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Mike Sansone

Red Sox sign former Rays farmhand Michael Sansone out of Pioneer League

The Red Sox purchased the contract of left-hander Michael Sansone from the Yolo High Wheelers of the independent Pioneer League on Wednesday, per the club's transactions log.

Sansone, 24, originally signed with Yolo in early March but never pitched for the newly formed High Wheelers since the 2024 Pioneer League season does not start until next month. In fact, he becomes the first player in the team's history to sign with a major-league organization.

Sansone has been assigned to Low-A Salem but has past experience in affiliated ball. After a four-year career (primarily as a starter) at Fairfield University, the Connecticut native went pro by signing with the Rays in July 2022. He debuted and made four scoreless relief appearances in the Florida Complex League before breaking camp with Tampa Bay's Low-A affiliate last spring.

In 15 relief outings for the Charleston River Dogs, Sansone posted a 3.49 ERA and 3.10 FIP with 37 strikeouts to five walks over 28 1/3 innings in which he held opposing hitters to a .243 batting average against (that includes a .179 batting average for left-handed hitters). Despite those relatively strong numbers, the southpaw was released in late July.

Sansone attended a workout for unsigned free agents put together by the Red Sox over the winter. Boston's scouting staff already knew of Sansone through their connections at Fairfield. Mark Heil, the club's director of professional scouting, told The Athletic's Melissa Lockard that "while Sansone doesn't throw particularly hard," he has "a good slider and changeup and excellent make-up."

Like right-hander Danny Kirwin, who also officially signed with the Red Sox out of the Pioneer League on Wednesday, Sansone should provide Salem with additional bullpen depth in the early stages of the 2024 campaign. The 5-foot-9, 195-pound hurler joins fellow lefty Jojo Ingrassia in that regard.