Red Sox Top Prospect Bobby Dalbec Joins Club’s Taxi Squad in Tampa Bay for Series Against Rays

Top prospect Bobby Dalbec has joined the Red Sox for the final leg of their seven-game road trip in Tampa Bay this week, although the 25-year-old will be part of the club’s taxi squad, not their active roster, according to ABC6’s Ian Steele and The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

This news comes as Dalbec was not present at the Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket on Monday, as he was likely on a flight to St. Petersburg instead.

Regarded by MLB Pipeline as Boston’s No. 3 prospect, the 6-foot-4, 227 lb. corner infielder was cleared to return to baseball activities last month after a bout with COVID-19 in which he never experienced any symptoms. He was added to the Sox’ 60-man player pool on July 17 and unlike Darwinzon Hernandez, Eduardo Rodriguez, or Josh Taylor, avoided a stint on the injured list.

Originally taken by the Sox in the fourth round of the 2016 amateur draft out of The University of Arizona, Dalbec, a native of Washington state, has emerged as one of the top power-hitting prospects in the organization. Just last season, he slugged 27 home runs in 135 total games between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket.

Already a member of Boston’s 40-man roster, Dalbec will not accrue any service time while he is “up” with the club’s taxi squad, but as was the case last September, the right-handed hitter will be able to familiarize himself with the big-league environment once more.

He’ll have to wait a little bit longer to make his major-league debut, but I would have to think Dalbec’s time is coming relatively soon.

Red Sox’ Josh Taylor Threw Sock to Simulate Weight of Baseball While Self-Isolating in Boston Hotel Room

As he works his way back from a bout with COVID-19, Red Sox left-hander Josh Taylor is just happy to be back throwing on an actual feel again.

After testing positive for the coronavirus during the club’s Summer Camp intake screening period last month, the 27-year-old had to self-isolate in a Boston hotel room for two weeks with virtually no physical contact from the outside world. The only time Taylor could open his door was to pick up the meals that were left for him on the hallway floor.

Because he was not allowed to go outside while in quarantine, Taylor had to get creative in staying in shape for whenever he would be able to return to the mound. He did that by using his own laundry.

“You come in ready to go,” Taylor said when recalling what went down in July via a Zoom call on Monday. “You’re ready to throw right away. Having to take the two weeks off and trying to find a way to keep yourself ready – I was throwing into a sock in the hotel room.”

Since that time, the Arizona native has been cleared to return to baseball activities and has been working out at the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket.

There, as noted by The Providence Journal’s Bill Koch, Taylor ‘has thrown a pair of live batting practice sessions and is scheduled for one simulated inning on Tuesday.’ He is very much looking forward to that.

“Throwing bullpens you don’t get the sights,” said the southpaw. “You don’t get the hitter to read. I feel really good about how my stuff is coming out right now.”

Coming off a rookie campaign in which he posted a 3.11 ERA and .638 OPS against over 51 appearances and 46 1/3 innings pitched as a reliever in 2019, Taylor emerged as a dangerous left-handed weapon out of the Red Sox bullpen.

Originally acquired by Boston as the player to be named later in a trade with the Diamondbacks that sent Deven Marrero to Arizona, Taylor is itching to get back to the majors and prove he belongs once more.

“I know my time is going to come,” he said. “And hopefully sooner rather than later I’ll be up there to help the team.”

In the meantime, Taylor will continue to work out at McCoy Stadium with the other players in the Sox’ roster pool. He was initially placed on the 10-day injured list on July 14, so there shouldn’t be any problem activating him when that time comes.

Myocarditis Shuts Down Red Sox’ Eduardo Rodriguez for Remainder of 2020 Season

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will not pitch this season, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom announced Saturday.

The announcement comes as Rodriguez has been dealing with myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, while recovering from COVID-19, which the 27-year-old tested positive for while at home in Miami early last month.

Although mild, the myocarditis Rodriguez is dealing with is still present, resulting in him being shut down for the remainder of 2020. As noted by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, “the prognosis hasn’t changed but the timetable has.”

Bloom said as much when speaking with reporters Saturday, stating that, “While we remain very optimistic he will make a full recovery, due to the fact that it is persistent, and the amount of care we need to take with this, he’s not going to be able to come back and pitch this year.”

Again, the Sox fully expect Rodriguez to recover from this seeing how the myocarditis has not damaged the Venezuela native’s heart “and is not expected to impact him over the long-term,” That being said, “The recovery should be complete. It’s just a question of time.”

Heading into the season, Rodriguez was slated to be Boston’s No. 1 starter with Chris Sale going down for the year due to Tommy John surgery and David Price getting dealt to the Dodgers.

Even when the idea of Rodriguez starting on Opening Day against the Orioles last month was thrown out the window due to his bout with COVID-19, it still appeared likely that the southpaw would be a welcome addition to the Sox’ rotation sometime later in the season.

Now, the Red Sox will have to endure as they have for the first week of the 2020 campaign. That being without their best left-handed starter.

“It certainly makes the mountain a little bit higher,” Bloom said in regards to being without Rodriguez for the remainder of the season. He also mentioned the fact that the Sox are ‘monitoring the market and also working with pitchers in Pawtucket.’

While the Red Sox scour the market for more pitching, here’s to wishing Eduardo Rodriguez the best and hoping he undergoes a full recovery so that he is all systems go in 2021.

Darwinzon Hernandez Could Start Games for Red Sox Again by End of 2020 Season, Ron Roenicke Says

The idea that Darwinzon Hernandez could once again start for the Red Sox has been out there ever since the left-hander was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for good last July.

Hernandez made his first career major-league start against the Rangers last June at Fenway Park, but never again made an appearance as a starter at the big-league level for the rest of the season.

Instead, as previously mentioned, the now-23-year-old was called up for good in July and proved to be quite effective out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, posting a 4.32 ERA, a .693 OPS against, and a 3.33 xFIP over 27 relief outings and 25 innings of work.

Still, despite that success, the Sox view Hernandez as a starter in the long run. At least, that’s what manager Ron Roenicke said on his weekly segment with WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria on Wednesday.

“Eventually, we think this guy could end up being a starter,” said Roenicke in regards to Hernandez’s future. “Who knows? Maybe he’s starting games by the end of the year.”

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, it is worth mentioning that Hernandez is still technically recovering from a bout with COVID-19, which he tested positive for while at home in Venezuela earlier this month.

Since that time, Hernandez reported back to the Red Sox in Boston in last week and has been working out at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket in the meantime while he’s on the 10-day injured list.

At McCoy Stadium, the flame-throwing southpaw is set to throw a live batting practice session on Wednesday, then he’ll throw another one on Saturday before preparing for a simulated game this coming Monday, according to Roenicke.

From there, the Red Sox will evaluate where things stand with him as well as fellow left-hander Josh Taylor before taking any further action.

The most important thing here, particularly in Hernandez’s case, is to build up his workload so he can get stretched out in order to handle two to three innings at a time. That way, he could be more prepared to start at some point this season if that’s the direction the Red Sox decide to go.

‘You Do Not Go Into Nightclubs. You Do Not Go Into Bars’; Red Sox Players Will Not Be Allowed to Do Certain Things While on Road Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

After Tuesday night’s game against the Mets, the Red Sox will hit the road for the first time this season. The club’s first road trip of 2020 includes stops in Queens, the Bronx, and Tampa Bay. With all that traveling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic comes a great deal of responsibility for players and staff alike, especially in Florida, which has emerged as one of the hot spots for coronavirus in recent weeks.

When speaking with reporters prior to Monday’s series opener against New York, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke detailed a Zoom meeting the team held to inform players what they can and cannot do on the road. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was also involved.

“We’re going on the road. We need to be careful with what we do,” Roenicke said regarding his team’s upcoming travels. “We are talking about different cities and who’s more at risk doing things in certain areas. New York has done a good job. You may be okay walking to a place there more than you would be in Florida.”

Earlier Monday, it was revealed that at least 14 Miami Marlins players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19, which led the club to cancelling their home opener against the Orioles while they remain in self-isolation in Philadelphia, where they spent the weekend playing the Phillies.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker, there have been nearly 419,000 total coronavirus cases in the state of Florida thus far, which is second-most in the Untied States behind only California.

With all that information in mind, playing baseball games in Florida, whether it be in Miami or Tampa Bay, will obviously raise concerns among MLB players and staff while cases continue to rise.

As previously mentioned, the Red Sox will be arriving in Florida next week for a brief-two-game set against the Rays. With an off day on the Monday before that series begins, it will be imperative that the Sox follow the proper virus-related protocols. Roenicke said as much when speaking with reporters earlier.

“You do not go into nightclubs. You do not go into bars,” he stated when recounting what was told to the players in Monday’s Zoom meeting. “To be a hermit and stay in your room for the whole time and just go to the ballpark and stay home, it’s hard to tell a player they have to do it.”

With all the virus-related issues that have sprung up in the past 24 hours, more players may be leaning towards opting out of the remainder of the 2020 season. Roenicke, however, is hopeful that if the Red Sox can make players feel more comfortable, then they will not have to worry about that possibility.

“I don’t want to make them fearful of going on the road and playing. We’ve done a good job so far,” said the Sox skipper. “The more we keep them safe, the more comfortable they feel. We can continue on with this.”

Again, the Red Sox will be departing Boston for New York on Tuesday night. Hopefully we’ll still have a Major League Baseball season to talk about by then.

 

 

Red Sox Shut Down Eduardo Rodriguez Due to COVID-19 Recovery Complications

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez has been shut down from all baseball activities due to minor complications related to his recovery from COVID-19, his manager Ron Roenicke told reporters Thursday.

Per Roenicke, the Sox’ medical staff discovered these “minor complications” before the decision to shut down Rodriguez was made.

The 27-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19 while at home in Miami earlier this month, and even though he would test negative right now, Rodriguez has still “not physically recovered” from his bout with his virus.

As disheartening as this news may sound, Roenicke is viewing it as only a “setback” and is fully confident Rodriguez “will be available to pitch at some point in 2020.” That is probably the case because, as the Sox skipper later clarified, what’s currently hampering Rodriguez has been prevalent in other COVID-19 cases as well.

“The news that we need to shut [Rodriguez] down for a period of time is obviously rough on him,” Roenicke said Thursday. “It is mild. He knows that.”

Rodriguez, along with fellow left-handers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor, was placed on the 10-day injured list on July 14 due to testing positive for the virus.

The Venezuela national re-joined his club over the weekend and threw a bullpen session at Fenway Park this past Saturday, but it now appears that he will not be throwing off a mound anytime soon, although Roenicke is hoping the southpaw will only miss a week’s worth of time.

Of course, this coronavirus has proven to be somewhat unpredictable. For all the talk about how harmless it is for people in his age group, it was quite jarring to hear about what Rodriguez, a 27-year-old professional athlete, had to endure while he was sick.

For more on that, I recommend checking out this story from MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith.

Blue Jays Still Without a Home Ballpark for 2020 Season as Pittsburgh Plan Unravels

Contrary to what was posted on here earlier Wednesday, the Red Sox will not be traveling to Pittsburgh for their lone road series of the year against the Toronto Blue Jays this season.

That being the case because, according to The Associated Press’ Marc Levy, the Pennsylvania Department of Health will not allow the Jays to play their home games at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This decision from the PDH comes despite the fact that the Blue Jays and Pirates had already reached an agreement to share the ballpark for this truncated, 60-game season, which for Toronto begins this coming Friday.

With no home ballpark at this point, the Blue Jays have quite a bit of work to do before their “home” opener on July 29 against the Nationals. As a matter of fact, it looks like that series could take place at Nationals Park seeing how the two sides play two games against each other in the nation’s capital right before then.

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As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Mason, “It’s unclear where the Jays go from here. Hypothetically, they could play all 30 of their home games in road cities, but that would leave them at a massive disadvantage.”

Alternative venues the Blue Jays could use for their home games in 2020 include TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., the home of their spring training facility, and Sahlen Field in Buffalo, NY., the home of their Triple-A affiliate that has been serving as the club’s alternate training site since Summer Camp began.

Baltimore’s Camden Yards has been thrown out there as well.

Red Sox Relievers Darwniznon Hernandez, Josh Taylor ‘Still a Ways Away’ From Returning After COVID-19 Bouts

Red Sox left-handed relievers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor are not close to returning to the team anytime soon, manager Ron Roenicke said Wednesday on his weekly segment with WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria.

Hernandez and Taylor both tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and were placed on the 10-day injured list along with fellow southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez on July 14.

Top prospect Bobby Dalbec, who also tested positive for the virus, was cleared to return two weekends ago and avoided a stint on the injured list.

Both relievers were cleared to return to baseball activities earlier this week, but neither have been able to put together a lengthy bullpen session to this point.

“They are gassed after 20 pitches” Roenicke said of Hernandez and Taylor on Wednesday. “It tells me that they are still a ways away. It would be nice, knowing they are relievers, you don’t have to have the build up with the innings, but you still need to build them up enough to where they pitch one inning, they can come back the next night or the night after, and they’re not there right now.”

Added the Sox skipper: “The velocity that these guys depend on…right now, they don’t have that same stuff. So, it could be a while. We’re certainly trying to get them back as soon as we can, but that physical part of it, we want to do right by them.”

Hernandez and Taylor proved to be key cogs out of the Red Sox bullpen during their rookie seasons in 2019. The former, who turned 23 in December, posted a 3.95 ERA and .721 OPS against over 28 appearances and 27 1/3 innings of work as a reliever, while the latter, who turned 27 in March, posted a 3.11 ERA and .638 OPS against over 51 appearances and 46 1/3 innings of work as a reliever.

In terms of preparedness, Hernandez is likely closer to in-game action than Taylor is seeing how he was able to throw while self-isolating at his home in Venezuela, while Taylor had to self-isolate in a Boston hotel room.

 

Blue Jays to Play Majority of 2020 Home Games at PNC Park, Meaning Red Sox Will Travel to Pittsburgh Instead of Toronto in Late August

UPDATE: It looks like this could be falling apart as I am typing this, so there’s that.

The Red Sox were originally supposed to visit PNC Park earlier this month to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game, Independence Day weekend series.

Instead, because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Sox will be limited to just playing regional opponents this year, but they will still be making a trip to Pittsburgh after all.

That being the case because, as of Wednesday morning, it looks like the Toronto Blue Jays will be playing a majority of their 2020 home games in the Steel City, barring a few exceptions against the Nationals and Yankees.

This all comes as the Canadian government ruled over the weekend that the Blue Jays would not be permitted to play regular season games in Toronto due to the pandemic. From the Associated Press’ report:

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Saturday the federal government had denied the Blue Jays’ request to play at Rogers Centre, confirming what an official familiar with the matter had told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement.

Ahead of this truncated, 60-game season, the Red Sox are scheduled to play the Jays 10 times in 2020. Three of those games were supposed to take place at Rogers Centre from August 25 through August 27, but it now looks like they will now take place at PNC Park, a venue the Sox last visited in 2014.

Eduardo Rodriguez Tweets ‘I’m Back’ as He Joins Red Sox at Summer Camp

A la Michael Jordan announcing his return to the NBA in 1995, Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez announced his return to baseball on Saturday with two simple words: “I’m back.”

Albeit Rodriguez announced his return via Twitter rather than a press release and was not coming out of retirement but rather a bout with coronavirus, it was still encouraging to see that the 27-year-old is indeed back in Boston and will report to Summer Camp at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Per Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, the plan for Rodriguez, as well as fellow left-hander Josh Taylor, is to simply “just play catch” Saturday while also “try[ing] to slowly get them back into where they need to be and to evaluate where they are.”

Rodriguez and Taylor were two of four Sox players who, at least publicly, tested positive for COVID-19, with Bobby Dalbec and Darwinzon Hernandez being the other two.

Dalbec was cleared to return to baseball activities last weekend, but it’s been a different story for the trio of southpaws as they were all placed on the 10-day injured list this past Tuesday.

That being said, all three have in Boston for at least the last 24-48 hours, with Hernandez flying in from Venezuela on Thursday night and Rodriguez flying in from Miami on Friday all while Taylor has been self-isolating in a hotel in the city.

Because Taylor was stuck in a hotel room while Hernandez and Rodriguez could at least throw at their respective homes, Roenicke has some concerns about where the lefty reliever stands in terms of being prepared for the upcoming season.

“I’m a little bit more concerned about him because he was stuck in that hotel room and not throwing at all other than maybe throwing into a pillow or a mattress or whatever he’s doing,” Roenicke said of Taylor via Zoom. “So we really need to keep our eyes on him and make sure he’s ready when we activate him.”

As for Rodriguez, the Venezuela native was originally supposed to be Boston’s Opening Day starter, but that responsibility has since been handed over to Nathan Eovaldi now that Rodriguez will begin the season on the IL. That does not necessarily mean that the 19-game winner from a year ago will miss too much time though, according to Roenicke.

“When [Rodriguez is] ready, when he starts throwing his bullpens — he’ll do some up and down bullpens — and when (pitching coach) Dave (Bush) thinks he’s ready we’ll start doing the simulated games and the live BPs,” said the Sox skipper. “Doesn’t mean he has to get his pitch count up to 85 or anything. If he’s feeling good and we think we can do this in-season, maybe he throws four innings (in a real game) and we think his four innings are going to be better than somebody else’s.”

Because of how “unsettled” their starting rotation is, as chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom put it, Rodriguez would certainly be a welcome addition to the Sox’ pitching staff whenever he is ready to return to game action.