base, third base and shortstop. He spent last season with the world champion St. Louis Cardinals, hitting .278 with a .388 on-base percentage and one homer in 133 at-bats.

“He was a guy we targeted,” Cherington. “Then certainly, once things sped up on the Houston trade, we sped up our efforts to go get him and we think he fits well into our team and will be a good mix in the clubhouse. He can do a lot of things for us.”

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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