Red Sox sign Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon to minor league deals

Mike Petraglia
July 19, 2013 - 12:19 pm

With relievers falling by the wayside at an alarming rate, the Red Sox have made a move to build some depth in the organization by signing two veterans. The team announced Friday before their series opener with the Yankees at Fenway Park that they have signed right-handers Jose Contreras and Brandon Lyon to minor league contracts. Both pitchers were immediately assigned to Triple-A Pawtucket. This, of course, is a second go-around with the Red Sox. Lyon made his major league debut halfway through the 2001 season, going 5-4 for the Blue Jays, with a 4.29 ERA from 11 starts. He was the second youngest winning pitcher in Blue Jays' history after winning on debut (2'€“1 over Baltimore). However, 2002 was a much different story. Lyon started the season as a starter, but lost three of his first four decisions of the season for the Jays, including a career-high seven earned runs against the Yankees on April 10, and again, against the Angels on May 3. During the postseason, the Red Sox claimed Lyon off waivers. The Red Sox made Lyon a permanent reliever, and Lyon appeared in 49 games in 2003, converting nine saves in 12 opportunities with 50 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched. Lyon missed the entire 2004 season due to injury, after having been traded along with Casey Fossum, Michael Goss and Jorge de la Rosa to Arizona in exchange for Curt Schilling. The 41-year-old Contreras, who made his name with the Cuban national team in the 1990s, was the target of former Red Sox manager Theo Epstein. But the Yankees beat out the Red Sox for his services when he began his MLB career in 2003 with New York. He pitched two seasons there before moving on to the Chicago White Sox (2004'€“09), the Colorado Rockies (2009) and the Philadelphia Phillies (2010'€“12).