By Jeff Louderback
Alfredo Aceves, the occasionally combative yet versatile pitcher who clashed with manager Bobby Valentine and second baseman Dustin Pedroia last season, avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $2.65 million deal that also offers incentives for the 30-year-old right-hander to earn more.
The Red Sox plan to stretch out Aceves and left-hander Franklin Morales as starters during spring training. They are projected to open the 2013 regular season in the bullpen but offer the club valuable rotation depth.
In 2012, Aceves was unexpectedly inserted as the closer when Andrew Bailey was sidelined with a thumb injury late in spring training. Aceves struggled in his new role and finished the season with a 2-10 record, a 5.36 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. All three categories were career-worst numbers for the Mexico native, who was 10-2 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in his first season with the Red Sox in 2011.
Aceves will pitch for Mexico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.