BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox today signed right-handed pitcher Matt Albers to a one-year contract for the 2012 season, thus avoiding salary arbitration.  Terms were not disclosed.

The club also announced that it will not tender a 2012 contract to left-handed pitcher Rich Hill.  As a result, Hill will become a free agent.  The Red Sox tendered 2012 contracts to the other 23 unsigned players on their Major League roster.  Boston’s 40-man roster is now at 38.

The announcements were made by executive vice president/general manager Ben Cherington.

The 28-year-old Albers appeared in 56 games last season, all in relief, posting a 4-4 record with a 4.73 ERA (34 ER/64 2/3 IP) and 68 strikeouts in his first year with Boston.  He averaged a career-high 9.46 strikeouts per nine innings, the 15th-highest mark among qualifying American League relievers.  Albers has appeared in 237 Major League games (23 starts) over parts of six seasons with the Astros (2006-07), Orioles (2008-10) and Red Sox (2011) and is 19-29 with a 5.04 ERA (214 ER/382 IP) and 274 strikeouts in his big league career.

Hill, 31, threw eight scoreless innings over nine appearances out of the bullpen for Boston in 2011 before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery on June 9.  The native of Milton, Mass. also pitched with Triple-A Pawtucket last season, going 1-0 with one save, a 1.13 ERA (2 ER/16 IP) and 18 strikeouts.  In 93 career Major League appearances (70 starts) between the Cubs (2005-08), Orioles (2009) and Red Sox (2010-11), Hill owns a 22-20 record with a 4.73 ERA (214 ER/407 1/3 IP) and 370 strikeouts.