Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold went just one inning in his 11th start of the season for Triple-A Worcester on Friday night. The right-hander allowed one run on two hits, no walks, and two strikeouts.
Matched up against the Charlotte Knights at Polar Park, Seabold served up a first-pitch home run to the very first batter of the game in Mark Payton. He then struck out Yolbert Sanchez and Blake Rutherford in consecutive order before giving up a two-out single to Xavier Fernandez. Micker Adolfo ended the inning by grounding out to third base.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 21 (16 strikes), Seabold was relieved by fellow righty Taylor Cole in the second inning. Following Worcester’s 10-2 win over Charlotte, WooSox manager Chad Tracy explained to reporters (including MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison) that Seabold’s early departure was not injury- or performance-related.
“I just was told that he’s an option and they might need a starter and I was just told to limit him to one inning,” Tracy said. “So for now, that’s what we know. So we’ll see what happens.
As things stand right now, the Red Sox find themselves in need of a starter for Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto. There was hope that Garrett Whitlock would be activated from the 15-day injured list in time to start that game, but the righty is still dealing with continued soreness in his right hip and is unlikely to pitch during the team’s road trip.
This is where someone like Seabold — who is on the 40-man roster comes into play. Since he only pitched one inning on Friday night, the 26-year-old would still be able to provide Boston with some length on Monday. He is also vaccinated against COVID-19, as that was a prerequisite for all minor-leaguers who played in the Arizona Fall League last year.
Originally acquired from the Phillies along with Nick Pivetta in August 2020, Seabold is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 10 pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system.
In his 11 starts with the WooSox this year, the California-born hurler has posted a 2.09 ERA and 0.99 WHIP to go along with 51 strikeouts to 14 walks over 51 2/3 innings of work. He is also holding opposing hitters to a .197/.262/.277 slash line against.
Under somewhat similar circumstances last season, Seabold made his major-league debut against the White Sox while starting in place of Pivetta at Guaranteed Rate Field on September 11. He allowed two runs over three innings in that outing and was optioned to Worcester the following day.
If Seabold does get the starting nod on Monday, he could replace another pitcher on the major-league roster like Tanner Houck, who will be placed on the restricted list since he remains unvaccinated against COVID-19.
As Tracy said, though, it’s more of a wait-and-see situation at the moment.
(Picture of Connor Seabold: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)