Mark Melancon had the worst season of his career with the Red Sox in 2012. He pitched poorly, was demoted to the minors, and then used as a mop-up man once he returned.
The Sox traded the righthander to the Pirates Wednesday as part of a package to obtain closer Joel Hanrahan and infielder Brock Holt.
“I have no regrets,” Melancon said. “I never do. This game is built on failure and I feel like what I went through will make me a better pitcher. I know it made me a better person.”
Melancon started the season as the primary set-up man and lasted only four games before being banished to Triple A Pawtucket.
Melancon gave up 11 earned runs over two innings in those appearances. He pitched fairly well when he returned to the team in June, particularly in September. But Melancon was used mainly in low-leverage situations and never gained the trust of former manager Bobby Valentine.
Still, the Sox are taking a risk in trading him. Melancon had a 0.90 ERA in eight appearances in September/October, striking out 13 in 10 innings with one walk. He could prove to be a player they regret moving.
“It’s a good opportunity for me,” Melancon said. “I wish it had worked out with the Red Sox because that’s a great organization. But I’ve had a great offseason and I feel I can go out there with the Pirates and prove myself.”
• Sox assistant GM Brian O’Halloran on Brock Holt, the infielder obtained from the Pirates: “I think he’s going to be a good player for us. He’s a very hard-nosed player. He’s had a lot of success in the minor leagues and we’re excited to have him and the energy that he brings to the table.”
• O’Halloran said Stephen Drew had no issues with his physical.
“Our folks were very pleased with his progress. It was obvious to them how hard he had worked given the nature of that injury,” he said. “We feel that he’s going to be fully healthy for us and make us a better team. We’re excited to have him.”
Sox manager John Farrell said Drew showed no diminished range once he returned to the field.
“The evaluations we did were very positive,” Farrell said.
Drew will wear No. 7, the number his brother, J.D., wore for the Sox from 2007-11. The elder Drew, now retired, hit .264 with 80 home runs in a Red Sox career marked by frequent stints on the disabled list.
• O’Halloran offered no update on the status of Mike Napoli, who agreed to terms on a three-year, $39 million contract with the Red Sox Dec. 3 but has yet to actually sign.
“There are conversations ongoing,” O’Halloran said.
Napoli, major league sources said, has an issue with his hip and the Red Sox are seeking protection in the contract language. That could mean cutting the deal to two seasons with the third year a vesting option based on plate appearances.