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02/01/2005 5:19 PM ET
Red Sox invite 16 players to Major League Spring Training
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BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox have invited 16 non-roster players to major league spring training. Senior Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein made the announcement.

Invitees include righthanders Scott Cassidy, Jack Cressend, Jeremi Gonzalez, Josias Manzanillo and Kris Wilson, and lefthander Jason Kershner. Catchers Jeff Bailey and Shawn Wooten, infielders Dave Berg, Tim Hummel, Dave McCarty and Kenny Perez, and outfielders Chip Ambres, George Lombard, Billy McMillon and Simon Pond round out the group.

Outfielder Chip Ambres joins the Red Sox after six seasons in the Marlins chain. A first round selection (27th overall) by Florida in the 1998 Draft, the 25-year-old recorded 28 doubles, three triples and 20 home runs in 137 games for Double-A Carolina to post a .449 slugging percentage, while his 76 walks contributed to his .352 on-base percentage despite a .241 batting average (109-for-452). In addition to doubles and home runs, Ambres also set a career high with 62 RBI and matched his career best with 26 stolen bases.

Catcher Jeff Bailey returns for his second season in the Red Sox organization after hitting .294 (88-for-299) with 23 doubles, 13 home runs and 58 RBI in 91 games for Double-A Portland in 2004. The 26-year-old saw action in three games at Triple-A Pawtucket, batting .300 (3-for-10). Bailey also was an invitee to big league camp with the Red Sox last season.

Infielder Dave Berg has played all or part of seven major league seasons with Florida (1998-2001) and Toronto (2002-04), hitting .269 (430-for-1600) with 91 doubles, 21 home runs and 163 RBI in 582 games. The 34-year-old saw action in 58 games for the Blue Jays last season and batted .253 (39-for-154) with three homers and 23 RBI. Berg was originally selected by the Marlins in the 38th round of the 1993 Draft.

Righthander Scott Cassidy went 5-3 with a 3.46 ERA (31 ER/80.2 IP) in 28 games, including 12 starts, for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2004. The 29-year-old joined the Red Sox last season after six years in the Blue Jays chain, including 58 relief appearances for Toronto in 2002, going 1-4 with a 5.73 ERA (42 ER/66.0 IP). Cassidy is 50-29 with a 3.09 ERA (245 ER/712.2 IP) in 179 minor league appearances, 101 as a starter.

Righthander Jack Cressend split 2004 between Cleveland and Triple-A Buffalo, going 10-1 with a 5.13 ERA (30 ER/52.2 IP) in 24 outings (four starts) at Triple-A and 0-1 with a 6.32 ERA (11 ER/15.2 IP) in 11 relief appearances for the Indians. Originally signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent July 24, 1996, Cressend spent his first three seasons in the Boston chain before being claimed off waivers by Minnesota April 22, 1999. The 29-year-old has pitched part of five seasons with Minnesota (2000-02) and Cleveland (2003-04), going 5-5 with a 4.20 ERA (75 ER/160.2 IP) in 122 relief appearances.

Righthander Jeremi Gonzalez begins his 13th professional season, his first with the Red Sox, after previously pitching in the Cubs (1992-2000), Rangers (2002) and Devil Rays (2003-04) organizations. The 29-year-old has pitched all or part of four major league seasons with Chicago (1997-98) and Tampa Bay (2003-04), going 24-32 with a 4.69 ERA (240 ER/460.2 IP) in 79 outings, all but three as a starter. He split 2004 between Tampa Bay and Triple-A Durham, going 0-5 with a 6.97 ERA (39 ER/50.1 IP) in 11 outings (eight starts) for the Devil Rays and 4-2 with one save and a 3.97 ERA (25 ER/56.2 IP) in 18 outings (eight starts) for the Bulls.

Infielder Tim Hummel split the 2004 campaign between Cincinnati and Triple-A Louisville, hitting .218 (24-for-110) with four doubles, one homer and seven RBI in 56 games for the Reds and .289 (44-for-152) with 13 doubles, two homers and 20 RBI in 42 games for the Bats. Originally selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2000 Draft, the 26-year-old was traded to Cincinnati August 26, 2003 and made his major league debut that season with 26 games for the Reds. Hummel was claimed off waivers by Boston September 3, 2004.

Lefthander Jason Kershner went 0-1 with a 6.04 ERA (15 ER/22.1 IP) in 24 games (two starts) for Toronto and 3-2 with four saves and a 5.20 ERA (21 ER/36.1 IP) in 28 relief appearances for Triple-A Syracuse. The 28-year-old made his major league debut with San Diego in 2002 and posted a 3.69 ERA (32 ER/78.0 IP) in his first 61 major league outings with the Padres and Blue Jays through the end of 2003. The southpaw enters his 11th professional campaign, having previously pitched in the Philadelphia (1995-2001), San Diego (2002) and Toronto (2002-04) chains, and is 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA (47 ER/100.1 IP) in 89 major league outings (two starts).

Outfielder George Lombard returns for his second season in the Red Sox chain after hitting .276 (53-for-192) with three homers and 23 RBI in 55 games for Triple-A Pawtucket and .381 (24-for-63) with two homers and 11 RBI in 16 games for Double-A Portland. Originally selected by Atlanta in the second round of the 1994 Draft, the 29-year-old has played in the Braves (1994-2002), Tigers (2002), Devil Rays (2003) and Red Sox (2004) chains, including 124 games at the major league level with Atlanta (1998-2000), Detroit and Tampa Bay, combining to hit .225 (74-for-329) with seven home runs, 20 RBI and 21 stolen bases.

Righthander Josias Manzanillo enters his 22nd professional season, the first nine of which were as a minor leaguer in the Red Sox chain starting in 1983. The 37-year-old has since made 267 major league appearances, all but one in relief, with the Brewers (1993), Mets (1994-95, 1999), Mariners (1997), Pirates (2000-02), Reds (2003) and Marlins (2004), going 13-15 with six saves and a 4.71 ERA (179 ER/342.0 IP). He went 3-3 with one save and a 6.12 ERA (22 ER/32.1 IP) in 26 relief appearances for Florida and 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA (7 ER/12.0 IP) in 11 relief outings for Triple-A Albuquerque last season.

First baseman Dave McCarty batted .258 with four homers and 17 RBI in 90 games (31 starts) for the World Champion Red Sox in 2004. Minnesota's first-round pick out of Stanford in 1991 also made the first three pitching appearances of his career, posting no record and a 2.45 ERA (1 ER/3.2 IP). The 35-year-old has spent all or part of 10 seasons in the major leagues with the Twins (1993-95), Giants (1995-96), Mariners (1998), Royals (2000-2002), Devil Rays (2002), Athletics (2003) and Red Sox (2003-2004), hitting .242 with 36 home runs and 173 RBI in 618 games.

Outfielder Billy McMillon joins the Red Sox after splitting the last two seasons between Oakland and Triple-A Sacramento. The 33-year-old last season battled lower back inflammation and hit just .185 (17-for-92) with three homers and 11 RBI in 52 games for Oakland. In 2003, McMillon hit .268 (41-for-153) with six homers and 26 RBI in 66 games for the Athletics and .333 (51-for-153) with eight homers and 35 RBI in 38 games for Sacramento. McMillon has played all or part of six major league seasons with Florida (1996-97), Philadelphia (1998), Detroit (2000-01) and Oakland (2001, 2003-04), hitting .248 (149-for-601) in 269 games.

Shortstop Kenny Perez enters his sixth season in the Red Sox organization, his first as a non-roster invitee to spring training. The 23-year-old hit .280 (112-for-400) with 31 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 61 RBI in 109 games for Double-A Portland last season. Originally selected by Boston in the sixth round of the 2000 Draft, Perez is a career .264 hitter (609-for-1664) with 89 doubles, 16 triples, 16 homers and 190 RBI in 465 minor league games.

Outfielder Simon Pond enters his first season in the Red Sox chain after 11 previous years in the Montreal (1994-2000), Cleveland (2000-01) and Toronto (2002-04) organizations. The 28-year-old made his major league debut with the Blue Jays in 2004, hitting .163 (8-for-49) with one homer and six RBI in 16 games. He also played 78 games with Triple-A Syracuse and batted .278 (84-for-302) with 24 doubles, seven homers and 35 RBI. In his minor league career, Pond is a .274 hitter (1041-for-3802) in 1,056 games.

Righthander Kris Wilson went 10-13 with a 5.65 ERA (105 ER/167.1 IP) in 28 starts for Kansas City's Triple-A Omaha affiliate last season. The 28-year-old has pitched part of the previous four seasons in the majors with the Royals, going 14-9 with one save and a 5.32 ERA (139 ER/235.0 IP) in 90 appearances (19 starts), including a 6-3 record with a 5.33 ERA (43 ER/72.2 IP) in 29 outings (four starts) in 2003. Wilson joins just the second organization of his career, as he was selected by Kansas City in the ninth round of the 1997 Draft.

Catcher Shawn Wooten has hit .272 (182-for-668) with 18 home runs and 86 RBI in 266 major league games with Anaheim (2000-03) and Philadelphia (2004). The 32-year-old split last season between the Phillies and Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre, batting .170 (9-for-53) in 33 games with the majors and hitting .293 (66-for-225) with 22 doubles, four homers and 34 RBI in 61 games at Triple-A. Wooten hit .312 (69-for-221) with eight homers and 32 RBI for Anaheim in 2001 and batted .292 (33-for-113) with three homers and 19 RBI in 49 games for the 2002 World Champion Angels.

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