Red Sox’ holdovers returned team to prominence

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It’s a fun story, one that you’ve surely read or heard many times by now.

The last-place Red Sox went out and signed a bunch of good-guy free agents who changed the chemistry of a sour clubhouse and propelled the team back into the postseason.

That the new players are a colorful bunch of characters makes it an easy tale to tell.

But the convenient narrative about this Red Sox team is more of a chapter in a much bigger story.

The Red Sox are preparing for their first postseason game since 2009 due largely to a group of core players who survived the collapse of 2011 and the tumultuous one-year reign of Bobby Valentine as manager.

Their improved performance, or in some cases a return to health, is what ultimately returned the Red Sox to contention.

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