The Red Sox have agreed to a minor-league contract with reliever Zach Putnam, a source confirmed Tuesday evening.
Putnam, 31, has dealt with elbow troubles in recent years, most recently missing the entire 2018 campaign as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. After being a mainstay in the White Sox’ bullpen in 2014 and 2015, the righty pitched just 27.1 innings in 2016 before undergoing surgery to remove a bone fragment from his elbow and being shut down for the season. He returned healthy for the beginning of the 2017 season but lasted just seven April appearances before being shut down again and ultimately undergoing Tommy John surgery in late June.
Though he only threw 36 innings in 2016 and 2017, Putnam was very effective when healthy. He posted a 2.00 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in that span, bringing him to a 2.71 ERA and 2.66 K/BB rate in 139.1 innings for the White Sox in 139.1 innings from 2014-17.
Putnam was originally a fifth-round pick of the Indians out of Michigan in 2008 and appeared in brief stints with the Indians, Rockies and Cubs before settling down with the White Sox in 2014.
Putnam is the second veteran righty to join the Red Sox in as many days, with Boston also coming to terms on a minor-league deal with Erasmo Ramirez. Putnam would seem to have a good shot at making the major-league roster with an impressive spring training, potentially serving as a diamond-in-the-rough type replacement for Joe Kelly.