Red Sox release Hanley Ramirez

HOUSTON -- The Boston Red Sox have released Hanley Ramirez, a week after designating him for assignment.

The AL East leaders made the move before playing at Houston on Friday night. The Red Sox are responsible for the $15.25 million remaining on his contract, but the move avoids Ramirez triggering a $22 million salary for 2019.

Ramirez was designated for assignment on May 25 to make room on the roster for second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who was activated from the disabled list after recovering from knee surgery.

Ramirez hit .254 with six homers and 29 RBI in 44 games this season as a designated hitter and first baseman. He struggled in May, batting just .163 with three homers and 12 RBI.

The 34-year-old signed a four-year, $88 million contract before the 2015 season.