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)


Narciso Crook goes deep twice, leads power surge for Red Sox in 11-7 win over Yankees

The Red Sox went deep six times en route to a high-scoring win over the Yankees on Thursday afternoon. In the first of 15 meetings between the two rivals this year, Boston defeated New York by a final score of 11-7 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

With Clarke Schmidt starting for the Yankees, the Red Sox jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in their half of the second inning. After Reese McGuire reached base via a one-out single, Narciso Crook got his side on the board first by crushing a 327-foot two-run home run down the right field line.

Nick Pivetta, who was making his second start of the spring for Boston, had already worked a scoreless first inning. But the right-hander ran into some trouble in the second after issuing a pair of walks to Josh Donaldson and Rafael Ortega. He then gave up a game-tying, two-run single to Jose Trevino.

Having already thrown 33 pitches in the second inning alone, Pivetta was pulled by Red Sox manager Alex Cora with two outs. Ryan Miller, who was acquired from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of December’s Rule 5 Draft, was called upon on to record the final out of the second. Pivetta’s day, however, was not yet over.

After Schmidt stranded one runner in the top of the third, Pivetta came back out for the bottom half of the inning. The 30-year-old hurler surrendered a leadoff single to Aaron Judge but ended his afternoon on a more positive note by fanning Anthony Rizzo on five pitches.

All told, Pivetta allowed two earned runs on three hits and three walks to go along with two strikeouts over two total innings of work. He finished with 57 pitches (34 strikes) and averaged 94.7 mph with his four-seam fastball while inducing four swings-and-misses.

Durbin Feltman took over Pivetta with one out in the third and stranded the lone runner he inherited by inducing a pair of groundouts. He was responsible for the fourth inning as well, but he gave up a one-out double to Oswald Peraza and allowed him to score the then-go-ahead run on two wild pitches while Trevino was at the plate.

Following a scoreless fifth inning from Zack Kelly, though, the Red Sox erupted for six runs in the top of the sixth. Facing off against old friend Tyler Danish, minor-league outfielder Tyler Dearden clubbed a 422-foot solo shot to right-center field to lead things off. After Ceddanne Rafaela reached base with one out, Daniel Palka delivered with a 375-foot homer of his own that put Boston up, 5-3.

Niko Goodrum and McGuire then reached on back-to-back singles before Crook came through with his second big fly of the day. This one left his bat at a blistering 105.3 mph and was deposited 424 feet over the left field wall. The sharply-hit three-run blast gave the Red Sox some breathing room in the form of an 8-3 lead.

Kelly remained in for the bottom of the sixth and retired the final three batters he faced. Eddinson Paulino, who pinch-ran for Enmanuel Valdez the inning prior, led off the seventh inning by launching a 389-foot home run off new Yankees reliever Demarcus Evans. Chase Shugart was next up out of the bullpen after Kelly and also faced the minimum while punching out top prospect Jasson Dominguez in the latter half of the seventh.

After Norwith Gudino put up another zero in the eighth, the Red Sox made sure to make their last at-bats count in the ninth. Christian Koss drew a leadoff walk off Randy Vazquez. Three batters later, Phillip Sikes capped off the scoring by drilling a 395-foot two-run homer that had an exit velocity of 105.7 mph to right field.

Taking a commanding 11-3 advantage into the bottom of the ninth, Gudino served up a pair of home runs (including a three-run shot to Dominguez), but he was ultimately able to hang on and secure an 11-7 victory for the Red Sox.

With the win, which took two hours and 47 minutes to complete, Boston improves to 9-0-3 in Grapefruit League play and 11-0-3 in all competitions this spring.

Other worthwhile observations:

Batting out of the nine-hole and starting in left field on Thursday, Dearden went 2-for-3 with his sixth-inning home run. The 24-year-old was originally selected by the Red Sox in the 29th round of the 2017 amateur draft.

McGuire and Crook went a combined 4-for-6 on Thursday with five RBIs and four runs scored between them.

Next up: Kluber starts against Blue Jays

The Red Sox will return to Fort Myers on Friday afternoon to host the Blue Jays at JetBlue Park. Veteran right-hander Corey Kluber will get the start for Boston opposite fellow righty Zach Thompson for Toronto.

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

(Picture of Narciso Crook: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox sign slugging first baseman/outfielder Daniel Palka to minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free agent first baseman/outfielder Daniel Palka to a minor-league contract, the club announced on Friday. The deal comes with an invite to major-league spring training.

Palka, 31, spent the 2022 season in the Mets organization. The left-handed hitter batted .263/.344/.506 with 18 doubles, 26 home runs, 79 RBIs, 68 runs scored, 48 walks, and 105 strikeouts in 109 games (445 plate appearances) with Triple-A Syracuse.

“Power. Controls the strike zone,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Palka when speaking with reporters (including’s Christopher Smith) on Friday. “For as much power as he has, he doesn’t strike out as much. So he’s here. He says he’s ready to play. … He’s another guy who has big-league experience and is a good bat. And I’m glad that we got him.

A native of South Carolina, Palka was originally selected by the Diamondbacks in the third round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Georgia Tech. He was traded to the Twins in 2015 and was claimed off waivers by the White Sox in November 2017 before debuting for Chicago the following April.

As a 26-year-old rookie, Palka burst onto the scene in 2018 by slashing .240/.294/.484 with 15 doubles, three triples, a team-leading 27 home runs, 67 RBIs, 56 runs scored, two stolen bases, 30 walks, and 153 strikeouts across 124 games (449 plate appearances) for the White Sox. He finished fifth in American League Rookie of the Year voting that fall.

For whatever reason, Palka took a step backward in 2019. He appeared in just 30 games for the South Siders that year and mustered a .107/.194/.179 slash line to go along with two homers, four runs driven in, four runs scored, eight walks, and 35 strikeouts over 93 total trips to the plate. The White Sox designated him for assignment that November and released him in July 2020.

Since being cut loose by the White Sox, Palka has not gotten back to the major-leagues. He played for the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization during the latter half of the 2020 season before returning to affiliated ball with the Nationals in 2021.

All told, Palka is a lifetime .218/.277/.433 hitter with 29 home runs and 71 RBIs in 154 career big-league games (all with the White Sox). At the Triple-A level, he owns a career line of .261/.349/.486 with 98 home runs and 293 RBIs in 477 games across four different organizations.

Defensively, Palka has past experience at first base and all three outfield spots. With the Syracuse Mets last year, the 6-foot-2, 230-pounder logged 354 2/3 innings at first, 58 2/3 innings in left, and 160 innings in right.

Palka, who turns 32 in October, has been assigned to Triple-A Worcester. There, he figures to provide Boston with some power-hitting depth who is capable of playing fist base and both corner outfield spots when needed. It does not appear as though the club signed him out of necessity or to address a specific need, but rather to fill in the gaps when other players at camp leave for the World Baseball Classic next month.

“I think this is more about the scouting department just adding to the equation,” said Cora. “It’s not needs or whatever. It’s just getting deeper. And that’s the most important thing. I don’t know how much we’re going to add in the upcoming weeks.

“But I know they’re working hard to see who’s out there, what we can bring to the equation or who wants to come here,” he added. “At the end of the day, all those guys that have some big-league experience but don’t have contracts, it’s up to them sometimes. And I’m glad that he’s here.”

With the addition of Palka, the Red Sox now have 64 players at major-league spring training. They will need to trim that number down to 26 by Opening Day.

(Picture of Daniel Palka: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)