After 7-8 season with Boston Red Sox, right-hander Garrett Richards signs contract with Texas Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Free-agent right-hander Garrett Richards signed a one-year contract Sunday with the Texas Rangers, who are expected to use the former starter in a role pitching multiple innings out of the bullpen.

The deal guarantees Richards $5.5 million, including his $4.5 million salary this season. The Rangers also hold a $9 million club option for 2023 with a $1 million buyout.

Richards was 7-8 with a 4.87 ERA with the Boston Red Sox last season, when he started 22 games into early August before making his last 18 appearances out of the bullpen as the Red Sox closed in on a postseason berth.

"There are certain days you have nothing and you've got to give us five innings, somehow, someway, you have to find a way," Boston manager Alex Cora said in July, when Richards was still a part of the starting rotation.

Richards repeatedly acknowledged that his struggles last year were tied to a midseason crackdown by Major League Baseball on the use of illegal grip enhancers by pitchers. He was often quite open in media availabilities about MLB's decisions and the outcomes across baseball.

The 33-year-old Richards has played 11 major league seasons, primarily with the Los Angeles Angels from 2011 to 2018. He was with San Diego for two seasons before last year with Boston. His career record is 54-59 with a 3.81 ERA over 227 games (150 starts).

To make room for Richards on their roster, the Rangers placed right-handed pitcher Jonathan Hernandez on the 60-day injured list. He is rehabbing from Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow in April 2021.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.