Red Sox cut ties with Shunsuke Watanabe

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In December the Red Sox signed veteran Japanese reliever Shunsuke Watanabe to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

But the marriage won’t be a long-lasting one.

As first reported Saturday by Alex Speier of WEEI, Boston has released the 37-year-old Watanabe, who is now a free agent and will presumably attempt to latch on with a different MLB team. He yielded two runs in three Grapefruit League innings with the Sox.

Watanabe was (or is) trying to break into the majors after 13 seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball, during which he compiled a 3.65 ERA and 1.235 WHIP in 1,578 1/3 frames for the Chiba Lotte Marines.

His unique spider-like submarine pitching style is a thing to behold …

The Red Sox designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox activated Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they made to make room for him on the roster was a big one too: they designated Hanley Ramirez for assignment. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup. At the moment the Red Sox have the second best offense in all of baseball despite Ramirez’s performance.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however and, long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.