Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez Optioned to Double-A Portland in Third Round of #RedSox Roster Cuts

With Opening Day just five days away, the Red Sox made their third round of roster cuts on Saturday, reassigning two players to minor league camp and optioning three to the minors.

Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and catcher Juan Centeno, both non-roster invites this spring, were the two reassigned to minor league camp. They will, however, remain with the big league club before they head off to Seattle.

Hernandez, 31, slashed .244/.279/.415 with two home runs and five RBI in 43 plate appearances this spring, while Centeno, 29, slashed .294/.368/.294 with three RBI in just 19 plate appearances. Both figure to start the 2019 season with Triple-A Pawtucket.

On the other side of things, the two surprising additions to Boston’s 2018 Opening Day roster did not make the club out of the gate this year, as left-hander Bobby Poyner and right-hander Marcus Walden were both optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Poyner, who is technically still a rookie, surrendered seven earned runs on 10 hits and three walks to go along with eight strikeouts over seven appearances and 9.2 total innings of work this spring.

Walden, meanwhile, had a much better time of things in his second spring with Boston, as he allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits, four walks, and 13 strikeouts over seven appearances (one start) and 12.2 innings.

And finally, top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez was optioned to Double-A Portland.

The 22-year-old southpaw really impressed this spring, posting a miniscule 0.82 ERA over six outings (two starts) and 11 frames pitched.

Despite the rumblings that Hernandez could potentially make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster as reliever, the club ultimately made the decision not to rush things.

Now, the native of Venezuela will have the chance to develop more while in Portland as a starter, presumably.

Following Saturday’s transactions, the Red Sox’ active roster now stands at 30 players.

PITCHERS (13): Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Nathan Eovaldi, Heath Hembree, Brian Johnson, Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Tyler Thornburg, Hector Velázquez, Brandon Workman

CATCHERS (3): Sandy León, Blake Swihart, Christian Vázquez

INFIELDERS (10): Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Marco Hernández, Brock Holt, Tzu-Wei Lin, Mitch Moreland, Eduardo Núñez, Steve Pearce, Dustin Pedroia, Sam Travis

OUTFIELDERS (4): Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez

Assuming that Hernandez and Pedroia start the season on the injured list, while Lin and Travis are optioned, and Leon is either traded or designated for assignment, the Red Sox’ 25-man Opening Day roster is essentially set.

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Chris Sale Fans Seven and Mookie Betts Homers as #RedSox Bounce Back with 6-1 Victory over Braves

The Red Sox improved to 7-13-1 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday afternoon following a 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at JetBlue Park, marking their first win since March 5th.

After tossing three innings in a minor league contest this past Monday, Chris Sale finally made his 2019 Grapefruit League debut in this one.

With a pitch limit set at no more than 65, the ace left-hander held Atlanta scoreless while scattering two hits and striking out seven, five of which came consecutively, in four quality frames of work. He did not walk a single batter.

Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 50 before heading out to finish his day in the Red Sox bullpen, Sale topped out at 93 MPH with his fastball and also mixed in a fair amount of changeups and sliders.

From the beginning of the fifth inning on, we got a significant glimpse at what could potentially be the back-end of the Red Sox bullpen in 2019, as Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Tyler Thornburg, and Darwinzon Hernandez combined to surrender only one run on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over the final five innings on Saturday.

Like Sale, Brasier also made his 2019 Grapefruit League debut against the Braves.

Previously dealing with a toe infection earlier in the spring, the 2018 standout reliever struck out one while also allowing that lone Atlanta run to cross the plate in their half of the sixth.

Thornburg, meanwhile, finally put together his first shutout performance of the year, as he retired three of the four hitters he faced in a solid seventh inning of relief.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Braves number-two prospect Kyle Wright to start things off on Saturday.

As he typically does, Mookie Betts got the scoring started for Boston by lacing a one out first inning single off Wright.

One Mitch Moreland double later, and JD Martinez collected his first RBI of the spring on a sac-fly to right.

That plated Betts and advanced Moreland to third, who would then come around to score himself on an RBI double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts to give the Red Sox an early two-run advantage.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, and Betts struck again by blasting his first home run of the year off Braves reliever Shane Carle, a monumental solo shot over the JetBlue Park Green Monster.

An inning later, Brock Holt would turn out to be the catalyst of a three-run frame for Boston by drawing a leadoff walk off Luke Jackson.

Two back-to-back RBI doubles from Eduardo Nunez and Jackie Bradley Jr. later, the Red sox found themselves up 5-1.

After stealing third, Bradley would come in to score on a Chad De La Guerra sacrifice fly, which would plate the club’s sixth and final run of the day, as 6-1 would go on to be your final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Eduardo Nunez had himself a nice day at the plate with that RBI double. He also flashed the leather at third on a hard-hit ground ball from Adam Duvall in the fourth inning.

Darwinzon Hernandez, who was responsible for the final two innings on Saturday, briefly received a visit from Alex Cora and a trainer in the eighth, but remained in the game to close things out.

In his third game back, Dustin Pedroia went 0/3 out of the leadoff spot. He started the first five innings at second base.

Next up for the Red Sox, it will be some split-squad action against both the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

One group will remain in Fort Myers to host the Rays with David Price slated to start, while the other group will head to Bradenton to face the Pirates, with Marcus Walden getting the start there.

Right-hander Jameson Taillon is listed as Sunday’s starter for Pittsburgh, while Tampa Bay will be going with lefty Ryan Merritt.

First pitch for both contests is scheduled for 1:05 PM EDT. NESN has the Rays game covered.

Also, here’s what Red Sox manager Alex Cora said following Saturday’s win:

David Price Fans Four in Spring Debut as #RedSox Drop Sixth Straight

After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox fell to 6-11 in Grapefruit League play on Tuesday following a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers at JetBlue Park, marking their sixth straight defeat.

Like Rick Porcello did on Sunday, 2018 postseason hero David Price made his 2019 debut in this one, getting the start against one of his former teams.

Working the first three innings, the left-hander surrendered two runs on a pair of hits and walks to go along with four strikeouts in his first in-game action of the spring.

Both of those Detroit runs came in the top of the third, when with two outs and a runner on first, ex-Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer blasted his second home run of the spring to give his new club a two-run advantage.

Other than that one blunder, it was relatively smooth sailing for Price, as he faced three over the minimum nine hitters.

In relief of Price, Matt Barnes, Bobby Poyner, Darwinzon Hernandez, Marcus Walden, Erasmo Ramirez, and Jenrry Mejia combined to give up an additional two runs on three hits, six walks, one HBP, and six strikeouts over the final six frames.

Barnes, who looks poised to be Boston’s closer to start out the 2019 campaign, bounced back from a rough spring debut Saturday and escaped a fourth inning bases loaded jam while holding Detroit scoreless on Tuesday.

Hernandez, meanwhile, had his scoreless appearances streak come to an end in this one, as he allowed Daz Cameron to score on a Kody Eaves two out RBI double in the sixth.

Finally, to close things out, Mejia sat down all but one of the four Detroit hitters he faced in a shutout ninth inning to keep Boston’s deficit at three.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup, which featured the likes of Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers, JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, Dustin Pedroia, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Christian Vazquez was held in check yet again.

Matched up against Tigers left-hander Daniel Norris to start things off, Boston was limited to just three runs on the day, which is actually the most they have scored in a game since last Tuesday.

In fact, all three of those runs were plated in the Red Sox’ half of the ninth.

CJ Chatham got the late rally started by drawing a leadoff walk against Tigers reliever Kyle Funkhouser, who then proceeded to hit Sam Travis with a pitch to put runners on first and second.

Mike Miller followed that up by driving in Chatham on an RBI single up the middle, which in turn led to a Detroit pitching change.

With Jose Manuel Fernandez now on the mound for Detroit and one out in the inning, Blake Swihart pulled his club one run closer by lacing an RBI double left to score Travis and advance Miller to third, who would then come around to plate the third run of the frame on a Gorkys Hernandez RBI groundout.

Unfortunately, a Bryce Brentz strikeout would put an end to any potential comeback effort, and 4-3 would be your final score on Tuesday in favor of Detroit.

Some notes from this loss:

When asked about Price’s outing, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “David looked excellent. Velocity. Command. Presence on the mound.”

When asked about it himself, Price responded with a bit of self-criticism.

“To be honest, that homer is not what bothers me the most,” the southpaw said following his start. “It’s the two two-out walks that I had. Gave up that homer and then went 2-0 on the next hitter and then was able to bounce back and throw quality strikes and get that third out. First time back out there in however many months, I’m okay with it.”

On the field, Dustin Pedroia went 1/2 with a single in his second game back, while Blake Swihart accounted for Boston’s lone extra-base hit on Tuesday with that ninth inning RBI two-bagger.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the Minnesota Twins at JetBlue Park on Wednesday in the fifth installment of the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Right-hander Jose Berrios will be getting the ball for Minnesota, while fellow righty Nathan Eovaldi will be making his 2019 debut as well as his first ever Grapefruit League start for Boston.

Looking to put an end to this six-game skid, first pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 1:05 ET at JetBlue. This game will not be televised.

 

#RedSox Option Top Prospect Michael Chavis to Triple-A Pawtucket Among Other Roster Moves

In their first round of spring roster cuts, the Red Sox announced the following roster moves Tuesday morning:

Among the notable transactions would be top prospect Michael Chavis being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Chavis, 23, had a hot start to the spring with three home runs in his first four games, but has since cooled off a bit, slashing just .167/.167/.417 with one homer over his last 12 at-bats.

Right-hander Travis Lakins, Right-hander Chandler Shepherd, and left-hander Josh Taylor have also been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, while right-hander Denyi Reyes was optioned to Double-A Portland.

Lakins, ranked as Boston’s 15th-best prospect, posted a 2.57 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in five relief appearances and seven innings pitched this spring.

Taylor, who was the player to be named later in the Deven Marrero trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year, allowed four runs in seven innings of work across four appearances. He also recorded seven strikeouts.

The Red Sox also announced that Rusney Castillo, Josh Ockimey, Austin Rei, Tony Renda, Mike Shawaryn, and Carson Smith, all of whom were non-roster invitees, have been reassigned to minor league camp.

Castillo, 31, has two years and $24.5 million remaining on the seven-year, $72.5 million deal he signed as an international free agent back in 2014.

If I were to guess, I would say that all three of Lakins, Taylor, and even Shawaryn will contribute out of the Red Sox bullpen in 2019.

Speaking of the Red Sox bullpen, top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez survived the first round of roster cuts, which may indeed speak to the amount of faith the club has in him at the moment.

The 22-year-old left-hander has yet to surrender a run while fanning 10 in seven innings pitched over three outings so far this spring.

 

Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez Tosses Three Scoreless Innings as #RedSox Drop Third Straight

The Red Sox fell to 6-8 in Grapefruit League play on Friday afternoon following a 4-2 loss at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles marking their third consecutive defeat.

Top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez got the start for Boston in this one and was impressive yet again.

Working the first three innings, the left-hander held Baltimore scoreless while yielding just one hit, one walk, and two HBPs to go along with four strikeouts. He faced 11 Orioles hitters.

Through three outings (two starts) this spring, Hernandez has yet to allow a run to score while striking out 10 in seven total innings of work.

In relief of Hernandez, Bobby Poyner, Travis Lakins, Mike Shawaryn, and Jenryy Mejia combined to surrender four runs on seven hits, two walks, one HBP, and three strikeouts.

Poyner, who served up a fourth inning solo home run up to Renato Nunez, was charged with the loss.

Mejia, meanwhile, bounced back from a rough outing Tuesday with a pair of punch outs in a 1-2-3 ninth on Friday.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner for the Orioles and were limited to two runs or less for the third straight day.

Tzu-Wei Lin accounted for Boston’s lone RBI in this one with an RBI ground-rule double in the second inning of Cashner to score Sandy Leon from second.

Fast forward all the way to the top half of the ninth, and Austin Rei plated the Red Sox’ second and final run of the afternoon after Sam Travis reached first on a Baltimore fielding error.

Some notes from this 4-2 loss:

In 24 at bats so far this spring, Tzu-Wei Lin is slashing .375/.423/.667 with one home run and six RBI.

I know it’s just spring training, but the Red Sox have scored four runs in their last three games. Not ideal.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the New York Mets Saturday at JetBlue Park.

Right-hander Zack Wheeler, who posted a 3.31 ERA in 2018, will make the start for New York, while left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will do the same for Boston.

Following Rodriguez’s latest start this past Monday, which also happened to come against the Mets, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, “He needs to get better. His stuff is really good. . . we have to be more efficient.” So, we’ll see how that goes.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 1:05 ET down at JetBlue. NESN has it covered.

 

Top Prospect Michael Chavis Blasts Fourth Spring Home Run as #RedSox Top Twins

The Red Sox improved to 4-5 in Grapefruit League play on Sunday following a 9-7 win over the split-squad Minnesota Twins. They are now up two games to one in the race for the 2019 Chairman’s Cup.

Top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez made the start for Boston in this one, marking his first of the spring.

The left-hander impressed on Sunday, holding Minnesota scoreless on one hit and a pair of walks to go along with three strikeouts over two innings of work.

Despite loading the bases and getting out of the jam in the second, only one ball off of Hernandez was hit out of the infield in this one. The 22-year-old hurler was consistently reaching the high 90’s with his fastball, as well as mixing in some nasty breaking stuff as well.

So far this spring, Hernandez has yet to yield a run in three total appearances and six innings of work.

In relief of Hernandez, Tyler Thornburg, Erasmo Ramirez, Marcus Walden, Jordan Weems, and Dan Runzler combined to surrender seven runs on 11 hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts over the final seven frames on Sunday.

Thornburg, who is vying for a late-inning role in the Red Sox bullpen, allowed hits to two of the first three hitters he faced, which resulted in the Twins scoring their first run of the afternoon.

Still, the right-hander rallied and retired the last two hitters he faced, including a strikeout of Tyler Austin to escape the inning.

Walden, who surprisingly made Boston’s Opening Day roster last season, put together the best performance of any Red Sox reliever on Sunday, as the right-hander scattered two hits and three punch outs over two scoreless innings of work. He earned his second winning decision of the spring as a result of the solid performance.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup featured eight presumable 2019 regulars, including Mitch Moreland, who started as the DH, for the first time this spring.

It was actually Moreland who got the scoring started for Boston with a third inning RBI single off of Twins starter Stephen Gonsalves that plated Mookie Betts from second.

Fast forward to the fifth, and top prospect Michael Chavis picked up where he left off by mashing his fourth long ball of the spring.

That homer pulled the Red Sox to within one run of the Twins at the time it was hit.

Just an inning later though, Boston’s bats erupted for a SEVEN run bottom half of the sixth, as a Chad De Le Guerra RBI single, a Tony Renda solo home run, and a CJ Chatham bases-clearing RBI double saw the Red Sox jump out to a 9-3 advantage.

In total, the Red Sox sent 12 hitters to the plate in their half of the sixth, with Chatham igniting the rally on a leadoff single and capping things off with a game-sealing three RBI double.

The Twins would attempt to fight their way back by scoring four unanswered runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but would ultimately fall short as 9-7 is your final score in this one.

Some notes from this win:

Through his first 17 at bats of 2019, Michael Chavis is slashing .353/.421/1.059 with four home runs and 10 RBI.

Mookie Betts went 2/2 on Sunday with a pair of hard-hit opposite field doubles in the first and third innings.

Next up for the Red Sox, they travel to Port St. Lucie on Monday to take on a split-squad New York Mets club.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will make the start for Boston while New York has yet to announce a starter.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 1:10 PM ET. MLB Network will have the game.

 

Xander Bogaerts Launches First Home Run of Spring as #RedSox Get Blown out by Orioles

The Red Sox fell to 3-5 in Grapefruit League play on Saturday, dropping their second straight to the Baltimore Orioles by a final score of 9-1.

As the score indicates, the Red Sox pitching staff had themselves another tough afternoon in this one.

Colten Brewer, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres last November, made the start, serving as Boston’s ‘opener’, per Alex Cora.

The 26-year-old right-handed reliever picked up his second losing decision of the spring on Saturday, surrendering two runs (one earned), on two hits and three walks while pitching into the second inning.

In relief of the ex-Padre, right-hander Adam Lau struck out three of the four hitters he faced while cleaning up Brewer’s mess in that second inning.

From there, Travis Lakins, Dedgar Jiminez, Kutter Crawford, Matthew Gorst, Brian Ellington, Daniel Schlereth, and Daniel McGrath combined to surrender seven runs on 14 hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts over the final seven frames.

Ellington, who signed a minor league contract with Boston in early February, put together the best pitching performance of the day, as the right-hander fanned a pair in his lone inning of relief in the top half of the eighth.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup featured JD Martinez for the first time in 2019.

The reigning two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, batting fourth and serving as Boston’s designated hitter, went 0/2 in his spring debut.

Similar to their performance against the Twins on Friday, the only run scored by the Red Sox against Baltimore came on a Xander Bogaerts fourth inning solo home run.

That moon shot of a homer off Orioles right-hander Yefry Ramirez marked Bogaerts’ first of the spring. He’s slashing .333/.333/.778 with that one long ball and two RBI in four games so far.

Bogaerts’ bomb cut Boston’s deficit to one run at the time it was hit, but as previously mentioned, the Orioles would go on to run away with this one in a 9-1 contest.

One note from this loss:

Mookie Betts broke out of his mini 0/5 slump by ripping a third inning single off Baltimore starter Mike Wright Jr. He also drew a walk in the first inning in his only other at bat of the day.

Next up for the Red Sox, they host the Twins, who will be sending a split-squad to JetBlue Park on Sunday afternoon.

Left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez is scheduled to get the start for Boston, while fellow southpaw Stephen Gonzalves will be starting for the Twins.

Hernandez, 22, has yet to start a game this spring. According to MLB Pipeline, the Venezuela native is ranked as the top left-handed pitcher in Boston’s farm system.

First pitch against the Twins is scheduled for 1:05 ET. NESN has it covered.