Red Sox acquire right-handed pitcher Mark Melancon from Houston

BOSTON, MA-The Boston Red Sox today acquired right-handed pitcher Mark Melancon from the Houston Astros in exchange for infielder Jed Lowrie and right-handed pitcher Kyle Weiland.  

The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington.  

The 26-year-old Melancon recorded 20 saves, the first of his career, while tallying an 8-4 record and a 2.78 ERA (23 ER/74.1 IP) in 71 relief appearances for the Astros in 2011.  His eight relief wins were tied for third in the National League and he was the only Major Leaguer to record at least as many wins and 20 saves last season.  The right-hander struck out 66 batters compared to 26 walks and held opponents to a .234 average (65-for-278).  He threw 11.2 scoreless frames over his final 11 outings of 2011, going 6-for-6 in save opportunities during that time and limiting opponents to a .081 clip (3-for-37).

In 106 career Major League games, all in relief, Melancon is 10-5 with a 3.21 ERA (40 ER/112.0 IP), 98 strikeouts, 44 walks and a .232 opponent average (97-for-418).  Originally selected by the Yankees in the ninth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, he appeared in 15 games with New York over the 2009 and 2010 seasons before being acquired by Houston at the 2010 trade deadline.  He has gone 10-4 with 20 saves and a 2.85 ERA (29 ER/91.2 IP) in 91 outings with the Astros since joining the club and ranks 10th among National League relievers with a 2.18 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio over the last two seasons (min. 90.0 innings).

Lowrie, 27, hit .252 (78-for-309) with 14 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 36 RBI, 40 runs scored and 23 walks in a career-high 88 games for the Red Sox in 2011, appearing at all four infield positions.  Selected by Boston in the supplemental round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, the switch-hitter has a career .252 average (204-for-808) with 55 doubles, seven triples, 19 home runs, 117 RBI, 110 runs scored and 89 walks in 256 career Major League games over parts of four seasons with the Red Sox from 2008-11.

The 25-year-old Weiland made his Major League debut over two stints with Boston last season, appearing in seven games (five starts) for the club, over which he posted a 7.66 ERA (21 ER/24.2 IP) while going 0-3.  Weiland spent the majority of the 2011 campaign at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he compiled an 8-10 record with a 3.58 ERA (51 ER/128.1 IP) in 24 starts and led all Red Sox minor leaguers with 126 strikeouts.  A third-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Weiland is 23-31 with a 3.51 ERA (175 ER/449.1 IP) in 90 career minor league contests (85 starts) in the Red Sox system.

With the move, the Red Sox 40-man roster is now at 38.