Red Sox sign four free agents to Minors deals

Red Sox sign four free agents to Minors deals

BOSTON -- The Red Sox are bringing four more players into big league camp, including the son of ex-Red Sox player and current Yankees bench coach Tony Pena.

Right-hander Tony Pena Jr. has inked a Minor League deal, as has right-hander Matt Fox, catcher Paul Hoover and infielder Hector Luna. All have been invited to Major League Spring Training as non-roster invitees.

Notably, none of the signings are left-handed pitchers, indicating the Red Sox are content to find a southpaw reliever amongst the group they have. The total number of invitees who will be in big league camp is 20: 11 pitchers (including southpaws Andrew Miller, Randy Williams and Rich Hill) four infielders, three catchers and two outfielders.

Pena, 29, has been a pro since he signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1999, but he's only been a pitcher since 2009. Pena did make it to the Majors as a position player, but he wasn't impactful, hitting .228 with 32 doubles and four home runs over parts of four seasons with Atlanta and Kansas City from 2006-09.

Pena has made one big league pitching appearance, throwing a scoreless inning for the Royals in 2008. He spent '10 in the Giants' organization.

The Red Sox have already seen Fox, who made three appearances for them in September after they picked him up off waivers from Minnesota. Those outings didn't go extraordinarily well -- he let up a pair of runs in 1 2/3 innings -- but the 28-year-old was effective for the Twins' Triple-A team last season, posting a 3.95 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 123 innings. Fox is a former supplemental first-round Draft pick.

That the Red Sox added Hoover isn't a surprise. An injury to Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Jason Varitek would create an opening in the depth chart, and with the 34-year-old Hoover in camp, Boston will at least have another name it's familiar with.

Hoover made nine appearances behind the plate for the Phillies last season, hitting .247 with 13 doubles and two homers for their Triple-A affiliate. He's played in 40 Major League games over parts of seven seasons and is a lifetime .250 hitter. He has not homered.

Luna, who turned 31 on Wednesday, hit .294 with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs in 97 games with Florida's Triple-A affiliate last season. He's played in 311 career Major League games over parts of six seasons, hitting .265 with 13 home runs.

Playing against the Red Sox, Luna struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance for the Cardinals during Game 4 of the 2004 World Series.

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.