Boston infield has need for utility player

Updated: July 22, 2004, 1:33 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox obtained infielder Ricky Gutierrez from the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday for a player to be named or cash.

Earlier in the day, Boston put infielder Pokey Reese on the disabled list with a strained ribcage. In addition, starting shortstop Nomar Garciaparra still is working himself back after missing much of the first half of the season.

"We have some injuries at Triple-A middle infield as well, so we had to get on the phone the last couple of days and find a utility player who we feel comfortable playing shortstop," Boston general manager Theo Epstein said.

Gutierrez, 34, was hitting.368 with 10 RBI in 20 games for Triple-A Iowa. He signed a minor league contract with Chicago on June 14.

A career .266 hitter, the 12-year veteran played in 24 games for the New York Mets and was hitting .175 before he was cut May 13. He also has played for San Diego, Houston, the Cubs and Cleveland.

Cleveland signed Gutierrez to an $11.5 million, three-year contract before the 2002 season. That followed a career year with the Cubs in 2001, when he hit .290 with 10 homers and 66 RBI.

Early in the 2002 season, Gutierrez hurt his neck diving for a ball. His season ended in mid-August and he had neck surgery to have two vertebrae fused.

Boston also recalled third baseman Kevin Youkilis from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Reese strained a ribcage muscle during batting practice several days ago. He played Monday night against Seattle but left in the third inning after experiencing pain in his right side.

Reese missed four games late last month because of a sprained left wrist. Youkilis was scheduled to start at third base Wednesday night against the Baltimore Orioles. Reese is hitting .230 with three home runs and 27 RBI in 77 games.

Youkilis made his major league debut May 15. He hit .287 with three home runs and 19 RBI in 38 games. He was optioned to Pawtucket last month.

The Red Sox also recalled left-hander Mark Malaska and optioned right-hander Joe Nelson to Pawtucket.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press