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Red Sox release Ryan Sweeney, Mitch Maier accepts minor league assignment

03.30.13 at 11:53 pm ET

The Red Sox announced on Saturday night that they’ve released outfielder Ryan Sweeney, who exercised the opt-out clause in his minor league deal on Friday. Sweeney, who signed with the Sox after Ryan Kalish underwent surgery late in the offseason, hit .217 with a .308 OBP and .239 slugging mark in 21 Grapefruit League games this spring. However, with the emergence of Jackie Bradley Jr. this spring, Sweeney found himself without a big league roster spot for the regular season. Rather than accept a minor league assignment to Pawtucket, the 28-year-old exercised the opt out clause in his contract, and the Sox elected not to create a roster spot for him, instead giving the outfielder his release.

The team will maintain some semblance of big league-ready outfield depth with the decision by Mitch Maier to accept a minor league assignment. Like Sweeney, Maier signed a minor league contract with a March 28 opt-out date this offseason, but the 30-year-old veteran of 359 big league games suffered a wrist injury that prevented him from playing at the end of the spring. Prior to the injury, the former Royals first rounder was playing well, hitting .346 with a .433 OBP, albeit with a .385 slugging mark. Just as is the case for Sweeney, Maier hits left-handed and can play all three outfield positions.

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