Corey Kluber tosses 4 innings in final tune-up before Opening Day as Red Sox fall to Rays, 4-2

The Red Sox were held to just four hits in a loss to the Rays on Saturday afternoon. Boston fell to Tampa Bay by a final score of 4-2 at Tropicana Field to drop to 14-11-4 in Grapefruit League play.

More important than the offensive numbers was Corey Kluber making his final start of the spring for the Sox. The veteran right-hander allowed three earned runs on four hits and two walks to go along with one strikeout over four innings of work.

The Rays got to Kluber right away in the top of the first, with Tristan Gray belting a one-out solo shot 379 feet down the right field line to give Tampa Bay an early 1-0 lead.

Three innings later, the Red Sox responded with a big fly of their own. After Ceddanne Rafaela led off the top of the fourth with an infield single, Enmanuel Valdez followed by crushing a 396-foot two-run home run to right field off Rays starter Yonny Chirinos. Valdez’s second homer of the spring had an exit velocity of 101.1 mph and put Boston up, 2-1.

Kluber had settled down to that point but ran into more trouble in the latter half of the fourth. There, he allowed two of the first four batters he faced to reach base, which put runners at second and third with two outs for Taylor Walls. Walls, in turn, came through with a two-run double that landed in front of right fielder Wilyer Abreu and scored both Harold Ramirez and Christian Bethancourt.

With the Rays retaking the lead at 3-2, Kluber stranded Walls at second base by getting the final batter he would face in Jose Siri to line out to left field. All told, the 36-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 62 (38 strikes). He induced nine total swings-and-misses and averaged 85.6 mph with his cutter (his most-frequently used pitch), per Baseball Savant.

Kluber finishes the spring having posted a 3.24 ERA with 15 strikeouts to seven walks over five starts (16 2/3 innings). The two-time Cy Young Award winner will next take the mound when the Red Sox host the Orioles on Opening Day (March 30) at Fenway Park.

In relief of Kluber, Zack Kelly received the first call out of the Boston bullpen in the middle of the fifth. The righty fanned a pair over two scoreless frames before making way for Durbin Feltman, who issued a leadoff walk to Siri to begin things in the seventh.

The quick-footed Siri put his speed on full display by stealing second base and moving up to third on a wild pitch while Feltman was busy recording the first two outs of the inning. With runners on the corners and the pinch-hitting Daniel Robertson at the plate, Feltman was caught napping as Siri took off for home and scored rather easily thanks to a poor throw back to the plate.

Siri’s successful steal of home extended the Rays’ lead to two runs at 4-2. After Feltman worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, the Red Sox were suddenly down to their final three outs. With Pete Fairbanks on the mound for Tampa Bay, Stephen Scott, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Narciso Crook all went down quietly to end it.

Other worthwhile observations:

Top prospect Marcelo Mayer replaced David Hamilton at shortstop in the sixth inning. The 20-year-old made his only trip to the plate in the eighth and ripped a single off old friend Heath Hembree before stealing his first base of the spring.

Niko Kavadas, another prospect who made the trip to St. Petersburg, accounted for Boston’s only double in the top of the fifth inning. Enmanuel Valdez was the only other member of the starting lineup to register an extra-base hit in Saturday’s contest, which took all of two hours and six minutes to complete.

Next up: Chairman’s Cup finale

The Red Sox will wrap up the final weekend of the Grapefruit League campaign by hosting the Twins in Fort Myers on Sunday afternoon. Since the two sides split the first four games of the series, Sunday’s bout will determine who takes home the 2023 Chairman’s Cup.

Boston will be sending left-hander Chris Sale to the hill while Minnesota will roll with right-hander Sonny Gray. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen leaves game due to lightheadedness

Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen was taken out of Friday’s Grapefruit League game against the Braves at JetBlue Park earlier than expected, but it was not due to injury.

Instead, Jansen felt lightheaded on the mound, according to manager Alex Cora. The right-hander had come out for the ninth inning of Friday’s contest in search of his first save of the spring.

With a 7-5 lead to protect, Jansen gave up a one-out single to Hoy Park, which brought the tying run to the plate in the form of catcher Adam Zebrowski. Zebrowski, who has yet to play past High-A, promptly crushed a game-tying two-run home run to knot things up at seven runs apiece.

Jansen then walked the next batter he faced in Joe Dunand before receiving a visit from Cora and assistant athletic trainer Masai Takahashi. After a brief conversation on the mound, Jansen exited the field with Takahashi and the two made their way towards the Red Sox clubhouse.

After Triston Casas belted a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift Boston to a 9-8 win over Atlanta, Cora spoke with reporters. He did not seem too concerned about Jansen’s status, per’s Chris Cotillo.

“They’re checking on him,” Cora said, “but he should be fine.”

Considering the fact that Opening Day is less than a week away, Jansen’s early exit on Friday was likely a scary site for the Red Sox. That being the case because Boston is already expected to open the 2023 season with five pitchers — starters Brayan Bello, James Paxton, and Garrett Whitlock as well as relievers Wyatt Mills and Joely Rodriguez — on the injured list.

As noted by Cotillo, it does not appear as though Jansen will be joining them at the moment. But what happened on Friday night is certainly noteworthy since the 35-year-old has dealt with heart issues throughout his career. Last summer, for instance, he spent more than two weeks on the injured list due to an irregular heartbeat. He has had two cardiac ablation procedures (2012 and 2018) to combat that issue.

Jansen, who signed a two-year, $32 million contract with the Red Sox in December, was brought in to serve as Boston’s closer. Following Friday’s outing, the three-time All-Star now owns a 7.71 ERA (four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings) in five spring appearances.

(Picture of Kenley Jansen: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Triston Casas crushes two-run walk-off home run to lift Red Sox to 9-8 win over Braves

A walk-off home run from Triston Casas lifted the Red Sox to a come-from behind win over the Braves on Friday night. Boston defeated Atlanta by a final score of 9-8 at JetBlue Park to improve to 14-10-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Nick Pivetta, making his fifth and final start of the spring for the Red Sox, allowed two earned runs on 10 hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

The Braves first got to Pivetta in the top half of the third. Matt Olson, who reached base on a one-out single, had moved up to third on an Austin Riley walk and Marcell Ozuna groundout. He was then driven in on an RBI single off the bat of Sam Hilliard that also ended the inning since Austin Riley was tagged out at third moments after Olson crossed the plate.

While Atlanta jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, it did not last long. That being the case because in the bottom of the third, Rafael Devers drew a two-out walk off Braves starter Dylan Dodd. That brought up Justin Turner, who promptly crushed a two-run shot into the Red Sox bullpen in right-center field for his first home run of the spring.

Turner’s blast put the Red Sox up, 2-1. But the Braves got to Pivetta again in the fourth when Ozzie Albies led off with a deep fly of his own to knot things back up at two runs apiece. From there, though, the 30-year-old hurler was at least able to settle down a bit as he put up a zero in the fifth and then worked his way around a jam by punching out Ronald Acuna Jr. to do the same in the sixth. He finished with exactly 100 pitches.

Shortly after Pivetta’s night came to a close, the Red Sox jumped on the Braves for three more runs in the latter half of the sixth. Following a leadoff double from Adam Duvall, Christian Arroyo greeted new reliever Ian Mejia with a two-base hit of his own that scored Duvall from second. After Reese McGuire was plunked by Mejia, both he and Arroyo moved up an additional 90 feet on a wild pitch before Rob Refsnynder brought both of them in with a two-run double off the faux Green Monster in left field.

Taking a 5-2 lead into the seventh, Oddanier Mosqueda received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The left-hander experienced some control issues and walked four of the six batters he faced. He issued a bases-loaded, two-out free pass to Sean Murphy before making way for Skylar Arias, who retired the lone batter he faced to get out of the jam.

In the eighth, Chris Martin quickly recorded the first two outs of the frame before encountering some difficulties of his own. After getting the first two outs, Martin yielded back-to-back hits to Joe Dunand and Cade Bunnell, which put runners at second and third for Andrew Moritz. Moritz, in turn, plated Dunand on an infield single before Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. drove in Bunnell on a game-tying RBI single to right field.

Though the Braves had mounted a late rally, the Red Sox wasted no time in responding in their half of the eighth. Back-to-back singles from Arroyo and McGuire put runners on the corners for Enrique Hernandez, who brought in Arroyo with a sacrifice fly off Mejia. Refsnyder then doubled in McGuire to give Boston a brand-new 7-5 lead going into the ninth.

Kenley Jansen had the chance to pick up his first save of the spring. But the veteran closer instead issued a one-out single to Hoy Park before serving up a game-tying two-run home run to Adam Zebrowski moments later. Jansen walked the next batter he faced and then received a visit from Cora and a member of Boston’s training staff.

After a brief discussion, Jansen was taken out of the game and immediately made for the Red Sox clubhouse. He was relieved by Cam Booser, who gave up a single and a walk to fill the bases with one out. Kilpatrick Jr. then brought in the runner from third — Dunand — to five the Braves an 8-7 edge.

Down to their final three outs and trailing by a run, Jarren Duran led things off by ripping an opposite-field double off new reliever Joe Harvey. After Duvall grounded out, Casas took things into his own hands by obliterating a game-winning, two-run homer deep into the Fort Myers night.

Casas’ third home run of the spring ended it while Booser was credited with the winning decision.

Jansen’s departure due to lightheadedness

According to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Kenley Jansen was feeling lightheaded on the mound , which is why he came out of the game in the ninth inning. Cora added that he believes the 35-year-old “should be fine.”

Next up: Kluber makes final start of spring

The Red Sox will travel to St. Petersburg to take on the Rays on Saturday afternoon. Opening Day starter Corey Kluber will get the ball for Boston while fellow righty Yonny Chirinos will do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN+.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox spring roster cuts: Daniel Palka, Caleb Hamilton, and Ronaldo Hernández all reassigned to minor-league camp

The Red Sox subtracted from from their major-league spring training roster on Friday by reassigning three non-roster invitees — first baseman/outfielder Daniel Palka and catchers Caleb Hamilton and Ronaldo Hernandez — to minor-league camp in Fort Myers.

Palka, 31, signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox last month that came with an invite to major-league camp. The left-handed power hitter has gotten into 19 Grapefruit League games this spring and has batted .263/.356/.395 with two doubles, one home run, seven RBIs, four runs scored, five walks, and nine strikeouts over 45 plate appearances.

Hamilton, 28, was claimed off waivers from the Twins in October and was subsequently outrighted off Boston’s 40-man roster a month later. The right-handed hitter has gone 6-for-17 (.353) at the plate with two doubles, one home run, two RBIs, five runs scored, five walks, and four strikeouts in 15 Grapefruit League games this spring. He has also thrown out one of three possible base stealers from behind the plate.

Hernandez, like Hamilton, was taken off the Red Sox’ 40-man roster over the winter. The 25-year-old backstop, who has been with the organization, since February 2021, has gone just 3-for-20 (.150) with one homer, four RBIs, two runs scored, three walks, and three strikeouts in 12 appearances this spring. From behind the plate, he has thrown out one of five possible base stealers.

All three of Palka, Hamilton, and Hernandez are ticketed to open the 2023 campaign with Triple-A Worcester, where they can provide experienced depth at their respective positions. Palka, for instance, clubbed 26 home runs in 109 games for the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse last year while seeing playing time at first base and both corner outfield spots.

With Friday’s subtractions, the Red Sox now have 38 players remaining at big-league camp. Of those 38 players, four (Jorge Alfaro, Raimel Tapia, Greg Allen, and Niko Goodrum) are in camp as non-roster invitees.

Since there is less than a week to go until Opening Day, the Red Sox have only a few days to get their roster down to 26 players before taking on the Orioles at Fenway Park on March 30.

(Picture of Ronaldo Hernandez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

David Hamilton identified by MLB Pipeline as fastest prospect in Red Sox farm system

Infielder David Hamilton has unsurprisingly been identified by MLB Pipeline as the fastest prospect in the Red Sox’ farm system heading into the 2023 season.

Hamilton, 25, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 29 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally acquired the speedster from the Brewers with infield prospect Alex Binelas and outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. in the December 2021 trade that sent outfielder Hunter Renfroe to Milwaukee.

After receiving his first invite to big-league spring training last year, Hamilton spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with Double-A Portland. To go along with a franchise-record 70 stolen bases, the left-handed hitter batted .251/.338/.402 with 16 doubles, nine triples, 12 home runs, 42 RBIs, 81 runs scored, 56 walks, and 119 strikeouts in 119 games (531 plate appearances) for the Sea Dogs.

Hamilton ended his season on a strong note by posting a 1.029 OPS in the month of September. Shortly after being named the 2022 Red Sox Minor League Baserunner of the Year, the Texas product was somewhat surprisingly added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.

With bigger bases, pitch clocks, shift restrictions, and pickoff limits on the horizon, the Red Sox prioritized speed and elected to protect Hamilton as opposed to one of their talented pitching prospects (such as Thad Ward, A.J. Politi, and Noah Song), who were later scooped up by the Nationals, Orioles, and Phillies, respectively.

Hamilton was in major-league camp again this spring and went 7-for-24 (.292) with one double, four RBIs, three runs scored, five stolen bases, three walks, and nine strikeouts in 13 Grapefruit League games before being optioned to Triple-A Worcester on March 13.

Right around that same time, Hamilton sat down for a one-on-one interview with’s Ian Browne in which he discussed his speed, the new rules coming to Major League Baseball, and what he wants to improve on, among other things.

When asked if the size of the bases increasing is a good thing for players such as himself, Hamilton said: “The bases by themselves, no. But I think the pitch clock, the disengagements, the bases, all that plays into it.”

When asked about what type of things he is working on to maximize his offensive potential, Hamilton said: “I’m just trying to hit more line drives, trying to stay inside the ball a little bit more and put the ball in play. I’m a fast guy, so I put pressure on the defense as soon as I’m on base.”

As a follow-up to that question, Hamilton was also asked about what a good season would look like for him this year.

“If I can just hit line drives, put more pressure on the defense, play good defense, take away runs and score runs,” said Hamilton, “that’s my game right there.”

Speaking of defense, Hamilton saw playing time at three different positions with the Sea Dogs last year. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder logged 543 2/3 innings at second base, 460 1/3 innings at shortstop, and 18 innings in center field for the first time in his professional career.

“I’ve always played short growing up, so I’m comfortable there,” Hamilton told Browne when asked about his versatility. “I like second [base]. I’ve played center. Wherever they put me, I can play.”

Hamilton, who does not turn 26 until September, is expected to open the 2023 season with the WooSox. Given the fact that he possesses 70-grade speed (using the 20-80 scouting scale) and is already on the 40-man roster, he is in position to make his major-league debut, potentially as a speed threat off the bench, at some point this year.

(Picture of David Hamilton: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Nick Yorke makes fantastic diving catch down right field line

Upon Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s request, Nick Yorke made his first start of the spring in Thursday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Pirates at LECOM Park.

Yorke made the trip from Fort Myers to Bradenton as a minor-league extra after making his spring debut as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the Orioles in Sarasota. He did not receive an at-bat in that game.

“I wanted to see him today,” Cora said of Yorke when speaking with reporters (including’s Christopher Smith) before first pitch on Thursday. “I don’t usually request players. I haven’t seen him in a while. He was there the other day, I was like, ‘Hey, bring him over here.'”

Serving as Boston’s starting second baseman and No. 9 hitter, Yorke put his athleticism on full display with one out in the bottom of the third inning. With Bryan Reynolds already at first base, Red Sox starter Josh Winckowski got Carlos Santana to lift a 213-foot flyball to right field.

Since right fielder Daniel Palka was well out of range, Yorke turned on the jets and covered 85 feet in a matter of seconds before sprawling out and making a fantastic diving catch to rob Santana of a base hit. He then quickly gathered himself and made an accurate throw to Triston Casas from his knees to double off Reynolds — who was off on contact — at first base.

“It was just a little popup over my head,” Yorke said (via’s Ian Browne) following Boston’s 7-4 win over Pittsburgh. “I saw Palka was out deep so it was either going to drop or I was going to catch it — so I went out and caught it. There was a runner on first and he was gone. It was going to drop or I’m going to lay out for it. Once I laid out for it, I reached out and I thought I had a chance on it and it found the mitt.”

In addition to making that diving grab, Yorke went 1-for-3 with a fifth-inning single before being replaced at second base by Eddinson Paulino in the middle of the seventh.

The Red Sox originally selected Yorke with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif. The soon-to-be 21-year-old infielder is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

After being named the organization’s minor-league offensive player of the year in 2021, Yorke took a step back at the plate last season. The right-handed hitter batted just .232/.3o3/.365 with 10 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 45 RBIs, 48 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 33 walks, and 94 strikeouts in 80 games (373 plate appearances) for High-A Greenville. He was also sidelined by turf toe in late May, back stiffness in June, and left wrist soreness in July.

Despite those struggles, Yorke did enjoy some success in the Arizona Fall League to close out the year. He slashed .342/.424/.526 with eight doubles, two homers, and 18 RBIs in 19 games (92 plate appearances) with the Scottsdale Scorpions and earned AFL All-Star honors for his efforts.

“Some people are down on him. Not me,” said Cora. “He’s very calm at the plate. He swings at the right pitches. Obviously, he’s working on a few things timing-wise. He’s a good player. You guys know how I feel about first-rounders. You have to be a really good player, and he’s a good hitter.

“He controls the zone, and we like him a lot,” Cora added. “I think physically he’s in a good spot. I’ve talked to him a few times. Mentally, he’s in a great place. Now it’s just a matter of other things that he does.”

That Cora specifically asked the Red Sox player development staff to have a minor-leaguer such as Yorke travel with the rest of the team for Thursday’s game is a rare occurrence. Yorke himself was gracious for the opportunity.

“It means a lot,” he said. “I’ve said it in previous interviews: My goal is to the second baseman for the Boston Red Sox. And so when the head coach asks you to be here, that means a lot.”

Yorke is expected to make the jump to Double-A Portland for the start of the 2023 minor-league season next month. While he has been known more for his hitting abilities than his defensive prowess, the 6-foot, 200-pounder is out to prove he can pick it at second base as well.

“No one can just hit in the big-leagues,” said Yorke. “You have to have some sort of contribution on defense as well. So shoutout to our infield coordinator Darren Fenster, he’s helped me out a lot over the past two and a half years.”

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec, Ronaldo Hernández, and Jorge Alfaro all hit two-run homers as Red Sox hold on for 7-4 win over Pirates

The Red Sox put an end to their three-game losing streak with a win over the Pirates in Bradenton on Thursday afternoon. Boston defeated Pittsburgh by a final score of 7-4 at LECOM Park to improve to 13-10-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Right out of the gate, Bobby Dalbec provided the Sox with an early two-run lead in the top of the first inning. Following a one-out double from Triston Casas, Dalbec took 1-2, 84 mph curveball from Pirates opener Duane Underwood Jr. and deposited it 409 feet to deep left field for his second home run of the spring.

Dalbec’s blast gave Josh Winckowski a two-run cushion to work with ahead of his third start and fourth overall appearance of the spring. The right-hander pitched well on Thursday, allowing just two earned runs on five hits and no walks to go along with two strikeouts over four innings of work.

Both of those Pirates runs came in the latter half of the second inning. After giving up a one-out single to Ke’Bryan Hayes, Winckowski yielded an RBI double to Canaan Smith-Njigba that Hayes scored all the way from first base on. Smith-Njigba was then driven in on a then-game-tying RBI single from Ji Hwan Bae. Jarren Duran fielded Bae’s single cleanly in center field and made an accurate throw towards home plate, but catcher Jorge Alfaro was unable to land a tag on Smith-Njigba.

Despite getting relatively hit hard in the second, Winckowski settled in retired six of the final seven batters he faced. He received some significant defensive help from second baseman Nick Yorke, who hustled out to right field to rob Carlos Santana of a base hit and then, from his knees, made a strong throw to first base to double up Bryan Reynolds for the final two outs of the third.

Winckowski made quick work of the Pirates in the fourth to end his day on a strong note. The 24-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 55 (39 strikes). He induced two swings-and-misses while mixing in a slider, sinker, cutter, changeup, and four-seam fastball, per Baseball Savant.

Shortly after Winckowski recorded the final out of the fourth, the Red Sox struck again in the fifth. This time, former Pirates outfielder Greg Allen reached base on a one-out double off Johan Oviedo before Ronaldo Hernandez crushed another two-run homer to left field, making it a 4-2 game in favor of Boston.

Following a scoreless bottom of the fifth from Richard Bleier, Daniel Palka drew a leadoff walk off Chase De Jong to begin things in the sixth. Jorge Alfaro then unloaded on a 2-2, 83 mph slider from De Jong and sent it 408 feet into the left field seats. Alfaro’s second big fly of the spring left his bat at a blistering 105.1 mph. It also gave the Red Sox a 6-2 lead.

From there, Ryan Brasier and Ryan Sherriff combined for two more shutout frames out of the Boston bullpen. In the top of the eighth, Allen picked up an RBI by driving in Caleb Hamilton on a sacrifice fly to center field. The Pirates responded by tagging Luis Guerrero for two runs in their half of the inning. Both of those runs came on a two-run shot from Rodolfo Castro to cut the deficit to three.

Taking a 7-4 edge into the ninth, Joe Jacques worked his way around a walk and hit batsman by striking out the side to simultaneously notch the save and secure a win for the Red Sox.

Casas doubles twice in return:

After missing the last two games with a swollen left pinky, Triston Casas went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored out of the two-hole on Thursday. The two doubles left his bat at 107.8 mph and 80.1 mph, respectively.

Next up: Pivetta makes final start of spring

The Red Sox will return to Fort Myers on Friday night to host the Braves. Right-hander Nick Pivetta will make his final start of the spring for Boston opposite Atlanta left-hander Dylan Dodd.

First pitch from JetBlue Park is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Wyatt Mills shut down with flexor issue, likely to start season on injured list

Red Sox reliever Wyatt Mills has been shut down with a flexor issue and is likely to start the season on the injured list, manager Alex Cora said Thursday.

“He’s banged up,” Cora told reporters (including’s Christopher Smith) in Fort Myers. “There’s a good chance he’s going to start the season on the IL.”

According to’s Chris Cotillo, Mills has been diagnosed with elbow inflammation in his right flexor muscle. It does not look like anything major but Mills has still been shut down from throwing in the meantime.

Mills has not seen any Grapefruit League action since March 13, when he surrendered four runs on four hits, one walk, and two hit batsman in the sixth inning of a 16-3 loss to the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Prior to that outing, though, the right-hander pitched relatively well, allowing just one run on three hits, four walks, and 10 strikeouts over four appearances spanning five innings of work.

The Red Sox acquired Mills from the Royals in exchange for relief prospect Jacob Wallace back in December. The 28-year-old sidearmer is coming off a 2022 season in which he posted a 4.60 ERA (3.62 FIP) with 26 strikeouts to 13 walks in 27 outings (29 1/3 innings) between Seattle and Kansas City.

As noted by Smith, Boston was optimistic that Mills could replicate the same sort of success fellow reliever John Schreiber enjoyed last year. That being the case because, like Schreiber, the 6-foot-4, 214-pound Mills throws from the same angle and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a sinker.

“The stuff, the uniqueness, the slot is different,” Cora said of Mills. ““And actually the four-seamer is good. When he used it a lot in games, he got some swings-and-misses on top of the zone. A little bit inconsistent control-wise, command-wise. But you can see it, like that uniqueness of throwing from there. And the action of his pitches is very good.”

Mills, who has one minor-league option remaining, becomes the latest Red Sox pitcher to be bitten by the injury bug this spring. The righty joins Brayan Bello, James Paxton, Joely Rodriguez, and Garrett Whitlock as Boston hurlers who are expected to be placed on the injured list before Opening Day.

Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with a Grade 2 right oblique strain on Monday after injuring his right side over the weekend, may be able to avoid the 60-day injured list, per Cora.

(Picture of Wyatt Mills: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tanner Houck surrenders 8 runs as Red Sox get shut out by Twins, 11-0

The Red Sox were shut out by the Twins on Wednesday night for their third straight loss. Boston fell to Minnesota by a final score of 11-0 at JetBlue Park to drop to 12-10-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Tanner Houck, making his fifth start of the spring, endured his fair share of struggles. The right-hander got rocked for eight runs (all earned) on 10 hits, zero walks, and three hit batsman to go along with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Surprisingly, Houck looked sharp out of the gate. He quickly retired the first two batters he faced in the first inning, but then gave up a solo home run to Trevor Larnach. Houck allowed the next three Twins hitters he faced to reach base on a single and two HBPs before yielding a bases-clearing, three-run double to Michael A. Taylor to give Minnesota an early 4-0 lead.

Having already thrown 29 pitches to that point, Houck was temporarily removed from the game so that Chase Shugart could record the final out of the first. He then came back out for the second and sat down the side in order before putting up another zero in the third. The fourth inning, though, is where things started to get away.

Again, Houck quickly recorded the first two outs of the frame before giving up a two-out single to Joey Gallo. Jose Miranda then crushed a two-run homer over the faux Green Monster. After Larnach reached on a two-out single of his own, Houck served up another two-run shot to Kyle Farmer to put the Twins up, 8-0.

If there was any consolation for Houck, it would be that he retired three of the last four batters he faced through the middle of the fifth. Still, it was a discouraging outing for the 26-year-old, who finished with 89 pitches and now owns an ERA of 8.31 across 17 1/3 innings this spring. He will make one more Grapefruit League start before taking the ball against the Orioles at Fenway Park on April 2.

In relief of Houck, Chris Martin received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora and got tagged for two runs on three hits (all doubles) in the sixth. He also struck out three batters. Kaleb Ort then worked his way around a two-out walk in a scoreless seventh inning before giving up a leadoff single to DaShawn Keirsey Jr. and a one-out RBI double to Mikey Perez in the eighth.

Following a 1-2-3 top of the ninth from Ryan Miller, the Red Sox were suddenly down to their final three outs and staring an 11-run deficit in the face. To that point, the Boston bats had been completely held in check by Joe Ryan and the rest of Minnesota’s pitching staff.

Ryan, who made his fourth start of the spring for the Twins, gave up just two hits and walked one over five scoreless frames. Those two hits came in the form of an Enrique Hernandez infield single in the second and a bloop single from Rob Refsnyder in the fifth. Neither Hernandez nor Refsnyder advanced past first base.

In the bottom of the sixth, with Ryan out and reliever Emilio Pagan in for Minnesota, Justin Turner reached on a two-out walk (his second of the night) and promptly went from first to third on an Adam Duvall double. But the threat was extinguished when Raimel Tapia flew out to the third baseman in foul territory.

Fast forward to the eighth, Chase Meidroth led off with a single and found himself at third base with two outs before Cole Sands ended the inning by retiring Narciso Crook. And in the ninth, Caleb Hamilton ripped a one-out double off Sands before Marcus Wilson and Bobby Dalbec each struck out to end it.

With the loss, the race for the 2023 Chairman’s Cup is now tied at two games apiece. The decisive rubber match will take place on Sunday afternoon back at JetBlue Park.

Next up: Winckowski starts in Bradenton

The Red Sox will travel to Bradenton to take on the Pirates on Thursday afternoon. Josh Winckowski will get the start for Boston opposite fellow right-hander Johan Oviedo for Pittsburgh.

First pitch from LECOM Park is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN360.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Masataka Yoshida, Yu Chang named to All-World Baseball Classic team

Two members of the Red Sox were named to the 2023 All-World Baseball Classic team after the tournament came to a thrilling end in Miami on Tuesday night.

Shortly after Japan defeated the United States, 3-1, in dramatic fashion to cap off an undefeated run and take home its third WBC title, Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida and infielder Yu Chang were both recognized for what they did for their respective countries.

Yoshida, representing Samurai Japan, was among the tournament’s top offensive performers. The left-handed hitter batted a stout .409/.531/.727 with one double, two home runs, a WBC-record 13 RBIs, five runs scored, four walks, and just one strikeout in seven games spanning 32 trips to the plate.

Were it not for Shohei Ohtani’s heroic efforts in Tuesday’s championship game, Yoshida very well could have been named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Most notably, the 29-year-old came through with a clutch, game-tying three-run homer in the seventh inning of Monday’s 6-5 semifinal win over Mexico. He also threw out a runner at home plate the following half-inning.

Though he went hitless on Tuesday, it was still an encouraging two weeks for Yoshida, who the Red Sox signed to a five-year, $90 million deal back in December. The Fukui native is expected to bat cleanup for Boston this season and is an early favorite to be in consideration for American League Rookie of the Year.

Chang, meanwhile, made headlines earlier in the tournament thanks to his performance in pool play. Representing Chinese Taipei, the Taiwan native went 7-for-16 (.438) at the plate with two doubles, two home runs, eight RBIs, five runs scored, two walks, and two strikeouts in four games. One of those homers was a game-tying two-run shot against Italy and the other was a grand slam against the Netherlands.

Despite the fact that Chinese Taipei failed to advance to the quarterfinals, Chang was still named MVP of his pool (Pool A) for his efforts. The versatile 27-year-old is back with the Red Sox after signing a one-year, $850,000 contract with the club last month. He is expected to be part of Boston’s infield mix as a bench option while Trevor Story (right elbow surgery) and Adalberto Mondesi (left ACL rehab) are sidelined to start the season.

Yoshida rejoined the Red Sox in Fort Myers on Wednesday and will make his return to the lineup on Friday, per’s Ian Browne. Chang, on the other hand, has been delayed by visa issues and is slated to report to camp on Thursday.

(Picture of Masataka Yoshida: Eric Espada/Getty Images)