Red Sox prospect Cedanne Rafaela hits first home run of spring

Versatile Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela hit his first home run of the spring in Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the Pirates at LECOM Park in Bradenton. He actually accounted for Boston’s only two runs on one swing of the bat.

After pinch-running for Christian Arroyo in the top half of the seventh, Rafaela registered his first and only plate appearance two innings later. With one out and one runner on in the ninth, the right-handed hitter took Pirates reliever Austin Brice 399 feet deep to right-center field to make it a 6-2 game.

Rafaela, 21, has made the most out of his limited playing time this spring. Following Tuesday’s performance, the young infielder/outfielder is batting .273 (3-for-11)/.273/.636 with one double, one homer, two RBIs, four runs scored, and one stolen base over five Grapefruit League appearances.

Originally signed out of Curacao for just $10,000 in July 2017, Rafaela comes into the 2022 season regarded by Baseball America as the best defensive outfielder and No. 22 overall prospect in Boston’s farm system.

As that superlative suggests, Rafaela is known more for his defense than his offense. With Low-A Salem last year, the 5-foot-8, 152 pounder saw playing time at six different positions (2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF) en route to being named the Sox’ Minor League Defensive Player of the Year in September.

So far this spring, Rafaela has logged two innings at shortstop, five innings in left field, and 14 innings in center field. He has yet to commit an error at either of the three positions.

On the other side of the ball, Rafaela is coming off a 2021 campaign with Salem in which he batted .251/.305/.424 (95 wRC+) to go along with 20 doubles, nine triples, 10 home runs, 53 RBIs, 73 runs scored, 23 stolen bases, 25 walks, and 79 strikeouts across 102 games spanning 432 plate appearances.

Among qualified hitters in the Low-A East last season, Rafaela ranked 10th in strikeout rate (18.3%), 22nd in batting average, 12th in slugging percentage, 22nd in OPS (.729), 10th in isolated power (.173), second in speed score (9.0), and 29th in wRC+, according to FanGraphs.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, what makes Rafaela so dynamic defensively is his speed, which allows him to take “excellent routes and jumps on hard-to-reach contact to the outfield.” His arm strength also grades “as above-average to plus in both the infield and outfield.”

Considering that he does not turn 22 until September, there still may be some room for Rafaela to grow physically. Regardless of that, though, it would appear that the Willemstad native has the makings to be a super-utility player at the major-league level if he can reach his full potential.

Well before that happens, however, Rafaela still has to work his way up the organizational ladder. He is projected by to begin the 2022 minor-season with High-A Greenville.

(GIF of Ceddanne Rafaela via GIPHY)


Red Sox outright Austin Brice to Triple-A Worcester after reliever clears waivers, again

After being designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Friday, right-hander Austin Brice has cleared waivers and was subsequently outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced earlier Saturday afternoon.

Brice, who turned 29 last month, was designated for assignment for a second time this season so that the Sox could make room on both their 26-man and 40-man rosters for outfield prospect Jarren Duran.

The 6-foot-4, 238 pound righty opened the year in Boston’s bullpen for a second straight year, but got off to a rough start in which he posted a 6.94 ERA and .867 OPS over 12 appearances (11 2/3 innings pitched) before getting designated for a first time on May 21.

After clearing waivers, however, Brice was outrighted to Worcester on May 25, and he found success there by pitching to the tune of a 1.20 ERA and .140 batting average against in 12 games (one start) and 15 innings of work.

With that recent run of success in his back pocket, Brice earned a promotion back up to the Red Sox on July 10 and appeared in a game that same day, though he surrendered one run over two innings in an 11-2 loss to the Phillies at Fenway Park.

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Sox decided it was an appropriate time to call up Duran ahead of their series against the Yankees in the Bronx, and that decision ultimately led to Brice losing his spot on the 40-man.

Now that he is back in Worcester, Brice re-joins a WooSox bullpen that includes the likes of Brandon Brennan, Matt Hall, Kevin McCarthy, Phillips Valdez, and Marcus Walden, among others.

If the Red Sox were to call up Brice, who is out of minor-league options, again at some point later this season, they would need to open up a spot on their 40-man roster in order to accommodate him.

(Picture of Austin Brice: Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Red Sox roster moves: Jarren Duran, Tanner Houck called up from Triple-A Worcester; Austin Brice designated for assignment; Marwin Gonzalez (hamstring strain) placed on injured list

Before opening up what is now a three-game series against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday night, the Red Sox made a flurry of roster moves.

First off, outfield prospect Jarren Duran was selected to the major-league roster from Triple-A Worcester. In order to create room for Duran on both the 26-man and 40-man rosters, right-handed reliever Austin Brice was designated for assignment.

Secondly, utility man Marwin Gonzalez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain. The beginning of his stint on the injured list was backdated to July 13. To fill Gonzalez’s spot on the major-league roster, right-hander Tanner Houck was recalled from Worcester

The Red Sox made all these transactions official earlier Friday evening. Their 40-man roster is now full.

Duran, 24, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking tops among outfielders in the organization.

Selected by the Red Sox in the seventh round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Long Beach State (Calif)., the left-handed hitter opened the 2021 minor-league season with Triple-A Worcester, where he has slashed .270/.365/.561 with eight doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, 32 RBI, 37 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 24 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 46 games spanning 219 trips to the plate.

While Duran, who turns 25 in September, is not in the Sox’ starting lineup for Friday’s contest, he will likely join the likes of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts as top Red Sox outfield prospects to make their major-league debuts at Yankee Stadium.

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, Duran will wear the No. 40, which was last worn by former infielder Marco Hernandez.

As for Brice, the right-hander wound up getting designated for assignment in order for the Red Sox to clear a spot on their 40-man — and subsequently their 26-man — roster for Duran.

Brice, 29, opened the 2021 campaign in Boston’s bullpen, but was designated on May 21 after getting off to a rough start in which he posted a 6.94 ERA and .867 OPS against over 12 appearances spanning 11 2/3 innings of work.

After clearing waivers and being outrighted to Worcester on May 25, Brice found success with the WooSox, as he put up a miniscule 1.20 ERA in 12 games (15 innings pitched).

That decent run resulted in the righty earning a promotion back to Boston on July 10, though he appeared in just one game for the big-league club this time around and allowed one run on two hits over two innings in an 11-2 loss at the hands of the Phillies on July 10.

In designating him for assignment once again, the Red Sox will have seven days to either trade, release, or outright Brice if he clears waivers.

Turning to the second installment of Friday’s roster moves, Marwin Gonzalez was placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to July 13) after re-aggravating and straining his right hamstring in Sunday’s loss to the Phillies.

The versatile 32-year-old sustained the injury while running out a groundball in the second inning of that contest, resulting in him being replaced by Bobby Dalbec at first base in the top half of the third.

Because his stint on the injured list was backdated to July 13, the soonest Gonzalez could be activated is next Friday, July 23, though it certainly seems as though the switch-hitter could very well miss more than the minimum 10 days.

While Jarren Duran essentially takes Gonzalez’s place on the roster in terms of position player-to-pitcher composition, it’s right-hander Tanner Houck who literally takes Gonzalez’s spot on the major-league squad.

Houck, 25, last pitched for the Red Sox on April 18 after beginning the year in the club’s starting rotation and later making a spot start during a doubleheader against the White Sox.

In his three outings (two starts) with Boston this season, Houck — who made his big-league debut last September — posted a 4.35 ERA, a 2.39 FIP, and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 12:1 over 10 1/3 total innings of work.

Upon being optioned to Triple-A Worcester in late April, however, the right-hander was forced to miss approximately six weeks of action after experiencing flexor muscle soreness in his throwing arm during his first start of the year for the WooSox on May 4.

Following a lengthy shutdown period, Houck was able to return to the mound for Worcester on June 17 and pitched to the tune of a 4.50 ERA and 3.28 FIP while striking out 22 and walking 18 in five starts (18 innings pitched) between then and the time he was called up on Friday.

The Red Sox plan on using Houck in a hybrid role in which the lanky righty will both start and pitch out of the bullpen when needed. The former first-round pick’s first start of the second half will come against the Blue Jays in Buffalo next Wednesday.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Boston Red Sox)

Red Sox place Matt Andriese on 10-day injured list with right hamstring tendinitis, select Austin Brice from Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the Phillies at Fenway Park on Saturday, the Red Sox placed right-hander Matt Andriese on the 10-day injured list with right hamstring tendinitis.

In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Austin Brice was selected to the major-league roster from Triple-A Worcester, the team announced earlier Saturday afternoon.

According to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Andriese suffered the hamstring injury during the seventh inning of Friday night’s 11-5 win over Philadelphia, as he came off the field limping after recording the final out of the frame.

“On the last pitch, if you go to the video, he comes out limping. I noticed it right away,” Cora told reporters (including’s Matt Vautour) Saturday morning. “He was going to go out for a second inning, but I took him off. We brought in Darwinzon (Hernandez), who we usually don’t use in those situations.

“We talked a little bit. He talked to the medical staff and we decided this is the best thing we can do. Get him right. He needs that,” added Cora. “Mechanics-wise that was not helping him. He’s been grinding. Just to unplug him and get him right, I think is the best course of action.”

Andriese — who the Red Sox signed to a one-year, $2.1 million deal in December with the idea of being a hybrid sort of pitcher who can provide length out of the bullpen while also starting when needed — allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in the seventh inning of Friday’s contest, marking yet another shaky outing for the righty.

After posting a 1.42 ERA in the month of April, Andriese has mostly struggled since then, as the veteran hurler has put up an unsightly 8.39 ERA and 1.032 OPS against over his last 13 relief appearances (24 2/3 innings pitched) dating back to May 1.

On the 2021 campaign as a whole, the 31-year-old hurler owns an ERA of 6.03 and FIP of 4.70 to go along with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 38:11 in 26 outings spanning 37 1/3 total innings of work.

Because he was placed on the IL on July 10, the soonest Andriese could be activated would be July 20, though it remains to be seen if he will miss more than the minimum 10 days.

Brice, meanwhile, returns to the Sox’ major-league roster after being designated for assignment on May 21 in order to make room on the 40-man for utility man Danny Santana.

Prior to that happening, Brice had gotten his 2021 season off to a rough start with Boston, as he posted a 6.94 ERA and .867 OPS over 12 appearances and 11 2/3 innings before being designated.

After clearing waivers on May 25, however, the 29-year-old was outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, where he had a much better time of things.

That being the case because, leading up to his call-up on Saturday, Brice had allowed just two earned runs on seven hits, eight walks, and 17 strikeouts in 12 outings (one start) and 15 innings pitched with the WooSox.

The Red Sox had an open spot on their 40-man roster after placing right-hander Eduard Bazardo on the 60-day injured list earlier this week, so they were able to add Brice back to the big-league squad without having to make a corresponding move in that regard.

And while Brice is back with Boston for the time being, the lanky righty remains out of minor-league options, meaning the Sox would have to expose him to waivers again if they wanted to send him down to Worcester once more.

(Picture of Matt Andriese: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Austin Brice to Triple-A Worcester after reliever clears waivers

Four days after being designated for assignment, Red Sox reliever Austin Brice has cleared waivers and has subsequently been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced Tuesday afternoon.

Brice, who turns 29 next month, was designated by Boston last Friday when utility man Danny Santana was called up from the WooSox ahead of this past weekend’s series against the Phillies in Philadelphia.

Originally acquired in a January 2020 trade from the Marlins, the veteran right-hander struggled to find his footing in his second season with the Sox, posting an unsightly 6.94 ERA, 6.40 FIP, and 9:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 12 appearances (11 2/3 innings pitched) this year.

Because he went unclaimed on waivers, Brice will report to Worcester, where — as noted by’s Chris Cotillo — he will join a WooSox bullpen that includes the likes of Brandon Brennan, Colten Brewer, Matt Hall, Kevin McCarthy, John Schreiber, Marcus Walden, and Brandon Workman, all of whom have big-league experience with the Red Sox or elsewhere.

Cotillo also adds that if the Red Sox found themselves in need of bullpen help at the minor-league level, they would likely turn to Brewer since he is one of two names above who are currently on Boston’s 40-man roster.

(Picture of Austin Brice: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo celebrates 25th birthday by breaking out of slump, crushing home run as Red Sox blank Angels, 9-0

Alex Verdugo celebrated his birthday in style at Fenway Park on Saturday afternoon.

Coming into the day in the midst of a chilly 2-for-24 slump, the newly-turned 25-year-old set the tone for the Red Sox by taking Angels starter Dylan Bundy deep to right field for his fifth home run of the season right away in the first inning.

Verdugo’s solo blast put Boston up by a run early on in what would turn out to be a commanding 9-0 victory over Los Angeles.

With the win — their third straight, the Sox improved to 25-16 on the season and 13-11 at Fenway Park.

Dalbec, Cordero collect two doubles each

As was the case on Friday night, the bottom of the Red Sox lineup continued its recent run of success thanks to the efforts of Bobby Dalbec and Franchy Cordero on Saturday.

Dalbec added on the Sox’ early lead by plating two more runs in the bottom half of the fourth, driving in Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers on a sharply-hit double off the base of the Green Monster.

Franchy Cordero followed with a hard-hit double of his own that had an exit velocity of 110 mph and brought in Dalbec from second to make it a 4-0 game.

Fast forward to the sixth, and the Dalbec-Cordero combination struck again. This time with the former leading off the inning with his second two-base hit of the day and the latter scoring him on his second two-base hit of the day as well.

In total, Dalbec — who now has multiple hits in two of his last three games — and Cordero combined to go 4-for-8 on Saturday with four doubles, two runs scored, and four RBI.

Bogaerts, Devers homer

Boston’s No. 8 and No. 9 hitters were not the only dynamic duo the Red Sox rode to a blowout win on Saturday, as the No. 4 and No. 5 hitters enjoyed productive days at the plate as well.

Bogaerts took advantage of Verdugo and J.D. Martinez reaching base with no outs in the fifth by clubbing a monstrous 446-foot three-run shot over everything in left field to give his team a 7-0 lead.

Devers, meanwhile, wrapped up the scoring for his side and put the finishing touches on this one when he crushed his team-leading 10th home run of the season to right-center field in the seventh.

The 24-year-old’s 408-foot big fly put the Red Sox up 9-0, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Perez picks up first win of season

Backed by an offensive outpouring, Martin Perez had plenty of run support on his way to tossing six solid innings in his eighth start of the season.

Over those six frames, the left-hander kept the Angels off the scoreboard while scattering three hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

For how shaky of a first inning Perez had by issuing two walks to the first three hitters he faced, he settled in nicely and wound up retiring 14 of the final 18 Angels who came to the plate against him.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 97 (60 strikes) while getting through six full innings for the first time this season, the 30-year-old hurler threw 31 cutters, 24 sinkers, 21 changeups, 11 curveballs, and 10 four-seam fastballs. He topped out at 95.1 mph with his heater.

Able to pick up his long-awaited first win of the season in addition to lowering his ERA to 3.40, Perez’s next start should come against the Phillies in Philadelphia next Friday.

Red Sox bullpen preserves the shutout

In relief of Perez, the three three relievers the Red Sox turned to were able to see the club’s second shutout of the season through to its completion.

Despite dealing with their collective fair share of traffic on the base paths, Phillps Valdez, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Austin Brice combined to toss three scoreless frames to secure the 9-0 victory for the Red Sox.

Next up: Going for the sweep

The Red Sox will go for the series sweep over the struggling 16-22 Angels and their fourth consecutive win overall back at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston in the series finale, and he will be opposed by left-hander Jose Quintana for Los Angeles.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Michael Chavis homers in first start of season as Red Sox pounce on Orioles, 11-6, for third straight win

Michael Chavis announced his return to the Red Sox with a bang on Saturday night against the Orioles.

In his first game back with Boston since last September, Chavis — who was recalled from Triple-A Worcester on Friday, crushed a 381-foot two-run home run off Baltimore starter Zac Lowther to give his side a 4-1 lead in the second inning.

The 25-year-old finished the day 1-for-6 at the plate as the Sox topped the O’s by a final score of 11-6 to improve to 21-13 on the season.

All nine members of Boston’s starting lineup either scored or drove in a run on Saturday, Chavis included.

On top of that, Alex Verdugo and Xander Bogaerts both had three-hit nights, while Christian Vazquez and Hunter Renfroe both collected two hits.

Bogaerts homers, shows off defensive prowess

Chavis was not the only Red Sox hitter to go deep on Saturday. Xander Bogaerts also went yard to notch his seventh home run of the season in the seventh inning.

There, after the Sox had gone up 9-2 over the Orioles, the star shortstop put the finishing touches on a commanding win with yet another two-run blast to score J.D. Martinez as well as himself on a 414-foot shot off Tyler Wells.

Per Baseball Savant, Bogaerts’ homer — which gave Boston an 11-2 lead — had an exit velocity of 106.2 mph off the bat.

Not only did Bogaerts impress at the plate, he also made some nifty and somewhat crucial plays with his glove as well. Like in the sixth, when the Orioles had Garrett Richards on the ropes and had already pushed across two runs in the inning.

With one out and runners at first and second, Maikel Franco ripped a 107.9 mph groundball towards Bogaerts.

Fielding the ball to his right while on a knee, the 28-year-old quickly gathered himself, spun, and made a clean throw to second base to start an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

In the seventh, Bogaerts again ended an inning by flashing the leather, this time robbing Cedric Mullins of a base hit by making a leaping grab on a 96 mph lineout.

Richards goes seven innings, picks up win

Richards, Saturday’s starter for the Red Sox, twirled seven solid innings in his seventh start of the season — and third against the Orioles already.

Over those seven innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded four earned runs on eight hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the night.

He allowed those first two Baltimore runs to cross the plate in the first and second, but then settled down for a decent stretch before allowing two more on three hits and a walk in the sixth.

Despite a taxing sixth inning, Richards did come back out for the seventh and ended his outing on a more positive note by sitting down the final three hitters he faced in order.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (64 strikes), the 32-year-old relied on his four-seam fastball 52% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing two swings-and-misses while topping out at 96.2 mph with the pitch.

Able to improve to 2-2 on the season, Richards’ next start should come against the Athletics back at Fenway Park on Thursday.

Brice shaky, Taylor closes it out

In relief of Richards, Austin Brice got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen at a point in time where his side had a seven-run lead.

Brice worked a scoreless eighth inning, but allowed two runs to score in the ninth before Josh Taylor came on to record the final out of the game on a three-pitch punchout of Trey Mancini.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Kremer

The Red Sox will go for their fourth straight win as well as a series win over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta will get the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by fellow righty Dean Kremer for Baltimore.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Michael Chavis: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Red Sox manage just 1 hit off John Means in Opening Day shutout loss to Orioles

For the first time since 1976, the Red Sox were held scoreless on Opening Day, as the club fell to the Orioles by a final score of 3-0 on Friday afternoon to kick off the 2021 regular season at Fenway Park.

Nathan Eovaldi made his first start of the season and second consecutive Opening Day start for Boston in this one, and he picked up where he left off last year in terms of performing well against Baltimore.

That being the case because on Friday, the veteran right-hander limited the O’s to just one run on four hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work.

Eovaldi was not on the mound at the time he was charged with that one run. He had retired nine of the last 10 hitters he faced leading up to the one-out mark in the top half of the sixth, at which point he got the hook in favor of fellow righty Matt Andriese on account of a relatively high pitch count.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 89 (54 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 52% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing five swings-and-misses while topping out at 98.6 mph with the pitch.

Ultimately hit with his first losing decision of the year, Eovaldi will look to rebound in his next time out, which should come back at Fenway Park against the reigning American League champion Tampa Bay Rays next Wednesday.

In relief of Eovaldi, Andriese came on in relief with a runner on and two outs to get in the top half of the sixth inning.

Making his Red Sox debut in this one, the 31-year-old walked the first man he saw in Trey Mancini on six pitches to put runners at first and second with still just only one out in the frame.

Andriese nearly got out of the jam on one of the very next pitches he threw following that free pass, as he got Anthony Santander to rip a hard-hit groundball to second baseman Enrique Hernandez — playing in a shift — for what looked to be the start of an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play. Just what the doctor ordered.

Instead, Hernandez, also making his Red Sox debut, had a difficult time corralling Santander’s groundball on a hop that allowed all Orioles runners to reach base safely. Hernandez was charged with a fielding error as a result.

That mishap allowed the top of half of the sixth to continue, and the Baltimore bats took full advantage of that when rookie sensation Ryan Mountcastle laced a two-run double off the Green Monster on a 3-2, 93.2 mph inside fastball from Andriese to give his side a 2-0 advantage.

Andriese managed to escape the sixth without yielding anything else and even worked a 1-2-3 seventh , but the damage had already been done.

From there, left-hander Josh Taylor managed to record just one out while surrendering another run on three hits to begin the top of the eighth before Austin Brice came on to clean up after Taylor by retiring the only two hitters he faced in order.

Japanese right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura, another Red Sox making their team debut on Friday, got the call for the ninth, looking to keep Boston’s deficit at a reachable three runs.

Making his major-league debut as well in this one after spending the first 10 years of his professional career overseas, Sawamura looked sharp with his four-seamer, splitter, and slider and allowed just one Oriole to reach base — a two-out double from Freddy Galvis — before getting Pedro Severino to ground out to second to retire the side and wrap up what was a solid 2021 debut.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against a familiar foe in Orioles left-hander John Means, who was supposed to get the Opening Day nod for Baltimore last year but was held out of that start due to a “dead arm.”

Fast forward to Opening Day 2021, and Means was clearly on a mission on Friday.

The 27-year-old southpaw served up a leadoff single to the very first hitter he faced in Hernandez, but nullified that by picking off the Sox second baseman at first after he had slipped off the bag while retreating towards it on Means’ throw to first.

As simple as a play as it was, Means picking off Hernandez may have played a pivotal role in the way the rest of Friday’s contest played out.

From that point on, the O’s starter was dealt another leadoff base runner when Xander Bogaerts reached safely on a fielding error to begin the second, but then proceeded to mow down the next 18 Red Sox hitters he faced.

From the bottom of the second through the end of the seventh, Means did not allow a single man to reach base against him. There were certainly some close calls, like when Bobby Dalbec nearly barreled what would turn out to be a flyball out to left field in the sixth, but the All-Star hurler got through seven clean innings unscathed. Quite the way to kick off the new season.

In the eighth, with Means out and lefty reliever Tanner Scott in, the Sox did show some signs of life with Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez reaching base on a pair of walks.

Vazquez’s free pass came with two outs in the frame, and it brought the tying run to the plate in the form of Dalbec, ever the home run threat.

Rather than put the ball in the air, though, the 25-year-old slugger watched a first-pitch called strike whizz by, then whiffed at a 96 mph fastball on the inner half of the plate, and was caught looking on an 0-2, 97 mph heater on the outer edge of the strike zone to extinguish said threat.

In the ninth, J.D. Martinez collected his first hit of the season on a two-out double off Orioles reliever Cesar Valdez, but it went for naught as Bogaerts followed by lining out to right field to put an end to things on Friday with a final score of 3-0 in favor of Baltimore.

Some notes from this loss:

Alex Cora is now 0-3 on Opening Day as a big-league manager.

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the middle game of what is now a three-game weekend series following Thursday’s rainout.

Saturday’s pitching matchup will feature a pair of right-handers seemingly on the opposite ends of their careers, with Tanner Houck getting the start for Boston and veteran righty Matt Harvey doing the same for Baltimore.

Houck, 24, was not originally going to make the Sox’ Opening Day starting rotation out of spring training, but Eduardo Rodriguez being placed on the injured list resulted in the rookie righty getting called up from the alternate training site on Thursday.

Houck impressed upon getting called up to the majors for the first time last September, posting a 0.53 ERA and .443 OPS against over three starts spanning 17 innings of work. Neither of those three outings were against the Orioles.

Harvey, meanwhile, made the Orioles’ starting rotation out of camp after signing a minor-league deal with the club back in February.

The 32-year-old Connecticut native was once a star in the making with the Mets, but he has since regressed to the point where he is coming off a 2020 campaign in which he surrendered 15 runs over 11 2/3 innings pitched for the Royals.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Red Sox will be going for their first win of the season.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign Matt Barnes, 6 others to one-year deals, tender contract to Rafael Devers

UPDATE: As noted by’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox also signed right-hander Chris Mazza and outfielder Yairo Munoz to one-year deals on Wednesday.

The non-tender deadline came and went Wednesday night without the Red Sox cutting a single arbitration or pre-arbitration eligible player from its 40-man roster.

Per a team release, the Sox agreed to one-year contracts with the likes of right-handers Austin Brice, Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, and Chris Mazza, left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, and catcher Kevin Plawecki.

Additionally, Boston will tender one-year contracts for the 2021 season to 25 players who remain unsigned, with third baseman Rafael Devers being the most notable of those individuals after the two sides failed to reach agreement on a deal.

The 24-year-old will have until January 15 to come to terms on a contract with the Sox or he will otherwise be headed for salary arbitration for the first time in his career come February.

As for the other players involved here,’s Chris Cotillo has the details on how much Barnes, Brasier, Brice, Mazza, Munoz, Plawecki, and Rodriguez will be earning next season:

Barnes: $4.5 million salary for 2021
Brasier: $1.25 million salary for 2021
Brice: $870,000 salary for 2021
Mazza: $576,000
Munoz: $582,500
Plawecki: $1.6 million salary for 2021
Rodriguez $8.3 million salary for 2021

All in all, the Red Sox owe this group listed above more than $17.5 million headed into the upcoming season.

Barnes, 30, and Rodriguez, 27, are the only two players who were entering their final year of arbitration eligibility, meaning they will become free agents for the first time in their respective careers next winter barring any extension talks.

On account of them not making any sort of cuts or subtractions on Wednesday, Boston’s 40-man roster is still at full capacity. That is likely to change now that this offseason’s free agency class has increased in size due to other clubs non-tendering a staggering amount of their eligible players in order to save money.

Red Sox Relievers Combine To Toss 6 2/3 Scoreless Innings en Route To 5-3 Victory Over Nationals

The Red Sox bounced back from an ugly 10-2 loss on Friday and were carried by their bullpen en route to a 5-3 victory over the defending World Series champion Nationals on Saturday.

Chris Mazza made his second start and third overall appearance of the season for Boston in this one, as he was recalled from Pawtucket on Saturday in a roster move that saw Nathan Eovaldi placed on the injured list.

Working 2 1/3 innings while facing the Nationals for the first time in his career, the right-hander yielded three runs, all of which were earned, on six hits and two walks to go along with three strikeouts on the night.

All three of those Washington tallies came in the top half of the third, when after retiring six of the first nine hitters he faced, Mazza struggled to record a single out and instead allowed three runs to cross the plate on four hits and a walk before fanning Kurt Suzuki on five pitches, which actually marked the end of his outing.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 75 (46 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his slider and cutter a combined 70% of the time he was on the mound Saturday, inducing 10 swings-and-misses with the two pitches. He also topped out at 94 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 11 times.

Hit with the no-decision due to the length of this outing, Mazza could be a candidate to get another start next time through the rotation, which would likely come against the Blue Jays late next week. We will have to wait and see on that.

In relief of Mazza, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez was dispatched with runners on first and second and two outs to get in the top of the third, and he got those outs while dancing around a bases-loaded jam in between two swinging strikeouts.

From there, Phillips Valdez stranded two runners and punched out the side in a scoreless fourth inning, and he also put two more runners on and recorded two more outs in the fifth before Austin Brice came on and ended the frame with the help of Alex Verdugo’s seventh outfield assist of the season.

Brice got the call for the start of the sixth as well and kept the Nationals off the board while leaving another two base runners stranded.

Josh Osich, Ryan Brasier, and Matt Barnes followed suit by combining to toss three shutout frames the rest of the way, with Barnes picking up his third save of the year courtesy of a seven-pitch groundout off the bat of Eric Thames to close out the ninth.

All in all, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke used six different relievers on Saturday — Hernandez, Valdez, Brice, Osich, Brasier, and Barnes — and the six combined to twirl 6 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen. Not too shabby.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against another veteran right-hander for the Nationals in Anibal Sanchez. This time around, though, the Boston bats had an easier time of getting runs on the board, and it started right from the jump in the bottom of the first.

There, an Alex Verdugo leadoff single and one-out double from J.D. Martinez put runners in scoring position for Xander Bogaerts, who took full advantage of that opportunity by swinging away at the first pitch he saw from Sanchez, an 89 mph four-seamer above the strike zone, and crushing a 440-foot three-run home run to left-center field.

Bogaerts’ seventh big fly of the season, which had an exit velocity of 106.3 mph off the bat, gave his side an early three-run advantage.

An inning later, the bottom of the lineup got it done this time, as Kevin Pillar led the second off with a hard-hit triple and came into score moments later on a Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI groundout. 4-0.

Fast forward to the fourth, after the Nationals had stormed back to make things interesting at 4-3, Pillar struck once more, collecting his second extra-base hit of the night off an 0-1, 89 mph fastball from Sanchez at the top of the zone. It just so happens that this extra-base knock was hit 435 feet over the Monster and was good for Pillar’s fourth big fly of 2020.

That solo blast gave the Red Sox a two-run edge at 5-3, which would go on to be Saturday’s final score.

Some notes and observations from this victory:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the finale of this three-game weekend series against the Nationals on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Zack Godley will get the starting nod for Boston, while fellow righty Austin Voth will do the same for Washington.

Under normal circumstances, Godley’s rotation spot may be in jeopardy here seeing how the 30-year-old owns an ERA of 11.17 over his last three starts going back to August 12. However, Godley may be safe regardless of how he performs on Sunday since the Red Sox do not have a great deal of starting pitching options at the moment.

In nine career outings (five starts) against the Nationals, the South Carolina native has posted a lifetime 5.53 ERA and .884 OPS against over 40 2/3 total innings pitched.

Voth, meanwhile, is coming off a start in which he surrendered six runs in less than four innings of work at home against the Marlins on August 24.

The 28-year-old has never faced the Red Sox before in his career, but he does own a lifetime 3.52 ERA in six prior interleague outings that span 30 2/3 innings of work.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Red Sox going for the series win to close out the weekend.