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)


Red Sox reliever Joely Rodríguez has Grade 2 right oblique strain

Red Sox reliever Joely Rodriguez has a Grade 2 right oblique strain, manager Alex Cora announced Monday.

Rodriguez suffered a right side injury in the eighth inning of Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles at JetBlue Park. After throwing his 13th pitch, the left-hander grabbed at his side and was immediately taken out of the game.

While heading back to the clubhouse with a member of the the Red Sox’ training staff, Rodriguez could be heard groaning in discomfort. The club initially described the issue as right torso pain, but the southpaw underwent further imaging in the form of an MRI and received a more concrete diagnosis as a result.

When speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) following Monday’s 7-5 loss to the Pirates in Fort Myers, Cora could not provide a specific timetable for when Rodriguez could return to action.

“Timetable is whenever he’s ready,” Cora said. “We’ve just got to attack it and get him healthy.”

As noted by Speier, a Grade 2 — or moderate — oblique strain typically comes with a six-to-eight week shutdown period, meaning Rodriguez would not be ready to pitch in big-league games for another two-plus months. If that winds up being the case, that would be a tough blow for the 31-year-old after signing one-year deal with the Red Sox in November that guarantees $2 million and comes with a $4.25 million club option for 2024.

Rodriguez, who spent the 2022 season with the Mets, underwent minor shoulder surgery before signing with Boston in the fall. The Dominican-born hurler was expected to be ready for Opening Day and was being ramped up slowly this spring, but Monday’s news obviously changes that trajectory.

Now, the Red Sox will be tasked with identifying another lefty to pair with Richard Bleier out of the bullpen. Cora has already named Oddanier Mosqueda and Ryan Sherriff as two possible candidates, but he also ruled out using top pitching prospects such as Chris Murphy and Brandon Walter, who are slated to begin the year in Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation.

Both Mosqueda and Sherriff were in camp as non-roster invitees earlier this spring. The former, who does not turn 24 until May, has allowed one earned run in 5 1/3 innings of Grapefruit League play but has yet to pitch above the Double-A level.

Sherriff, meanwhile, made his sixth appearance of the spring on Monday and struck out in a scoreless eighth inning. The 32-year-old has yet to a surrender an earned run across 5 2/3 frames and, unlike Mosqueda, has prior major-league experience.

The Red Sox, of course, could also look to the trade market or waiver wire if they want to add to their bullpen externally. Regardless of which route they take, placing Rodriguez on the 60-day injured list before Opening Day would clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

(Picture of Joely Rodriguez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Joely Rodríguez leaves game with right side injury

Red Sox reliever Joely Rodriguez suffered a right side injury in the eighth inning of Saturday’s Grapefruit League game against the Orioles at JetBlue Park.

Rodriguez had allowed one run on two hits before facing Colton Cowser with one out in the eighth inning. On his fourth pitch to the Orioles center fielder (and 13th of the appearance), the left-hander threw a ball and immediately grabbed at his right side.

After receiving a visit from Red Sox manager Alex Cora and a team trainer, Rodriguez was immediately taken out of the game. According to Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe, the 31-year-old southpaw was “was groaning in pain as he went to the clubhouse and was holding onto his side.”

Following Boston’s 9-6 win over Baltimore, Cora indicated that Rodriguez — who was initially diagnosed with right torso pain — will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the injury.

“Sore,” Cora said, via’s Ian Browne. “We’ll know more tomorrow how he comes back and probably do some imaging to see where we’re at. He’s in pain, in the right torso area.”

The Red Sox signed Rodriguez to a one-year, $2 million deal that comes with a $4.25 million club option for 2024 back in November. Coming into the year, the Dominican-born hurler was expected to be one of Boston’s primary left-handed relief options this season alongside Richard Bleier.

Saturday marked Rodriguez’s fourth appearance of the spring for the Red Sox. As noted by’s Chris Cotillo, the club has taken things slowly with Rodriguez after he underwent offseason shoulder surgery. Prior to Saturday’s incident, Rodriguez was expected to be ready for Opening Day. It now appears as though he could start the season on the injured list.

If Rodriguez is sidelined to begin the year, the Red Sox could very well look to add another lefty reliever to pair with Bleier before the regular season begins. Internally, non-roster invitees like Matt Dermody, Ryan Sherriff, and Oddanier Mosqueda — who have all been reassigned to minor-league camp — represent a few possibilities.

On the 40-man roster, the Red Sox have a pair of intriguing lefties in Chris Murphy and Brandon Walter, though neither prospect has yet to pitch at the major-league level. They are both slated to begin the year in Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation.

(Picture of Joely Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Oddanier Mosqueda will get start for Red Sox in spring opener against Northeastern on Friday

Left-hander Oddanier Mosqueda will get the start for the Red Sox in their seven-inning exhibition opener against Northeastern at JetBlue Park on Friday, manager Alex Cora announced earlier Tuesday afternoon.

Mosqueda, 23, received an invite to big-league spring training after re-signing with the Red Sox in November. The southpaw is coming off a 2022 season in which he posted a 4.30 ERA and 4.05 FIP with 76 strikeouts to 20 walks over 45 relief appearances (58 2/3 innings) for Double-A Portland.

Among the 99 Eastern League pitchers who tossed 50 or more innings last year, Mosqueda ranked 13th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.66), 11th in strikeout rate (31.4 percent), 22nd in batting average against (.211), 22nd in WHIP (1.12), 22nd in groundball rate (46 percent), 28th in line-drive rate (17.3 percent), 28th in swinging-strike rate (13.8 percent), and eighth in xFIP (3.40), per FanGraphs.

A native of Venezuela, Mosqueda originally signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent in July 2015. The Caracas product is currently regarded by as the No. 48 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 18th among pitchers in the organization.

At 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, Mosqueda throws from a low three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 78-80 mph curveball that features 1-to-7 break, and an 83-84 mph changeup that is on the firm side, according to his scouting report.

Earlier this month, Chad Jennings of The Athletic identified Mosqueda as a potential dark-horse to make an impact out of the bullpen in 2023, noting that the lefty “has been singled out by one Red Sox evaluator as a legitimate big league possibility this season.”

As currently constructed, the Red Sox are slated to carry just two left-handed relievers on their Opening Day roster next month in Richard Bleier and Joely Rodriguez. Last year, they carried three, all of whom are no longer with the team in Austin Davis, Jake Diekman, and Matt Strahm. They also traded Josh Taylor (who missed all of 2022 with back issues) to the Royals for infielder Adalberto Mondesi in January.

Given that he has yet to pitch above the Double-A level, it seems likely that the Red Sox would want Mosqueda — who turns 24 in May — to experience the ups-and-downs that Triple-A competition offers before they consider a big-league call-up.

If he is able to find success in Worcester to start the season, though, then perhaps Mosqueda will be on Boston’s radar sooner rather than later.

(Picture of Oddanier Mosqueda: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to two-year, $32 million deal with veteran closer Kenley Jansen, per report

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a two-year, $32 million contract with free agent reliever Kenley Jansen, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal — which is pending a physical — would pay Jansen $16 million in both 2023 and 2024, per The Boston’s Globe Alex Speier.

Jansen, 35, is a veteran of 13 big-league seasons who is best known for his time in Los Angeles. After spending the first 12 years of his career in Los Angeles, the right-hander signed a one-year, $16 million deal with the Braves back in March.

In 65 relief appearances for Atlanta, Jansen posted a 3.38 ERA and 3.21 FIP to go along with 85 strikeouts to 22 walks over 64 innings of work. He also recorded a National League-best 41 saves in 48 opportunities and allowed one run in two outings against the Phillies in the National League Division Series.

A native of Curacao, Jansen originally signed with the Dodgers as a catcher in November 2004. He spent the first 4 1/2 seasons of his minor-league career behind the plate before transitioning to the mound midway through the 2009 campaign. The following July, Jansen made his major-league debut for Los Angeles.

It did not take long for Jansen to establish himself as one of the top relievers in baseball. He finished seventh in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2011 and registered his first season of 25 or more saves in 2012. From 2016-2018, the righty forged a 2.07 ERA and 2.29 FIP across 205 outings (208 2/3 innings) and made three consecutive All-Star teams. His 350 saves in a Dodgers uniform are the most in the franchise’s storied history.

Between Los Angeles and Atlanta, Jansen owns a lifetime 2.46 ERA and 2.44 FIP with 1,107 strikeouts to 226 walks over 766 relief appearances spanning 769 innings pitched. He ranks eighth in American/National League history with 391 career saves. In 10 separate trips to the postseason during that stretch, Jansen produced a 2.29 ERA over 59 total outings out of the bullpen.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 265 pounds, Jansen operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of an elite cutter (his primary weapon), a sinker, and a cutter. This past season, he ranked in the 98th percentile of the league in expected batting average (.169), the 93rd percentile in expected slugging percentage (.292), the 93rd percentile in strikeout rate (32.7 percent), the 95th percentile in fastball spin, and the 93rd percentile in extension, according to Baseball Savant.

Jansen, who does not turn 36 until next September, does come with some concerns. Earlier this summer, he spent more than two weeks on the injured list due to an irregular heartbeat, which is something that has sidelined him in the past. He has had two cardiac ablation procedures (2012 and 2018) to combat this issue.

With the addition of Jansen, the Red Sox have made it clear that bolstering the bullpen was one of the club’s top priorities this winter after Boston relievers finished with the second-worst ERA (4.59) in the American League this season. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have already signed left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez to a one-year contract last month and agreed to terms on a two-year $17.5 million deal with righty Chris Martin last week.

Assuming he passes his physical, Jansen will become the first established closer the Red Sox have had since Craig Kimbrel left the club after winning the World Series in 2018. Jansen, Rodriguez, and Martin are slated to join a bullpen mix that is highlighted by the likes of Matt Barnes, Tanner Houck, John Schreiber heading into 2023.

(Picture of Kenley Jansen: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Red Sox closer Tanner Houck shut down from throwing due to continued back soreness

Red Sox closer Tanner Houck was slated to throw live batting practice in Worcester on Tuesday. That did not happen as scheduled.

Houck, who has been on the injured list with lower back inflammation since August 6, is now “on hold” from throwing “because of continued back soreness,” manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) before Tuesday’s game against the Twins.

Two weeks ago, Houck was diagnosed with a disc issue in his lower back after being examined by a spine specialist in Boston. Following a brief period of rest, the right-hander resumed playing catch again at Fenway Park last week after responding well to treatment.

“He’s got the green light to keep going,” Cora said last Tuesday. “We just have to build him up and see how it goes. The hope is for him to get back at one point this season. He feels strong. The treatment has been good. It’s just the start now. He feels good enough to keep going.”

Despite those positive steps, it now appears as though Houck’s availability for the rest of the year is in question. With only five weeks left until the regular season ends, the Red Sox could very well elect to shut down the 26-year-old hurler as their playoff hopes continue to dwindle.

Houck began the 2022 season in Boston’s starting rotation and started four games before moving to the bullpen on a full-time basis on May 15. Since then, the righty has posted a 1.49 ERA and 3.18 FIP with 33 strikeouts to 11 walks over 25 relief appearances spanning 36 1/3 innings of work. He has also gone 8-for-9 in save opportunities.

While Houck has been sidelined, the Red Sox have had to look elsewhere in regards to closing out games. Since Houck last pitched on Aug. 2, Garrett Whitlock has recorded a team-high three saves while Matt Barnes has notched two and John Schreiber has picked up one.

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

Red Sox promote Zack Kelly, Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester; Austin Davis, Hirokazu Sawamura designated for assignment

UPDATE: This is now official. The Red Sox have called up Kelly and Ort from Triple-A Worcester and have designated Davis and Sawamura for assignment, the club announced before Monday’s series opener against the Twins.

Kelly will wear the No. 76, becoming just the fourth player in franchise history to do so and the first since Hector Velazquez donned the number from 2017-2019.

After designating Austin Davis and Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment on Sunday, the Red Sox are expected to call up right-handers Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester, according to multiple reports.

Kelly and Ort will join the Red Sox and their new-look bullpen in Minnesota ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Twins at Target Field. The former will need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster while the latter is already on it.

When Kelly gets into a game, it will mark his major-league debut. The 27-year-old has spent the last two seasons in the Red Sox organization after originally signing a minor-league deal with the club last January. Prior to that, Kelly had gone undrafted out of Division II Newberry College (Newberry, S.C.) and signed with the Athletics for just $500 in January 2017.

After splitting time between the Athletics and Angels organizations, Kelly suffered an elbow injury in the spring of 2020 that would ultimately require surgery. He was released by Los Angeles that May in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Since then, however, Kelly has only seen his stock rise. The native Virginian posted a 2.18 ERA over 36 appearances (45 1/3 innings) between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester last year and leveraged that performance into his first-ever invite to big-league spring training after re-signing with the Red Sox in November.

With the WooSox this season, Kelly has pitched to a stellar 2.72 ERA and 2.81 FIP to go along with 72 strikeouts to 25 walks over 44 relief appearances spanning 49 2/3 innings of work. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound hurler operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a high-90s fastball, a low-80s changeup, and a high-80s cutter.

Ort, who debuted for Boston last September, has produced a 9.00 ERA and 4.06 FIP with 13 strikeouts and seven walks across 12 outings (15 innings) at the major-league level this season. The Red Sox originally acquired the 30-year-old from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.

Frequently pitching behind Kelly in Worcester, Ort owns a 2.88 ERA (2.68 FIP) in 39 appearances for the WooSox this year. He has put up those numbers while converting 16 of a possible 18 save opportunities.

When Davis and Sawamura are officially designated for assignment and Kelly and Ort are officially called up, the Red Sox will have 26 players on their 26-man roster and 39 players on their 40-man roster. At this point in time, it is not yet known how they will use that open spot.

(Picture of Zack Kelly: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Red Sox to designate Austin Davis for assignment, per report

The Red Sox are going to designate left-hander Austin Davis for assignment before Monday’s game against the Twins in Minnesota, according to The Athletic’s Chad Jennings.

Davis, 29, has posted a 5.47 ERA and 3.95 FIP to go along with 61 strikeouts to 29 walks over 50 appearances (three starts) spanning 54 1/3 innings of work for the Red Sox this season.

Boston originally acquired Davis from the Pirates in the trade that sent Michael Chavis to Pittsburgh last July. Red Sox manager Alex Cora frequently turned to the lefty reliever during the latter half of the 2021 season and that remained to be the case this year.

To begin his first full season in Boston, Davis produced a solid 2.16 ERA and 3.46 FIP with 36 strikeouts to 16 walks across his first 31 outings (two starts) and 33 1/3 innings pitched through July 7. He was putting up those numbers while holding opposing hitters to a .202/.309/.294 slash line against.

Since July 8, however, Davis has struggled to the tune of a 10.71 ERA with 25 strikeouts to 13 walks in his last 19 appearances (one start) and 11 innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits, one walk, and one punchout over two innings of relief in Sunday’s 12-4 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park.

Davis, who turns 30 in February, is out of minor-league options. The Red Sox will have the next seven days to either outright or release the Arizona native. If he clears waivers, however, Davis could reject an outright assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency since he has already accrued more than three years of big-league service time.

By designating Davis for assignment, the Red Sox have created an opening on both their 26- and 40-man rosters. It remains to be seen how they will fill those spots, though they are required to carry 13 pitchers until rosters expand on Thursday.

If the Sox elect to fill Davis’ vacancy with a reliever who is already on the 40-man roster, Darwinzon Hernandez and Kaleb Ort are potential options who are currently with Triple-A Worcester. Tyler Danish was just optioned to Worcester on Sunday so he can not be called back up for the next 15 days unless he is replacing an injured player.

If Chaim Bloom and Co. look beyond the 40-man roster for Davis’ replacement, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reports that there is ‘a good chance’ right-hander Zack Kelly gets called up to replace Davis in the bullpen.

Kelly, 27, has spent the last two years in the Red Sox organization after signing a minor-league deal with the club last January. In 44 appearances for the WooSox this season, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound hurler has pitched to a 2.72 ERA (2.81 FIP) with 72 strikeouts to 25 walks across 49 2/3 innings of work.

(Picture of Austin Davis: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Matt Strahm likely to be activated from injured list for Friday’s series opener against Orioles, Alex Cora says

UPDATE: Strahm told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier he expected to be activated before Friday’s series opener against the Orioles in Baltimore. A corresponding roster move will need to be made.


There is a “good chance” Red Sox reliever Matt Strahm returns from the injured list and joins the team in Pittsburgh on Thursday, manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) prior to Wednesday’s game against the Pirates.

Strahm has been sidelined since July 12. That night, the left-hander took a 98 mph line drive off his throwing hand from Taylor Walls in the sixth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field. He was immediately removed from the game and was later diagnosed with a left wrist contusion, though x-rays did come back negative.

Three days later, Strahm was placed on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to July 13) with said contusion. The 30-year-old southpaw began throwing again earlier this month and was sent out on a brief rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday night.

In what will likely be his lone appearance for the WooSox, Strahm struck out one of the three batters he faced in a scoreless sixth inning against the Rochester Red Wings at Polar Park. He needed just 14 pitches (9 strikes) to get through the perfect frame and was hovering around 94-95 mph with his fastball, per Cora.

Signed to a one-year, $3 million deal back in March, Strahm has posted a 3.58 ERA and 2.61 FIP to go along with 32 strikeouts to seven walks over 33 relief appearances spanning 27 2/3 innings of work for Boston.

Strahm’s return would be a welcomed one for the Red Sox. As things stand currently, Austin Davis is the only active lefty in Boston’s bullpen. Davis owns an ERA of 13.15 in his last 15 outings dating back to July 8.

(Picture of Matt Strahm: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox release Hansel Robles

The Red Sox have released veteran reliever Hansel Robles, the team announced earlier Saturday afternoon.

Robles was designated for assignment on Wednesday so that top pitching prospect Brayan Bello could be added to the big-league roster ahead of his big-league debut. The move also created a space on the 40-man roster for the addition of Michael Feliz, who has since been designated for assignment himself.

Originally acquired from the Twins at last year’s trade deadline in exchange for Alex Scherff, Robles quickly became one of Alex Cora’s most trusted relievers during the latter half of the 2021 season. After making 14 straight scoreless appearances in September and being heavily relied upon during the playoffs, Robles was brought back on a minor-league contract in March.

It was therefore no surprise that the 31-year-old right-hander made Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, thus locking him into a guaranteed salary of $2.25 million for the 2022 campaign.

Robles got his first full season in a Red Sox uniform off to a solid start, allowing just one earned run across nine April appearances. Things began to take a turn for the worst in May, though, and those struggles were compounded by a trip to the injured list (back spasms) that lasted about two weeks.

Upon returning from the IL on June 9, Robles gave up runs in five of his next 10 outings, bringing his ERA on the season up to 5.84 and his FIP up to 5.74. During this rough stretch, Robles’ fastball velocity was down from where it usually was. He lost his spot on the 40-man roster after giving up a run in the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s 8-4 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park.

Given the fact that any team that claimed Robles would be on the hook for the rest of his 2022 salary, it was not surprising to see that the Dominican-born righty cleared waivers. Since he has accrued enough major-league service time, he exercised his right to reject an outright assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency.

Now free to sign with whichever club he chooses, Robles will still be collecting from the Red Sox until the end the season.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)