Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts considered day-to-day with back discomfort after colliding with Alex Verdugo in left field on Friday

Xander Bogaerts is considered day-to-day after colliding with Alex Verdugo in the eighth inning of the Red Sox’ 7-3 win over the Mariners at Fenway Park on Friday night, manager Alex Cora announced.

“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow and go from there,” Cora said while adding that Bogaerts was specifically dealing with lower back discomfort on his left side.

On a 221-foot fly ball lifted to shallow left field off the bat of J.P. Crawford, both Bogaerts and Verdugo converged on the ball, with Bogaerts pedaling backwards and Verdugo charging inward.

Looking to avoid any contact, Verdugo began to slide but wound up taking out Bogaerts, who landed awkwardly on his left side and remained on the ground in visible pain. The ball the two were going after popped out of Bogaerts’ glove, thus allowing Crawford to move up to second base while Verdugo was charged with a fielding error.

After staying on the ground, Bogaerts got back to his feet upon receiving a visit from Cora and a trainer and stayed in the game for the rest of the half-inning. He was, however, pinch-hit for by Franchy Cordero in the latter half and was later replaced at shortstop by Enrique Hernandez as the Red Sox went on to win their third straight game.

Following Friday’s victory, Cora was asked if Verdugo should have called Bogaerts off since the outfielder has priority over the infielder in that particular situation.

“There’s 35,000 people here so it’s not that easy,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). “Here, lately with the wind, it feels like it’s playing different the last few years. Sam [Kennedy] is going to hate me, but with the buildings and everything that’s going on, it’s a little different out there.”

Before being removed on Friday, Bogaerts had gone 0-for-2 at the plate with one walk, one strikeout, and one run scored. Assuming the 29-year-old is out of Boston’s lineup on Saturday, it will mark his first off day since April 28, though he did pinch-hit in that game against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Trevor Story stays hot with grand slam as Red Sox extend winning streak to 3 with 7-3 victory over Mariners

The Red Sox continued their winning ways on Friday night with a 7-3 victory over the Mariners at Fenway Park. Boston has now won three straight games for the first time in 2022 to improve to 17-22 on the season.

Matched up against reining American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray out of the gate, the Sox did all of their damage in their half of the third inning.

There, Xander Bogaerts drew a two-out walk to fill the bases for Trevor Story. Coming off a historic three-homer night on Thursday, Story picked up where he left off by unloading the bases with a 378-foot grand slam over the Green Monster.

Story’s sixth home run of the season and fourth in the last 24 hours was caught by former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes in the first row of Monster Seats and gave Boston an early 4-0 lead.

To that point in the contest, Michael Wacha was already through three scoreless frames in his first start since returning from the injured list earlier in the day. All told, the veteran right-hander allowed two earned runs on four hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Both of those Seattle runs came in the top of the fifth, when Wacha gave up a leadoff double to Eugenio Suarez that was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Abraham Toro. He then retired two of the next four batters he faced before getting the hook from manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (44 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied on his changeup 43% of the time he was on the mound Friday and induced six of his eight swings-and-misses with hit. He also sat between 90 and 96 mph with his four-seam fastball.

In relief of Wacha, Austin Davis came on with two runners on and one out to get in the fifth. The left-hander got that out by fanning J.P. Crawford on six pitches, then proceeded to retire the side in order in the sixth as well. Fellow southpaw Jake Diekman followed suit by stranding one runner in an otherwise clean seventh inning to pace the way for John Schreiber in the eighth.

Schreiber, working in yet another high-leverage situation, witnessed a scary moment when he got Crawford to lift a softly-hit, 22-foot flyball to shallow left field. While converging on the ball, a sliding Alex Verdugo took out Bogaerts, who appeared to be in serious pain as he landed on his back.

The ball popped out of Bogaerts’ glove during that sequence, allowing Crawford to reach second base safely while Verdugo was charged with a fielding error. Crawford came into score on an RBI single from Jesse Winker, but Schreiber was able to hold the Mariners to the one run. Bogaerts is now considered day-to-day with left back tightness.

After coming on as a defensive replacement for Christian Arroyo the previous inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. provided some late-game insurance in his lone plate appearance of the night in the bottom of the eighth. After J.D. Martinez and Franchy Cordero (pinch-hitting for Bogaerts) reached base, Bradley Jr. greeted new Mariners reliever Anthony Misiewicz by cranking a three-run homer 359 feet to the opposite field.

Bradley Jr.’s first big fly of the year put the Sox up 7-3. Matt Strahm then slammed the door on the Mariners in the ninth inning to secure his team’s third consecutive win.

Next up: Flexen vs. Whitlock

The Red Sox will go for their third consecutive series win in the third game of this four-game set against the Mariners on Saturday evening. Boston will turn to right-hander Garrett Whitlock while Seattle will roll with fellow righty Chris Flexen.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold scratched from start with Triple-A Worcester due to pectoral strain

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold was slated to make his eighth start of the season for Triple-A Worcester at Polar Park on Friday night. The right-hander has instead been scratched from his outing due to a pectoral strain, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) earlier Friday evening.

Seabold is currently regarded by Baseball America as the 10th-ranked pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system and has impressed early on with the WooSox this season. Over seven starts, the 26-year-old has posted a 2.45 ERA and 2.86 FIP with 37 strikeouts to 10 walks over 36 2/3 innings of work.

Among qualified International League pitchers, Seabold ranks 12th in strikeout rate (25.2%), 11th in walk rate (6.8%), 11th in swinging strike rate (12.5%), fourth in batting average against (.179), third in WHIP (0.93), sixth in ERA, third in FIP, and 22nd in xFIP (4.38), per FanGraphs.

Given that he made his major-league debut last September and is already on the Sox’ 40-man roster, Seabold — as noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith — is one of Boston’s top depth starters at the Triple-A level alongside Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski, and Brayan Bello.

Cora relayed that the Red Sox do not believe Seabold’s injury to be serious, but it is unclear how long the righty will be sidelined for. In the meantime, left-hander Thomas Pannone will start in place of Seabold for the WooSox on Friday.

Should Boston need a starting pitcher to come up from the minors in the coming days or weeks, that responsibility will likely fall to Crawford or maybe even Winckowski.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Red Sox officially activate Michael Wacha from injured list, option Ryan Brasier to Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the Mariners at Fenway Park on Friday night, the Red Sox reinstated right-hander Michael Wacha from the 15-day injured list. In order to make room for Wacha on the major-league roster, fellow righty Ryan Brasier was unsurprisingly optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Wacha returns from the injured list after being placed there on May 8 because of left intercostal irritation. Because his stint on the IL was backdated to May 5, though, the 30-year-old was eligible to be activated as soon as Friday.

As such, Wacha will take the mound against the Mariners to kick off the weekend, marking his first competitive outing since May 3. Through his first five starts of the season, the veteran hurler has posted a 1.38 ERA and 3.91 FIP to go along with 19 strikeouts to 11 walks over 26 innings of work.

Brasier, meanwhile, will head to Worcester after getting his 2022 campaign in Boston off to a rough start. After giving up a home run to Julio Rodriguez in the ninth inning of Thursday’s 12-6 win over Seattle, the 34-year-old reliever has now put up a 6.28 ERA and 6.03 FIP with 16 strikeouts to three walks across his first 18 appearances (13 1/3 innings) of the season.

Since he has one minor-league option remaining, the Red Sox are presumably optimistic that Brasier can find something in Worcester while working with WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott, as he did last September.

The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams was the first to report that Brasier would be optioned to Worcester to make room on the roster for Wacha.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Latest mock draft has Red Sox taking University of California outfielder Dylan Beavers with top pick

In his first mock draft of the year for Bleacher Report, Joel Reuter has the Red Sox taking University of California, Berkeley outfielder Dylan Beavers with their top pick at No. 24 overall in the first round.

The Red Sox, Reuter writes, “have long shown a willingness to bet on upside, and Beavers could be one of the better power bats in the class.”

Beavers, who turns 21 in August, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the 38th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class. Coming into play on Friday, the left-handed hitting junior has batted .292/.423/.651 with 16 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs, 48 RBIs, 55 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 45 walks, and 48 strikeouts over 51 games (248 plate appearances) this season for the Golden Bears.

Defensively, Beavers has seen all of his playing time this season come in right field. The 6-foot-4, 206 pounder has registered two outfield assists and three errors thus far, which is good for a .972 fielding percentage.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Beavers possesses a solid base of tools and has a projectable frame “that should add more strength and raw power.” In regards to his defense, it notes that the 20-year-old has played “center field in the past… but profiles better in a corner at the next level.”

While there is a lot to like about Beavers’ game, some concerns arose last summer as he struggled while playing in both the Cape Cod Baseball League and for Team USA’s collegiate national team. As noted by Baseball America “some scouts thought his swing stiffened up over the summer and a lowering of his back elbow has created some inconsistencies” in his approach.

That being said, Beavers still has plenty of intriguing potential, which is precisely why the California native is projected to go in the first round of this year’s draft on July 17 in Los Angeles.

The recommended slot value for the 24th overall pick in the 2022 amateur draft comes in at roughly $2.975 million. The Red Sox last used a first-round selection on a college outfielder in 2015, when they took Andrew Benintendi at No. 7 out of the University of Arkansas.

Besides Beavers, Boston has been linked to other college outfielders such as Tennessee’s Jordan Beck and Drew Gilbert in recent mock drafts.

(Picture of Dylan Beavers: Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox option Ryan Brasier to Triple-A Worcester to make room on roster for Michael Wacha, per report

The Red Sox optioned veteran reliever Ryan Brasier to Triple-A Worcester following Thursday night’s 12-6 win over the Mariners at Fenway Park, reports Julian McWilliams of The Boston Globe.

The move to send Brasier down to Worcester allows the Sox to create a spot on their 26-man roster for fellow right-hander Michael Wacha, who is expected to be activated from the 15-day injured list and start against the M’s on Friday night.

Brasier was an obvious candidate to be demoted since he is in his final season with a minor-league option. Thus far in 2022, the 34-year-old hurler has struggled to the tune of a 6.28 ERA with 16 strikeouts to three walks over 18 appearances (14 1/3 innings pitched) out of the Boston bullpen. He gave up his fifth home run of the year to Julio Rodriguez in the ninth inning of Thursday’s victory.

By sending him down to Triple-A, the Red Sox are presumably hopeful that Brasier can work on some things with WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott. The same sort of thing happened last year as well.

After returning from the 60-day injured list in September, Brasier produced a 10.09 FIP over his first five outings of 2021. Boston then optioned him to Worcester on September 17 and called him back up just four days later. From there, the righty did not allow a single run across his final eight appearances (7 2/3 innings) of the season.

Going back to the start of last September, no Red Sox reliever has made more regular season appearances than Brasier (31), so he is clearly someone manager Alex Cora likes to go to when he is on.

With that being said, perhaps Brasier can once again find something in Worcester and use that to turn his season around for the better.

(Picture of Ryan Brasier: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Trevor Story crushes 3 home runs, collects 7 RBIs as Red Sox overcome early deficit to defeat Mariners, 12-6

The Red Sox fell behind early, but ultimately prevailed against the Mariners for their second straight win on Thursday night. Boston defeated Seattle by a final score of 12-6 to improve to 16-22 on the season.

Rich Hill made his seventh start of the year for the Sox, but really served as more of an opener. The veteran left-hander allowed four earned runs on six hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts over just two innings of work.

All four runs Hill surrendered on Thursday came in the top half of the second. He yielded a leadoff double to Eugenio Suarez and one-out single to Abraham Toro before Dylan Moore cranked a three-run home run over the Green Monster. Adam Frazier then reached base via a two-out walk and scored all the way from first on an RBI double off the bat of Ty France. That gave the Mariners a 4-0 lead before Hill was able to get through his second and final inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 56 (35 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw may not have been able to provide Boston with length, but it had a fresh bullpen to work with following Nick Pivetta’s complete game two-hitter the night prior.

Before the Red Sox bullpen was called into action, the lineup got things going against Mariners rookie starter George Kirby in their half of the second. Alex Verdugo broke out of of a prolonged slump with a leadoff single. Trevor Story followed by crushing a towering two-run home run 402 feet to dead center field to cut the deficit in half at 4-2.

An inning later, Story struck again with a runner on base ahead of him. Following a leadoff single from J.D. Martinez, Story clubbed his second two-run blast of the game — a 403-foot shot down the left field line — to knot things up at four runs apiece.

To that point, Tanner Houck had already received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in relief of Hill and worked a 1-2-3 third inning. The right-hander picked up where he left off in the fourth by retiring nine of the next 11 Mariners he faced while keeping that 4-4 tie intact going into the middle of the sixth.

Seattle was ready to take Kirby out of the game in favor of veteran reliever Sergio Romo, but the rookie had to face at least one batter since he had already taken the mound. That one batter he did face, Verdugo, led the bottom of the sixth off with a sharply-hit double. Romo was then greeted by Story, who managed to plate Verdugo on a single back up the middle that was accompanied by a fielding error. After taking their first lead of the night at 5-4, Story stole third base and scored from third on an RBI double from Jackie Bradley Jr.

John Schreiber took over for Houck following his four impressive frames in the seventh and retired the side in order. In the bottom of the seventh, the Sox padded their lead as Bobby Dalbec, Christian Vazquez, and Bradley Jr. were either walked or hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

The Mariners got one of those runs back in the top of the eighth when Hirokazu Sawamura loaded the bases with one out and Matt Strahm walked one of those runners in before ending the inning.

A half-inning later, Martinez and Bogaerts reached on back-to-back one-out singles to put runners on first and second for Story, who capped off his memorable night by depositing a 358-foot three-run home run into the Monster seats.

Story’s third big fly of the game and fifth of the season gave Boston a commanding 12-5 lead. Ryan Brasier gave one of those runs back on a Julio Rodriguez solo shot in the top of the ninth, but was able to slam the door on Seattle to secure a 12-6 victory.

Some notes from this win:

Trevor Story went 4-for-4 with three homers, seven RBIs, five runs scored, one walk, and one stolen base. It was the second three-home run game of the 29-year-old’s career and undoubtedly his best all-around performance with the Red Sox so far this season.

From MLB Stats, Story is the first second baseman in major-league history to hit three home runs and steal a base in the same game.

J.D. Martinez went 4-for-5 with three runs scored while Alex Verdugo went 3-for-5 with four runs scored.

Rafael Devers also extended his hitting streak to 13 straight games as part of a 1-for-5 night at the plate.

Alex Cora won his 300th game as Red Sox manager on Thursday.

Next up: Ray vs. Wacha

The Red Sox are expected to activate right-hander Michael Wacha from the 15-day injured list and have him start against the Mariners on Friday night opposite reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray.

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

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Darwinzon Hernandez undergoes surgery to repair torn right meniscus

Red Sox left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, manager Alex Cora announced before Thursday’s series opener against the Mariners at Fenway Park.

“I don’t know about the timetable and all that,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Thursday afternoon, “but hopefully he’ll be back soon.”

Hernandez, who had been with Triple-A Worcester to start the season, tweaked his knee while throwing a bullpen session at Polar Park over the weekend. He was placed on the minor-league injured list this past Tuesday but is now likely headed for the 60-day injured list.

The Red Sox elected to option Hernandez to Worcester towards the end of spring training so that he could improve upon his command and mechanics while working on a starter’s schedule. Put another way, the Venezuelan-born southpaw would make his 2-3-inning start, and then use the days in between outings to work with WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott in order to become more consistent with his delivery.

In eight appearances (seven starts) for the WooSox, Hernandez posted a 5.95 ERA and 4.42 FIP to go along with 30 strikeouts to 16 walks over 19 2/3 innings of work. Last time out against the Rochester Red Wings on May 13, the 25-year-old allowed just one unearned run on three hits, one walk, and three strikeouts across three innings pitched. He retired nine of the 13 batters he faced and 33 of the 43 pitches he threw went for strikes.

Abbott told Cora it was Hernandez’s best start of the season in regards to repeating his delivery.

“Forget the results,” said Cora. “Just repeating his delivery and getting him to where we wanted him to get. The fastball the last two or three, it was on point. He was taking the work that he was doing on the side in between starts to the game. And it sucks for the kid. But we know he’s going to bounce back and he’s going to be OK.”

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Bryan Mata reaches 100 mph in first competitive action since undergoing Tommy John surgery

For the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last April, Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Mata faced off against batters from another organization on Thursday, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Down in Fort Myers, Mata threw two innings in an extended spring training game. The right-hander did not allow a run or hit over those two frames while recording five strikeouts, two walks, and topping out at 100 mph with his fastball.

Mata, 23, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 11 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks fifth among pitchers in the organization.

Originally signed out of Venezuela for just $25,000 in 2016, Mata was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in November 2020. The following spring, it seemed as though the righty had a good chance to break camp in Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation before it was revealed he would require season-ending surgery.

Fast forward 13 months, and Mata is back on the mound and working his way towards getting into minor-league games again. Per Speier, Mata will likely begin a rehab assignment in early June, when the Florida Complex League season begins.

From there, the Red Sox plan to keep Mata on a starter’s schedule and get to a point where they could possibly pair him with fellow right-hander Brayan Bello in Worcester this summer.

Prior to going under the knife, the 6-foot-3 and 229 pound hurler worked with a five-pitch mix that consisted of a 94-96 mph four-seam fastball, a 91-93 mph two-seam fastball, an 86-90 mph slider, a 78-80 mph curveball, and an 84-86 changeup.

There were some questions whether Mata could stick as a starter or would be better suited for a move to the bullpen. But, as noted by Speier, he is considered to have a high ceiling in either role.

While the Red Sox will understandably take their time when it comes to his rehab, the possibility remains that Mata — who is already on Boston’s 40-man roster — could make his major-league debut by the end of the 2022 season if all goes well.

(Picture of Bryan Mata: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

The Athletic’s latest mock draft has Red Sox taking Clemson University third baseman Max Wagner with top pick

In his first mock draft of the year, Keith Law of The Athletic has the Red Sox selecting Clemson University third baseman Max Wagner with their top pick at No. 24 overall.

Wagner is not regarded by publications such as Baseball America or MLB Pipeline as one of the top prospects in the 2022 draft class, but Law has identified the 20-year-old infielder as one of the draft’s up-and-comers.

“Wagner is one of the fastest risers in the draft this year after a stretch in April where he hit 12 homers in 14 games, putting him second in Division I right now behind Texas’ Alex Melendez,” Law wrote on Thursday. “His pull-heavy approach would play very well in Fenway or Minute Maid [Park], although I’m not sure he’s going to stay on the dirt.”

Coming into play on Thursday, the right-handed hitter has slashed a stout .377/.506/.863 with 15 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 69 RBIs, 61 runs scored, one stolen base, 42 walks, and 43 strikeouts through his first 53 games (236 plate appearances) with the Tigers this season.

Defensively, Wagner has seen all his playing time in college come at third base. As noted by Law, though, the draft-eligible sophomore from Green Bay could be best suited for the outfield given his 6-foot, 215-pound frame.

That Wagner, who turns 21 in August, has posted a ridiculous 1.370 OPS this year is impressive when you consider the fact that he struggled to the tune of a .651 OPS in 35 games as a freshman. The improvement, per Law, comes from a swing change.

“Wagner changed his swing after an underwhelming freshman year for Clemson,” he wrote in his scouting report, “and now the draft-eligible sophomore is destroying fastballs with plus-plus power to his pull side, and shows solid command of the strike zone, although his defense at third isn’t great and he might end up in an outfield corner.”

The Red Sox last used as first-round pick on a college infielder in 2012, when they took Deven Marrero out of Arizona State University. Fast forward 10 years, and the assigned slot value for the 24th overall selection in the 2022 draft — which begins in Los Angeles on July 17 — comes in at roughly $2.975 million.

Will Boston use its first-round pick this year on a more experienced player such as Wagner? Or will they use it on a more highly-touted high schooler like Dylan Lesko? The next two months could determine the answers to these questions.

(Picture of Max Wagner: Bart Boatwright/The Clemson Insider)