Rafael Devers collects 3 hits, drives in winning run as Red Sox battle back for 4-3 win over Rays

The Red Sox battled back to earn a series-opening win over the Rays on Monday night. Boston defeated Tampa Bay by a final score of 4-3 to put an end to a three-game losing streak and improve to 76-84 on the season.

Pending free-agent Rich Hill ended his season on a strong note. Making his 26th and final start of the year for the Sox, the veteran left-hander allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

All three of those Rays runs came by way of the long ball. After recording the first two outs of the first, Hill served up a solo shot to Wander Franco to get Tampa Bay on the board first. He proceeded to retire eight of the next nine batters he faced.

With two outs in the fourth, Hill got Harold Ramirez to hit a groundball in the direction of Rafael Devers at third base. Devers fielded the ball cleanly, but he made a poor throw to first base that forced Triston Casas off the bag. Ramirez reached safely as a result and former Boston farmhand Manuel Margot followed by cranking a two-run blast over the Green Monster off a first-pitch cutter from Hill.

Margot’s fourth homer of the season gave the Rays a 3-0 lead through four innings. Hill, for his part, settled back into a groove by sitting down seven of the last eight hitters he faced. The 42-year-old southpaw finished with 80 pitches (60 strikes) and induced 12 swings-and-misses. Though he did not factor into the decision, Hill brought his final ERA on the season down to 4.27.

Moments after Hill ended things in the top of the sixth, the Red Sox lineup finally got going in the bottom half of the inning. After being held in check by Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, Devers led off the sixth with a hard-hit double off Kevin Herget. Devers moved up to third base on a one-out single from Alex Verdugo. Both runners then scored when Christian Arroyo roped a two-run double down the left field line to cut the deficit to one.

Representing the possible tying run, Arroyo advanced to third on a Casas groundout and scored on an RBI double from Hernandez. The bats got back to work after John Schreiber took over for Hill out of the bullpen and faced the minimum in the top of the seventh.

To lead off the bottom half of the inning, Reese McGuire laced a ground-rule double down the right field line. McGuire moved up an additional 90 feet on a Tommy Pham groundout. Devers then came through with a sacrifice fly that was hit deep enough to left field to plate McGuire and give the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 4-3.

From there, Ryan Brasier made quick work of the Rays in the eighth before Matt Barnes avoided disaster in the ninth. After yielding a one-out triple to Franco, Barnes got Ramirez to hit a grounder towards Devers. Franco took off from third in an attempt to score the tying run, but he was instead caught in a rundown and tagged out by Yu Chang, who had come on as a defensive replacement.

Ramirez was able to advance to scoring position on the play, but Barnes got Margot to ground out to second to end it. Barnes was credited with his seventh save of the season while Schreiber picked up the win.

Offensively, Devers led the way by going 3-for-4 with his 42nd double of the year. Hernandez also went 2-for-4 with an RBI. As a team, the Red Sox went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Springs

The Red Sox will look to secure a series victory on Tuesday by sending right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound for the final time this season. The Rays will counter with an old friend in left-hander Jeffrey Springs.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts out of Red Sox lineup due to back tightness

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is dealing with back tightness and is therefore out of the starting lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Rays at Fenway Park.

Bogaerts, who also missed Sunday’s series finale against the Blue Jays in Toronto, is expected to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract and become a free-agent this winter. Because of that, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was planning on starting the 30-year-old in all three games with Tampa Bay to close out the season.

While that plan has since been scrapped, Cora is optimistic that Bogaerts will be back in the lineup on both Tuesday and Wednesday. As noted by MLB.com’s Ian Browne, the veteran infielder has been bothered by his back in recent weeks but has still been able to play for the most part. He previously told MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo that he prefers taking off days on the road because he feels like he owes it to the fans to be in the lineup at home.

“I just like playing at home,” Bogaerts said back in June. “It’s been like that throughout my career. There’s a lot of kids that go there to the park. If there would be one stadium where there’s a lot of Bogaerts jerseys, you’d probably say it’s Fenway. The other places, they’re on the road.”

Bogaerts is putting the finishing touches on another fine season with Boston. The right-handed hitter is currently batting .305/.376/.450 with 38 doubles, 14 home runs, 69 RBIs, 83 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 57 walks, and 117 strikeouts over 148 games (625 plate appearances). He came into play Monday trailing the Twins’ Luis Arraez (.315) and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (.311) in the race for the American League batting title.

With Bogaerts out of the lineup on Monday, Enrique Hernandez is starting at shortstop in his place.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Eric Hosmer, place Rob Refsnyder on injured list in series of roster moves

Before opening a three-game series against the Rays at Fenway Park on Monday, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Worcester and first baseman Eric Hosmer was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. Secondly, right-hander Josh Winckowski was optioned following Sunday’s loss to the Blue Jays while outfielder Rob Refsnyder was placed on the 10-day injured list due to low back spasms, the club announced.

Hernandez returns to Boston for his third big-league stint of the season. The 25-year-old southpaw has appeared in just seven games for the Sox and has allowed 17 runs (16 earned) on 14 hits, eight walks, and nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of relief. That is good for an ERA of 21.60 and a FIP of 12.71.

With Hernandez back in the fold, he will join Matt Strahm as lefties the Red Sox will have available out of the bullpen for their final three games of the season.

Hosmer, meanwhile, returns after originally being placed on the injured list with low back inflammation on August 21. Although he has missed each of the Red Sox’ last 38 games, the 32-year-old was not able to go out on a rehab assignment since the minor-league season is already over. He instead spent his weekend hitting off a high-tech pitching simulator at Fenway Park.

“We’ve got this machine down there, it’s like a simulator or whatever,” manager Alex Cora said on Sunday. “What comes out is pretty similar to the stuff [of MLB pitchers]. You put, for example, Gerrit Cole, and the machine actually calibers the stuff based on his last start. So he’s been facing some good big-league pitching the past few days.”

The Red Sox acquired Hosmer and minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson from the Padres at the trade deadline in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome. Hosmer, who turns 33 later this month and is under team control for three more years, has been limited to just 12 games since going from San Diego to Boston.

In those 12 games, the left-handed hitter has batted .225/.311/.300 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts across 45 trips to the plate.

Winckowski, like Hernandez, was a member of the Sox’ taxi squad for their last series in Toronto. The 24-year-old righty was added to the active roster on Saturday to provide Boston with some length out of the bullpen. He made the first relief appearance of his big-league career at Rogers Centre and yielded three runs over three innings of work in 10-o loss to the Jays.

On the 2022 season as a whole, Winckowski — who debuted back in May — posted a 5.89 ERA and 4.95 FIP to go along with 44 strikeouts to 27 walks over 15 appearances (14 starts) spanning 70 1/3 innings pitched.

Refsnyder being placed on the injured list at this stage means that his season is over. The 31-year-old journeyman originally signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox last December. He first joined the big-league club as a COVID-related substitute in April before having his contract selected on a full-time basis in June.

When healthy, Refsnyder proved to be a key contributor off the bench who could play all three outfield positions and do his fair share of damage off left-handed pitching. All told, the right-handed hitter slashed .307/.384/.497 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 15 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 57 games (177 plate appearances) in his first season with the Sox.

Following Monday’s flurry of moves, the Red Sox now have 14 pitchers and 14 position players on their 28-man roster.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox likely to activate Eric Hosmer from injured list on Monday

The Red Sox are going to activate first baseman Eric Hosmer from the injured list on Monday, manager Alex Cora said prior to Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Hosmer, who has been sidelined with low back inflammation since August 22, will be available for the team’s final series of the season against the Rays in Boston.

With the minor-league season already completed, Hosmer was unable to go out on a rehab assignment in order to get at-bats. He instead spent his weekend hitting off a high-tech pitching simulator at Fenway Park. According to Cora, this machine is expensive and is only owned by five big-league organizations.

“We’ve got this machine down there, it’s like a simulator or whatever,” Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne). “What comes out is pretty similar to the stuff [of MLB pitchers]. You put, for example, Gerrit Cole, and the machine actually calibers the stuff based on his last start. So he’s been facing some good big-league pitching the past few days.”

Cora also indicated that Hosmer would make one start against the Rays in order to get fellow first baseman Triston Casas off his feet for a day.

“Give him a start. Give [Casas] a day off,” Cora said (via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith). “But we’ll use him. It’s good that he wanted to do it. He put himself in this situation and we’ll use him.”

Hosmer, who turns 33 later this month, has appeared in just 12 games with the Red Sox since being acquired from the Padres at the trade deadline. Boston also received minor-leaguers Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier and cash considerations in the deal while San Diego picked up pitching prospect Jay Groome.

In those 12 games with the Sox, the left-handed hitting Hosmer batted .225/.311/.300 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts across 45 trips to the plate before being placed on the injured list.

Given that his contract runs through 2025, it should be interesting to see what the Red Sox decide to do with Hosmer this winter. When the trade was made two months ago, the Padres agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s deal down to the league minimum. This means that the Sox are only responsible for a mere fraction of the $39 million owed to the former All-Star over the next three years.

Taking that into consideration, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. could possibly entertain trade offers for Hosmer since Casas — who also hits from the left side of the plate — appears to be Boston’s first baseman of the future.

While a Casas-Hosmer platoon would prove to be redundant, the Sox could still hold on to Hosmer since veteran slugger J.D. Martinez is about to hit free agency. If the club elects to move on from Martinez, Hosmer could potentially fill in at designated hitter next season.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox end season series against Blue Jays by getting swept in Toronto

The Red Sox were swept by the Blue Jays in their final road series of the season. Boston fell to Toronto, 6-3, at Rogers Centre on Sunday to drop to 75-84 on the year. That includes a final record of 35-46 away from Fenway Park.

After getting shut out in the first two games of this series, The Sox actually jumped out to an early lead in Sunday’s finale. With Kevin Gausman starting for the Jays, J.D. Martinez led off the top half of the second inning with a sharply-hit single. Abraham Almonte followed with a one-out double that put runners at second and third for Bobby Dalbec.

Dalbec, who was starting at third base in place of Rafael Devers, came through by drilling a two-run single to center field. Martinez and Almonte both scored to get Boston on the board first.

That lead, however, did not last long, as Michael Wacha ended his first season with the Red Sox on a sour note. The veteran right-hander allowed five earned runs on six hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over just four innings of work.

All four of those Toronto runs were scored from the second through fourth innings. To lead off both the second and third, Wacha served up a pair of solo shots to Teoscar Hernandez and Whit Merrifield, respectively. The Blue Jays took the lead in the fourth. After Vladimir Guerrero Jr. drew a leadoff walk off Wacha, Hernandez went deep yet again to put his side up by two runs at 4-2.

Wacha then gave up a one-out double to Danny Jansen, who scored from second on a two-out double off the bat of Merrifield. The righty was able to strand Merrifield at second by getting former teammate to Jackie Bradley Jr. to ground out to first base.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (48 strikes), Wacha induced just five swings-and-misses. The 31-year-old hurler wound up surrendering 11 runs in his final two starts, bringing his final ERA up to 3.32.

In relief of Wacha, Eduard Bazardo received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora and struck out two of the seven batters he faced across two scoreless frames. The Red Sox then got back to within two runs of the Blue Jays in the seventh when Dalbec crushed a 436-foot homer off reliever Anthony Bass.

Dalbec’s 12th home run of the season had an exit velocity of 108.8 mph and made it a 5-3 game in favor of Toronto. But the Jays answered with another run in their half of the seventh when Merrifield doubled off Kaleb Ort and later scored on a fielder’s choice.

From there, Franklin German put together the first scoreless outing of his major-league career in the bottom of the eighth. The Sox then went down quietly against Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano to seal a 6-3 defeat.

With Sunday’s loss, the Red Sox finish their season series against the Blue Jays having won just three of 19 games. Over the course of those 19 contests, they were outscored, 125-55.

Next up: Back to Boston for the final time this season

The Red Sox will fly back to Boston on Sunday night and open a three-game series against the Rays on Monday to close out their season. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill is slated to start for Boston while right-hander Tyler Glasnow is expected to do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Red Sox reinstate Kaleb Ort from restricted list, call up Josh Winckowski in series of roster moves

Before falling to the Blue Jays by a final score of 10-0 at Rogers Centre on Saturday, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, reliever Kaleb Ort was reinstated from the restricted list while right-hander Josh Winckowski was recalled from Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for Ort and Winckowski on the active roster, righty Tyler Danish and outfielder Jarren Duran were both optioned following Friday night’s game.

Ort was initially placed on the restricted list on Friday due to the fact that he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. Since Canada dropped its vaccine mandate for visitors on Saturday, however, the 30-year-old hurler was able to join the Red Sox in Toronto for the second game of their three-game series against the Jays.

Though he was not used in Saturday’s defeat, Ort carries with him a 6.26 ERA and 4.91 FIP to go along with 27 strikeouts to 15 walks over 24 relief appearances (27 1/3 innings) for Boston this season.

Winckowski, meanwhile, was used out of the bullpen on Saturday. The 24-year-old rookie made the first relief appearance of his major-league career and his first overall appearance since September 4. He allowed three runs on six hits, one walk, and three strikeouts across three innings.

Of the 56 pitches Winckowski threw, 36 went for strikes. According to Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-4, 202-pounder induced seven swings-and-misses and topped out at 96.5 mph with his sinker, a pitch he threw 22 times.

As for who the Red Sox sent down, Danish struggled mightily on Friday night. The 28-year-old surrendered four earned runs on five hits and three strikeouts and now owns a 5.13 ERA (4.97 FIP) on the 2022 campaign as a whole.

Duran, on the other hand, was called up to take the place of Ort on Friday. The speedy 26-year-old went 1-for-4 with a single in his fourth — and possibly final — big-league stint of the season before being optioned on Saturday.

Both Danish and Duran will remain on Boston’s taxi squad for the remainder of the road trip in Toronto. The Red Sox are now carrying 14 pitchers and 14 position players on their 28-man roster.

(Picture of Kaleb Ort: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox muster just 5 hits in second straight shutout loss to Blue Jays

The Red Sox were shut out by the Blue Jays for the second straight day on Saturday afternoon. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 10-0 at Rogers Centre to drop to 75-83 on the season and 23-49 against divisional opponents.

Brayan Bello wrapped up his rookie season by making his 11th start of the year for the Sox. The right-hander allowed four earned runs on 10 hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts over four innings of work.

The Blue Jays first got to Bello for two runs in their half of the second inning. Teoscar Hernandez and Raimel Tapia led off with back-to-back singles before Bello allowed both runners to advance an additional 90 feet on a wild pitch. Danny Jansen then drove in Hernandez on a softly-hit single to left field. Tapia, who moved up to third base on the play, promptly scored on another wild pitch from Bello.

Jansen struck again in the bottom of the third. With two outs and two runners on, Bello yielded a two-run double to the Blue Jays catcher that brought in both Hernandez and Tapia to make it a 4-0 ballgame in favor of Toronto.

Bello ended his day by escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fourth. The 23-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 87 (52 strikes) and induced eight swings-and-misses. He was charged with his eighth loss of the season as his ERA rose to 4.71.

In relief of Bello, fellow rookie Zack Kelly received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The righty served up a pair of solo homers to Hernandez and Jansen before giving up a run-scoring ground-rule double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with two outs in the fifth.

From there, Josh Winckowski — who was just called up from Triple-A Worcester — made the first relief appearance of his big-league career. The 24-year-old got through the sixth and seventh innings unscathed before running into some trouble in the eighth.

Gabriel Moreno and Matt Chapman led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Hernandez then plated Moreno on an RBI double to right field. Tapia followed with a run-scoring hit of his own before Jansen fittingly drove in his side’s 10th and final run on a sacrifice fly to right.

The trio of Hernandez, Tapia, and Jansen combined to go 9-for-15 with eight RBIs and seven runs scored for the Blue Jays. The Red Sox, meanwhile, were held to just five hits — all singles — as a team while going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and leaving six runners on base.

Rafael Devers accounted for two of the four hits the Sox got off Jays starter Ross Stripling, who wound up fanning three across six scoreless frames on Saturday. Four different Toronto relievers preserved the shutout effort by combining for three innings of one-hit ball.

All in all, the Red Sox were outhit, 21-5, in Saturday’s defeat to the Blue Jays. They have been outscored, 19-0, in the first two games of this series and are now 3-15 against Toronto this season with one game between the two teams remaining.

Next up: Wacha vs. Gausman

The Red Sox will wrap up their season series against the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon. Michael Wacha will get the start for Boston while fellow righty Kevin Gausman will do the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 1:37 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta’s struggles against AL East continue as Red Sox see winning streak end in 9-0 loss to Blue Jays

The Red Sox saw their three-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Blue Jays on Friday night. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 8-0 at Rogers Centre to drop to 75-82 on the season.

With Friday’s loss, their 14th in 17 attempts against the Jays, the Sox ensured that they would finish this season with a losing record. So this will be the first time Boston has finished with a sub-.500 record under manager Alex Cora.

Nick Pivetta’s season-long struggles against the American League East continued on Friday. In his penultimate start of the year, the Canadian-born right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks to go along with two strikeouts over five innings of work.

All four of those runs were scored within the first three innings. Pivetta gave up back-to-back singles to George Springer and Bo Bichette to lead off the bottom of the first. Springer then moved up to third base on a passed ball before scoring his side’s first run on an Alejandro Kirk groundout.

An inning later, Raimel Tapia reached on a fielder’s choice and Danny Jansen drew a six-pitch walk to put runners at first and second with one out. Pivetta then uncorked a wild pitch past Reese McGuire, allowing both runners to advance an additional 90 feet. Whit Merrifield took advantage of that blunder by plating Tapia on a sacrifice fly to make it a 2-0 contest.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled Toronto’s lead in the third. After Bichette drew a leadoff walk, Guerrero Jr. unloaded on a hanging changeup from Pivetta and deposited it 447 feet to left field for his 31st home run of the year.

Pivetta, for his part, was able to settle down from there by retiring nine of the last 12 batters he faced after giving up the 117.5 mph blast to Guerrero Jr. The 29-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 100 (62 strikes) and induced 15 swings-and-misses. He was charged with his 12th loss of the season while his ERA rose to 4.51. That includes an ERA of 6.72 against divisional opponents.

Tyler Danish received the first call out of the Boston bullpen in relief of Pivetta and did not fare well. The righty promptly served up a leadoff homer to Tapia to begin things in the sixth before putting two more on base and yielding a 431-foot three-run shot to Springer that gave Toronto a commanding 8-0 lead.

Danish got through the rest of the inning unscathed and also put up a zero in the seventh. Franklin German, on the other hand, surrendered one run on two hits in the eighth. The 25-year-old rookie now owns an ERA of 24.00 in four appearances to begin his big-league career.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup was completely held in check by the likes of Alek Manoah and Yusei Kikuchi. The Blue Jays starter took a no-hitter into the fifth inning before giving up a one-out infield single to Abraham Almonte. Jarren Duran led off the sixth with a single of his own, but that was immediately snuffed out when Rafael Devers grounded into a 4-5-3 double play.

While Manoah was dominant, so, too, was Kikuchi. The hard-throwing reliever punched out five of the 11 batters he faced en route to tossing three scoreless innings and picking up his first major-league save.

All told, the Red Sox tallied just three hits while going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and leaving five runners on base as a team.

Next up: Bello vs. Stripling

The Red Sox will send rookie right-hander Brayan Bello to the mound as they look to bounce back on Saturday afternoon. The Blue Jays will counter with fellow righty Ross Stripling.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Enmanuel Valdez makes MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Year

MLB Pipeline revealed their Prospect Team of the Year for 2022 on Thursday. The Red Sox had one representative in infielder Enmanuel Valdez.

Valdez was named the first team’s starting second baseman after batting .296/.376/.542 with 35 doubles, two triples, 28 home runs, 107 RBIs, 92 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 64 walks, and 124 strikeouts in 126 games (573 plate appearances) between Double-A and Triple-A this season.

Among qualified minor-league second basemen, Valdez posted the highest slugging percentage, the second-highest OPS (.918), the third-highest isolated power (.246), the third-most homers, and the second-most RBIs, per FanGraphs.

The 23-year-old out of the Dominican Republic began the 2022 campaign with the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Double-A affiliate of the Astros. He then earned a promotion to Triple-A Sugar Land in early June. Less than two months later, he and fellow prospect Wilyer Abreu were traded to the Red Sox for catcher Christian Vazquez.

While Abreu was assigned to Double-A Portland, Valdez joined Triple-A Worcester. The left-handed hitter made his organizational debut on August 3 and slashed .237/.309/.422 with nine doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 30 RBIs, 26 runs scored, three stolen bases, 19 walks, and 48 strikeouts in 44 games (195 plate appearances with the WooSox.

Valdez’s second-half homers came in bunches. He hit two in his first three games at Polar Park from Aug. 3-5 and enjoyed a two-homer game on Aug. 9. His next big fly did not come until the 28th and his final two came on September 3-4. Over the last three weeks of the minor-league season, Valdez hit just .238 with a .565 OPS across 16 games to close out his year.

Defensively, Valdez saw playing time at three different positions in Worcester. The 5-foot-9, 191-pounder logged 330 innings at second base, 24 innings at third base, and 25 innings in left field.

Originally signed by the Astros for $450,000 as an international free-agent in July 2015, Valdez can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft and minor-league free agency this winter. The Red Sox will have until late November to decide if they want to protect Valdez from the Rule 5 by adding him to their 40-man roster.

With that being said, it seems unlikely that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. would part ways with an established veteran such as Vazquez just to risk losing part of the return for him the following winter. For what it is worth, Abreu can also become Rule 5-eligible in the coming months, though he is under club control through 2024.

Valdez, who turns 24 in December, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 18 prospect in Boston’s farm system. If he remains in the organization through the off-season, Valdez could very well make his major-league debut at some point in 2023. He possesses intriguing power and can play multiple positions, so there is potential for him to undertake a utility role in the not-so-distant future.

(Picture of Enmanuel Valdez Kavadas: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox place Kaleb Ort on restricted list, call up Jarren Duran from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed reliever Kaleb Ort on the restricted list. In a corresponding move, outfielder Jarren Duran was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced before Friday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Ort is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and is therefore unable to enter Canada legally. That mandate will be dropped by the Canadian government on Saturday, however, so the right-hander will be able to join the Red Sox in Toronto for the final two games of the series at Rogers Centre.

In 24 relief appearances for Boston this season, Ort has posted a 6.26 ERA and 4.91 FIP to go along with 27 strikeouts to 15 walks over 27 1/3 innings of work. The 30-year-old hurler picked up the first save of his big-league career in Thursday’s 5-3 win over the Orioles at Fenway Park.

Rather than replace Ort with another pitcher, the Red Sox opted for a position player in Duran. The speedy 26-year-old missed Boston’s last trip to Toronto due to his unvaccinated status, but he has since received the shots and traveled with the team to Canada on Thursday.

In his first major-league action since late August, Duran will bat leadoff and start in center field for the Red Sox on Friday. The left-handed hitter is currently slashing .220/.283/.365 with 14 doubles, three triples, three home runs, 17 RBIs, 23 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 14 walks, and 63 strikeouts over 57 games (219 plate appearances) this season.

With Duran on the active roster for the time being, the Sox will be carrying catcher Ronaldo Hernandez, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez, and right-handers Bryan Mata and Josh Winckowski on their taxi squad.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)