Red Sox purchase contract of Brett Kennedy from Long Island Ducks, assign former Padres right-hander to Double-A Portland

The Red Sox have purchased the contract of right-hander Brett Kennedy from the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, the team announced on Tuesday. Kennedy has been assigned to Double-A Portland.

In six starts for the Ducks this season, Kennedy posted a 3.03 ERA and 1.19 WHIP with 27 strikeouts to nine walks over 32 2/3 innings of work.

Kennedy, 27, was originally selected by the Padres in the 11th round of the 2015 amateur draft out of Fordham University. The New Jersey-born righty broke in with San Diego in 2018 and produced a 6.75 ERA in six starts (26 2/3 innings) with the club.

After missing the majority of the 2019 campaign due to a right shoulder strain, the Padres removed Kennedy from their 40-man roster that October. He returned to affiliated ball in 2021 and made 17 appearances (14 starts) between three levels before becoming a free-agent and ultimately landing with the Ducks in April.

When Kennedy last pitched in the majors four years ago, the 6-foot, 200 pound hurler worked with a three-pitch mix that consisted of a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a changeup, per Baseball Savant.

According to the Baseball Performance Center in Pleasantville, N.J., however, Kennedy has since added a power sinker and sweeping curveball to his arsenal.

While he has been used primarily as a starting pitcher throughout his professional career, it is unclear if Kennedy, who turns 28 in August, will be used as a starter or reliever in Portland. Regardless, he should provide the Sea Dogs with some welcomed pitching depth whenever he joins the team.

A spot on Portland’s roster became available when relief prospect Franklin German was promoted to Triple-A Worcester earlier Tuesday afternoon.

(Picture of Brett Kennedy: Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote hard-throwing relief prospect Franklin German to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have promoted relief prospect Franklin German from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester, per the team’s transaction log.

German, 24, has posted a 3.18 ERA and 2.21 FIP with 18 strikeouts to three walks over 11 relief appearances spanning 11 1/3 innings of work out of Portland’s bullpen this season. The right-hander’s sixth and seventh outings of the year were separated by more than two weeks (April 26 to May 13) due to a non-baseball related issue.

Among Eastern League pitchers who have accrued at least 10 innings on the mound in 2022, German ranks 15th in strikeouts per nine innings (14.29), 11th in strikeout rate (39.1%), 13th in swinging strike rate (18.6%), 21st in batting average against (.154), 11th in WHIP (0.79), and 17th in FIP, per FanGraphs.

Originally selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2018 amateur draft out of the University of North Florida, German was dealt to the Red Sox in the same trade that sent veteran reliever Adam Ottavino to Boston last January.

Traditionally a starting pitcher throughout his professional career to that point, German opened the 2021 campaign in Portland’s starting rotation. But he struggled to the tune of a 5.45 ERA across his first 19 appearances (18 starts) of the season before moving to the Sea Dogs’ bullpen on a full-time basis in late August.

Since then, German has found success as a reliever that can mainly be attributed to an uptick in velocity. Last year, the 6-foot-2, 195 pound righty sat in the low-to-mid 90s as a starter. Upon transitioning to the ‘pen, he began reaching 97-98 mph while topping out at 99-102 mph with his fastball.

Because of this, German has caught the attention of Alex Cora and is firmly on the Red Sox manager’s “watchlist,” according to The Athletic’s Peter Gammons.

German, who turns 25 in September, is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 30 prospect in Boston’s farm system. In addition to his high-octane fastball, the hard-throwing hurler also works with a changeup and slider.

By being promoted to Triple-A, German will join a WooSox bullpen that includes the likes of Eduard Bazardo, Silvino Bracho, Ryan Brasier, Taylor Cole, Michael Feliz, Durbin Feltman, Geoff Hartlieb, Zack Kelly, Kaleb Ort, A.J. Politi (who was promoted last week), and Phillips Valdez.

German’s promotion comes at an interesting time when you consider the fact that he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter. The Red Sox would need to add him to their 40-man roster by the November deadline in order to proect him, so they could be using this as an opportunity to give German an extended look at the next level before making a decision regarding his future.

(Picture of Franklin German: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

MRI reveals Red Sox top prospect Marcelo Mayer has sprained wrist, but shortstop ‘is expected to resume baseball activities soon’

After being placed on Low-A Salem’s 7-day injured list last Friday, top Red Sox prospect Marcelo Mayer traveled to Boston over the weekend to undergo further testing on his sore right wrist.

An MRI revealed that Mayer had indeed sustained a sprain, Red Sox director of player development told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier on Tuesday. While there is no timetable for his return, the shortstop is expected to resume baseball activities in the very near future, per Speier and MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

Mayer was selected by Boston with the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, Calif. The left-handed hitter has slashed .333/.386/.507 with 10 doubles, one home run, 13 RBIs, nine runs scored, four stolen bases, seven walks, and 23 strikeouts over 17 games (83 plate appearances) in his first full professional season with Salem.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 188 pounds, Mayer first began experiencing wrist soreness in late April, which led to him being sidelined for more than two weeks after playing against the Charleston RiverDogs on April 23.

Upon returning to Salem’s lineup on May 10, the soreness persisted and Mayer was limited to just four games before officially being placed on the injured list on May 20.

The 19-year-old is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system as well as the 12th-ranked prospect in all of baseball.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Tyler Miller caps off productive weekend with Low-A Salem by crushing walk-off home run

Tyler Miller’s fifth home run of the season came at just the right time for Low-A Salem on Sunday night.

After Adenys Bautista blew a save opportunity by allowing the Lynchburg Hillcats to score two runs in the top half of the ninth inning, Miller was set to lead off the bottom of the ninth in what had become an 8-8 ballgame.

Having already gone 0-for-1 with one strikeout and a pair of walks on a rain-filled evening at Salem Memorial Ballpark, Miller found himself matched up against Hillcats right-hander Brauny Munoz. The left-handed hitter worked a 2-2 count before crushing a walk-off homer well over the right field wall to lift the Salem Sox to a 9-8 victory.

The 2022 season has been a tough one for Miller to date. It’s the 22-year-old’s first full campaign as a pro after being selected by Boston in the ninth round of last summer’s amateur draft out of Auburn University.

Following Sunday’s clutch performance, Miller is batting .193/.271/.370 (80 wRC+) with four doubles, one triple, five homers, 15 RBIs, 17 runs scored, three stolen bases, 10 walks, and 50 strikeouts over 31 games (133 plate appearances) this year.

After closing out the 2021 season with Salem, Miller returned to the Carolina League affiliate earlier this spring. The Alabama native held his own in April (122 wRC+), but had seen his production at the plate crater up until the latter half of Salem’s latest series with Lynchburg.

Miller played in the series opener last Tuesday and then rode the bench for two straight days. Since returning to Salem’s lineup on Friday, Miller has reached base in seven of his last 14 trips to the plate while putting together a three-game hitting streak.

Defensively, the 6-foot-2, 193 pounder has logged 62 innings at first base, 97 2/3 innings at third base, and 55 innings in left field. He has yet to commit an error at either of the three positions.

Miller, who does not turn 23 until December, is not yet regarded as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system. He will likely spend the rest of the season in Salem before working his way up to High-A Greenville next year.

On that note, though, it will be interesting to see if Miller can use the momentum he gained over the weekend to turn his 2022 season around for the better beginning in Fredericksburg, Va. on Tuesday.

(Picture of Tyler Miller courtesy of the Salem Red Sox)

Red Sox’ Trevor Story named American League Player of the Week after hitting 6 home runs during homestand

In unsurprising news, Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story has been named American League Player of the Week for the week of May 16-22, Major League Baseball announced on Monday.

Story is coming off his best stretch in a Red Sox uniform to date after feasting on two American League West opponents at Fenway Park. In seven games against the Astros and Mariners, the right-handed hitting slugger slashed a blistering .360/.452/1.120 with one double, six home runs, 14 RBIs, 10 runs scored, two stolen bases, five walks, and four strikeouts across 31 trips to the plate. Boston went 6-1 in those contests.

On Monday, Story came through in the clutch by clubbing a game-tying home run off Astros reliever Phil Maton in the seventh inning of an eventual 6-3 win. The 428-foot solo shot was Story’s first Fenway Park homer as a member of the Sox.

Three days later, the 29-year-old went off for three home runs and seven RBIs as part of a 12-6 blowout victory over the Mariners. It marked the second three-homer game of his big-league career and the first time a second baseman had ever crushed three homers and stole a base in the same game. He also hit a grand slam on Friday and went deep again on Sunday to bring his season total up to seven.

To go along with those seven long balls, Story is now batting .226/.310/.438 on the year with 29 RBIs, 21 runs scored, a team-leading five stolen bases, 16 walks, and 45 strikeouts across 36 games spanning 158 plate appearances.

Story, who signed a six-year, $140 million contract with Boston in March, becomes the first Red Sox player to earn American League Player of the Week honors this season. The two-time All-Star accomplished the National League version of the feat four times in his tenure with the Rockies.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Pedro Castellanos riding 13-game hitting streak as part of recent hot stretch with Double-A Portland

After a rough start to the 2022 season with Double-A Portland, Red Sox prospect Pedro Castellanos has turned a corner offensively during the month of May.

In Portland’s 4-2 win over the Harrisburg Senators at Hadlock Field on Sunday, Castellanos went 2-for-4 with two run-scoring hits and a strikeout out of the cleanup spot. The two-hit showing extended his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games.

Dating back to the third of May, Castellanos has slashed a stout .323/.338/.597 with five doubles, four home runs, 21 RBIs, six runs scored, two walks, and 15 strikeouts over his last 16 games and 65 trips to the plate. This comes after the left-handed hitter posted a dismal .388 OPS across 18 games in April.

Among qualified Eastern League hitters this month, Castellanos ranks 10th in hits (20), 11th in doubles, 10th in home runs, tied for first in RBIs, 11th in batting average, eighth in slugging percentage, 13th in OPS (.935), 14th in isolated power (.274), per MiLB.com’s leaderboards.

If there is one thing Castellanos could be doing more of at the plate, it would be taking ball four. The 24-year-old has walked in just 3.5% of his plate appearances this season, which is among the worst marks in the Eastern League and the primary reason why his on-base percentage has remained relatively low despite the recent hot streak.

Defensively, Castellanos has seen the majority of his playing time with the Sea Dogs this year come at first base, though he has played both corner outfield positions as well. The 6-foot-3, 224 pounder may have a limited defensive profile, but has thus far only committed two errors over 222 innings between his three positions in 2022.

Originally signed by the Red Sox for just $5,000 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2015, Castellanos came into the season ranked by SoxProspects.com as the No. 57 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Castellanos is repeating Double-A this year, meaning he could be in line for a promotion to Triple-A Worcester before long. With that being said, Castellanos — who turns 25 in December — is in line to become a minor-league free-agent this winter, so getting the opportunity to play at the next level could prove beneficial for him in regards to his future.

In the meantime, Castellanos will look to extend his hitting streak to 14 straight games when the Sea Dogs open a six-game series against the Somerset Patriots in Portland on Tuesday morning.

(Picture of Pedro Castellanos: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox top prospect Marcelo Mayer placed on injured list due to wrist sprain; shortstop is in Boston to undergo testing

The Salem Red Sox have placed shortstop Marcelo Mayer on the 7-day injured list due to a sprained right wrist, per SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield. As noted by Hatfield, Mayer shared on his Instagram story that he is currently in Boston to undergo further testing on his wrist.

Mayer has been dealing with a recurring wrist issue since late last month. After playing against the Charleston RiverDogs on April 23, the 19-year-old did not appear in another game for Low-A Salem until May 10.

As was first reported by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the Red Sox originally attributed that 17-day absence to workload management before later revealing that Mayer had been experiencing minor soreness in his right wrist, which further delayed his return to action.

Upon returning to Salem’s lineup as designated hitter on May 10, the left-handed hitting infielder went 6-for-18 (.333) at the plate with four doubles, three RBIs, one stolen base, one walk, and six strikeouts over four games. His last appearance came against the Lynchburg Hillcats this past Thursday.

On Sunday, Speier confirmed that Mayer is indeed in Boston to undergo testing on his wrist while also noting that he has “experienced ongoing soreness- no increase in severity – but the fact that it hasn’t gone away led to the decision to put him on the injured list and re-evaluate.”

Mayer, the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft out of Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system.

It has been an eventful first full season in pro ball for the California native, who is batting .333/.386/.507 (147 wRC+) with one home run, 13 RBIs, and four stolen bases across 17 games (83 plate appearances) on the 2022 campaign as a whole.

(Picture of Marcelo Mayer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox top pitching prospect Josh Winckowski could make major-league debut next Saturday

When the Red Sox host the Orioles in a scheduled doubleheader at Fenway Park next Saturday, they will need two starting pitchers. As things stand now, Nathan Eovaldi is in line to start one of those two games.

As for who will start the other, manager Alex Cora hinted before Saturday’s win over the Mariners that the Sox may very well call up top pitching prospect Josh Winckowski from Triple-A Worcester to make his major-league debut.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “Cora said the Red Sox planned to use their extra player (MLB allows teams to add a 27th player to their rosters for doubleheaders) and that the starter would likely come from the minors.”

Since Winckowski will start for the WooSox on Sunday, he becomes the obvious choice to pitch on regular rest for the Red Sox next weekend.

“Most likely, it’s going to somebody from the minor-leagues,” said Cora . “Stay tuned for whoever pitches whenever.”

Winckowski, 23, has posted a 2.10 ERA and 2.49 FIP with 28 strikeouts to six walks across six starts spanning 25 2/3 innings of work for Worcester this season. Earlier this month, the right-hander was limited to just two innings in the event that the Red Sox needed him for their series in Texas. In his last time out against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 17, he struck out nine over six scoreless, two-hit innings at Polar Park.

Originally acquired from the Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals last February, Winckowski is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks sixth among pitchers in the organization. He was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster last November.

If Winckowski were to start one of the games against Baltimore next Saturday, he would likely be doing so as Boston’s 27th man, meaning he could be sent right back down to Worcester afterwards.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Alex Verdugo removed from Saturday’s game after experiencing flu-like symptoms

Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo was removed in the first inning of Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Mariners because he was experiencing flu-like symptoms, manager Alex Cora announced.

As relayed by The Eagle-Tribune’s Mac Cerullo, the Sox are hopeful that it is nothing COVID-related, but are currently going through protocol to ensure all the necessary steps are taken.

Verdugo batted fifth and started in left field for Boston on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. After a drawing a four-pitch walk off Seattle starter Chris Flexen in the bottom of the first, the 26-year-old was greeted by Cora upon reaching first base. He remained in the game through the end of the inning, but was taken out in the top half of the second.

Bobby Dalbec then took Verdugo’s spot in the Sox’ lineup while Franchy Cordero moved from first base to left field. Dalbec went 1-for-2 off the bench with an RBI (the 100th of his career) and a walk. Cordero, batting out of the seven-hole, went 1-for-4 with a 110.5 mph triple in addition to scoring the game-winning run in the eighth inning.

Including Saturday’s lone trip to the plate, Verdugo is now slashing .214/.255/.321 with six doubles, three home runs, 16 RBIs, 13 runs scored, nine walks, and 16 strikeouts across 38 games (153 plate appearances) this season.

At present, it is unclear if Verdugo will be able to suit up for Sunday’s series finale against the Mariners. The Red Sox are likely to know more about his status later Saturday night and will presumably go from there.

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

Rafael Devers homers twice as Red Sox erase 5-run deficit and come from behind to beat Mariners, 6-5

The Red Sox once again fell behind early against the Mariners on Saturday but battled their way back at Fenway Park. Boston defeated Seattle by a final score of 6-5 to win their fourth straight game and third consecutive series while improving to 18-22 on the season.

Before the Sox could even take their first at-bats of the afternoon, they already found themselves trailing by four runs. Garrett Whitlock, making his sixth start of the year, allowed the Mariners to score four times in the top half of the first inning.

After getting through a scoreless second inning, the right-hander ran into more trouble in the third by giving up back-to-back two-out hits to Mike Ford and Luis Torrens, which resulted in another Seattle run crossing the plate.

The third would prove to be Whitlock’s final inning of work, as he wound up surrendering a season-high five earned runs on 10 hits, no walks, and three strikeouts on 71 pitches (48 strikes). The 25-year-old’s ERA now sits at 3.58.

To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had yet to do anything of significance against opposing starter Chris Flexen. That changed in the bottom half of the third though, as Rafael Devers got his productive day at the plate started by crushing a 413-foot solo shot into the bleachers to get his side on the board and make it a 5-1 ballgame.

Fast forward to the fifth, after Tyler Danish had hurled two scoreless frames out of the Sox bullpen, and Devers struck again. Following a leadoff double from Enrique Hernandez, the left-handed slugger took Flexen 386 feet over the Green Monster for his second big fly of the game and ninth of the season.

Devers’ two-run blast, which had an exit velocity of 102.1 mph, cut the deficit down to two runs at 5-3. But the Red Sox were not done there. A J.D. Martinez double and Xander Bogaerts single chased Flexen from the contest and put runners on the corners for Bobby Dalbec, who greeted new Mariners reliever Sergio Romo by lifting an RBI single to center field to drive in Martinez and move Bogaerts up to third. Trevor Story followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Bogaerts to tie things up at five runs apiece.

From there, Jake Diekman punched out the side in the sixth, Hansel Robles worked his way around a two-out double in the seventh, and John Schreiber retired the only three batters he faced in the top of the eighth to keep the 5-5 tie intact.

With one out in the bottom half of the eighth, Franchy Cordero laced a 110.5 mph triple off the Green Monster to put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position for Christian Vazquez, who came through with the game-winning single off Drew Steckenrider that plated Cordero and gave the Sox a 6-5 lead.

Looking to protect that lead, Red Sox manager Alex Cora called upon Matt Barnes to take the mound in the ninth inning. Barnes, in turn, needed just 15 pitches (and a little defensive help from Hernandez) to slam the door shut on the Mariners and notch his second save of the season.

All told, five Boston relievers (Danish, Diekman, Robles, Schreiber, and Barnes) combined to toss six shutout innings in relief of Whitlock on Saturday. The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, went 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position while putting together their largest comeback win of the season thus far.

Next up: Gilbert vs. Eovaldi in series finale

The Red Sox will look to close out the weekend with a four-game sweep over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. Veteran right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston opposite fellow righty Logan Gilbert for Seattle.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)