Red Sox and left-handed pitcher Craig Breslow agree to one-year contract

Catcher Dan Butler designated for assignment

BOSTON, MA - The Boston Red Sox today announced that the club has signed left-handed pitcher Craig Breslow to a one-year contract through the 2015 season. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, catcher Dan Butler was designated for assignment.

Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement.

Breslow, 34, returns to Boston, where he has played the last three seasons since being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the July 31, 2012 non-waiver trade deadline. He went 2-4 with one save and a 5.96 ERA (36 ER/54.1 IP) in 60 relief appearances for Boston in 2014 after beginning the year on the disabled list with a mild left shoulder strain.
 
In 2013, he posted a career-best 1.81 ERA (12 ER/59.2 IP) in 61 regular season appearances out of the bullpen, and then went 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA (2 ER/7.1 IP) over 10 postseason games to help the Red Sox to the World Series Championship.

Originally signed by the Milwaukee Brewers as a 26th-round selection in the 2002 June Draft, Breslow has gone 22-23 with a 3.20 ERA (162 ER/456.1 IP) in 479 games, all in relief, for the San Diego Padres (2005), Red Sox (2006, 2012-14), Cleveland Indians (2008), Minnesota Twins (2008-09), Oakland Athletics (2009-11), and Diamondbacks (2012) over a career that has spanned nine major league seasons.

Among active left-handers with at least 450 innings pitched, he ranks fourth in ERA (3.20) behind only Clayton Kershaw (2.48), Chris Sale (2.76), and Madison Bumgarner (3.06). He also owns the seventh-best opponent batting average among active southpaws (.238).

Since 2009, Breslow has made 403 appearances, fifth most among all major league relievers and second among left-handers. He and Matt Thornton are the only lefties to pitch in at least 60 games in each of the last six seasons from 2009-14.

A native of New Haven, CT and a graduate of Yale University, Breslow established The Strike 3 Foundation in 2008 to raise awareness, cultivate support, and generate funds to combat cancer in children. He was the Red Sox' 2013 and 2014 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which recognizes the players that best represent baseball through positive contributions on and off the field. In 2013, he was also named the BoSox Club's "Man of the Year," as well as winner of the Boston Baseball Writers' Tim Wakefield Community Service Award.

Butler, 28, made his major league debut last season, going 4-for-19 (.211) with three doubles, two RBI, and a walk in seven games for the Red Sox over two stints with the club. The right-handed batter spent the majority of 2014 with Triple-A Pawtucket and appeared in 83 games. He led the PawSox with 54 contests at catcher and threw out 16 of 60 attempted base stealers (27%).  

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009, Butler was honored as the 2014 recipient of the Lou Gorman Award, which is given annually to a Red Sox minor league player who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the major league team. In six minor league seasons, he has hit .256 (431-for-1,682) with 115 doubles, six triples, 47 home runs, and 241 RBI in 497 career games.