The Red Sox sign Stephen Drew

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Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox have reached an agreement with shortstop Stephen Drew on a one-year deal for $9.5 million.

Thanks in part to recovery from an ankle injury Drew hit just .223/.309/.348 in 327 plate appearances this past season between the D’Backs and A’s, but he drew interest from several teams, including Tigers, Yankees and Athletics. But the Red Sox have him and, as Heyman notes, will use him as a stopgap between now and the time when either Jose Iglesias or Xander Bogaerts are ready.

It’s been a busy winter so far for the Red Sox, who, in addition to Drew, have signed  Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, David Ross and Mike Napoli.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.