The Red Sox and Twins will play the middle two games of their four-game series at Target Field in a straight doubleheader on Wednesday. Each game will be seven innings long with the second one starting approximately 30 minutes after the first one ends (first pitch of the first game is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time).
Because of Wednesday’s twin-bill, both the Sox and Twins will be permitted to carry an extra player on their major-league roster for both games.
An official announcement has yet to be made by the Sox, but it would appear that right-handed pitching prospect Eduard Bazardo will be the 27th man for Boston on Wednesday.
Per his Instagram story, Bazardo, who began the season at the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Worcester, boarded a flight Tuesday morning from Boston to Nashville, then another one from Nashville to Minneapolis.
Additionally, Red Sox manager Alex Cora hinted that the team would call up a right-handed pitcher for Wednesday’s doubleheader when speaking with reporters on Tuesday.
“We’re talking about it. We’re going to go with a pitcher unless something weird happens today,” Cora said via Zoom when asked if a decision has been made as to who will be added to Boston’s roster. “But most likely we’ll add a pitcher.”
Minnesota boasts a right-handed heavy lineup that usually includes the likes of Nelson Cruz, Byron Buxton, and Miguel Sano, among others. Because of this, Boston seems keen on adding a right-hander to counter that potent offensive potential from the same side of the plate.
“We’re going to talk a little bit after this with [Dave Bush] and with Chaim [Bloom],” explained Cora. “And we’ll make the best decision for this team. [The Twins] are very right-handed. Their best hitters right now are right-handed hitters. So we’ll make decisions based on that.”
Bazardo, 25, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the 28th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system.
The Venezuelan hurler was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster back in November on the strength of an impressive showing at the team’s fall instructional league in Fort Myers.
At fall instructs, Bazardo “was the most impressive arm” there, according to SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall.
“At Instructs, all of Bazardo’s stuff was improved, as he sat 93-97 mph and often pitched at 95-96 with, as one scout called it, a ‘silly’ curveball,'” Cundall wrote of the young righty back in November. “His curveball elicited some horrible swings, and its spin rate topped 3000 rpm, which is elite. His fastball is now a plus-to-better pitch, and his curveball is solidly a plus pitch as well. His control has always been good, but he showed improved command of both his fastball and curveball. Bazardo also mixed in an occasional fringy splitter, which gave hitters something else to think about and another pitch in a different velocity band to keep them honest.”
Originally signed by the Red Sox out of Venezuela for just $8,000 in 2014, Bazardo owns a lifetime 2.55 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over 100 total appearances (31 starts) and 310 innings of work across six minor-league levels since making his professional debut in June 2015.
This past spring, the 6-foot, 190 pound hurler allowed one earned run on two hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over four Grapefruit League appearances spanning five innings pitched.
If Bazardo is indeed called up on Wednesday, his stay with the Sox likely won’t last too long considering the fact the team’s roster will revert back to 26 players once the doubleheader is over.
(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: Mark Brown/Getty Images)