Red Sox sign two-year deal with Salem

Advanced Single-A Salem will officially be a member of the Boston Red Sox farm system in 2009, when the Avalanche begin their 42nd season of play in the Carolina League. That’s because the Sox signed a two-year Player Development Contract with Salem on Friday, effectively ending the Avalanche’s six-year affiliation with the Houston Astros.

“Salem in an ideal fit for the Boston Red Sox,” said Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen in a team news release. “The playing surface is one of hte best in the Minor Leagues, and the area’s commitment to baseball has created a great environment for top-notch players — both on and off the field.”

Salem made two postseason appearances as part of the Astros’ organization — in 2006 an 2007 — and were 416-418 overall.

The Sox are no stranger to the Carolona League, having fielded a team there in 43 of the league’s 63-year history. Boston has been part of six Carolina League teams during that span, including the Winston-Salem Red Sox from 1961 to 1984.

“We look forward to bringing Red Sox baseball back to the Roanoke Valley,” said Salem general manager John Katz, “and continueing the proud tradition of professional baseball in Salem.”

After two years on the west coast, the Red Sox’s top Single-A affiliate moved from Lancaster, Calif., where it took a 76-64 regular season record into the postseason, falling from teh California League Championship Series to the Stockton Ports.

-Mark Remme

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