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The Red Sox filled a spot in their bench Thursday by signing New England-native Rocco Baldelli. The former Rays outfielder will probably back up J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jason Bay in the outfield. To make a spot for Rocco on the 40-man roster, the Sox designated knuckleballer Charlie Zink for assignment.
Baldelli is only 27 years old, but suffers from a rare mitochondrian disorder, which is a condition that leaves him extremely tired after only a small workout. Playing full-time in the future is close to impossible if the condition continues to plague the once-promising prospect.
The Sox are expected to announce the signing Thursday night at the Boston Baseball Writer’s Dinner, where Baldelli will be honored with the Tony Conigliaro Award.
Also, it was reported Thursday that the Red Sox were close to signing John Smoltz to a contract. Smoltz, if healthy, would give the Sox tremendous depth in the starting rotation.