Red Sox sign infielder Nick Punto to two-year contract

BOSTON, MA -- The Boston Red Sox today signed infielder Nick Punto to a two-year contract through the 2013 season.  No further terms were disclosed.  With the addition of Punto, the Red Sox 40-man roster is now at 39. 

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

A veteran of 11 Major League seasons, Punto spent the 2011 campaign with the World Series Champion Cardinals, playing in 63 games.  The 34-year-old made 45 appearances at second base (23 starts), eight at shortstop (6 starts) and seven at third base (3 starts), posting an overall .984 fielding percentage (3 errors/187 total chances).  His .885 zone rating at second base led all National Leaguers with at least 45 games at the position last year.  At the plate, Punto hit .278 (37-for-133) with a .388 on-base percentage, eight doubles, four triples, one home run, 20 RBI, 21 runs and 25 walks.  A switch-hitter, he batted .359 (14-for-39) with runners in scoring position and was 3-for-10 (.300) with three walks as a pinch-hitter.  Punto hit at a .308 clip (8-for-26) in 16 September tilts and appeared in 15 of the Cardinals 18 postseason games, including 10 starts at second base.

Selected by Philadelphia in the 21st round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, Punto has hit .249 (647-for-2,601) with 112 doubles, 25 triples, 14 home runs, 218 RBI, 346 runs and 303 walks in 887 career Major League games with the Phillies (2001-03), Twins (2004-10) and Cardinals (2011).  He has tallied 52 sacrifice hits in his career, and his 45 sacrifices in the American League are tied for the second-most in the circuit since 2005.  Punto is the only Major Leaguer with at least 250 games played at second base, third base and shortstop since 2004.  Overall, he has played in 297 career games at second, 292 at third, 265 at short, nine in center field, one in left field and one in right field.  His clubs have reached the postseason four times, and he is a .214 hitter (12-for-56) in 21 career playoff games.