Thursday January 06, 2011 | 06:34 AM

The Red Sox picked up catcher Max Ramirez off waivers from the Texas Rangers (yes, you have heard the name before; he was the player Boston was going to trade Mike Lowell for last year, before the deal was nullified because of Lowell's thumb injury).

Ramirez, 26, played mostly in Triple-A last year (.317 average), although did see 26 games in the majors (.217).

Unless Ramirez makes the Red Sox major league club - doubtful with Jarrod Saltalamacchia (another Rangers cast-off) and Jason Varitek - he will have to clear waivers again if the Red Sox are to send him to Pawtucket. Ramirez has been on the Rangers 40-man since 2008 and appears out of options to the minors.

If Ramirez does go to Pawtucket, that makes for a crowd, with Mark Wagner and Luis Exposito. If Exposito was to stay in Double-A with Ryan Lavarnway, then Tim Federowicz stays in Class A ... etc., etc.

As Terry Francona likes to say, these things have a way of working themselves out. At the very least, Ramirez is insurance in case Saltalamacchia and/or Varitek are injured during spring training.

The Red Sox also announced the 11 players who will be taking part in the annual Rookie Camp this month in Boston.

The program is designed for players with a chance of  making it to the majors in the next 6-18 months. It is meant to acclimate them to life in Boston and the majors so they are not overwhelmed if/when they get here.

The 11 are: pitchers Robert Coello, Stephen Fife, Stolmy Pimentel, Jason Rice, Alex Wilson and Clevelan Santeliz; catchers Lavarnway and Federowicz; infielders Will Middlebrooks and Oscar Tejeda; and outfielder Juan Linares.

Coello, who reached the majors late last year, will likely begin 2011 in Pawtucket. The rest could be in Portland at the start of this season.

Fife, Rice, Wilson, Lavarnway and Linares finished 2010 with the Sea Dogs. Pimentel, Federowicz, Middlebrooks and Tejeda has solid years at advanced Class A Salem. Santeliz is a minor league free agent from the White Sox.

Linares, 26, who batted .397 in the Arizona Fall League, could also push for a Triple-A job.

In case you're wondering why shortstop Jose Iglesias and pitcher Kyle Weiland were not invited to the camp, they participated last year and players rarely repeat the experience.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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