Red Sox infield prospect C.J. Chatham was slated to start at shortstop in Boston’s spring training opener against the Northeastern Huskies baseball team on Friday. Instead, the 25-year-old was a late scratch from the Sox’ lineup due to right shoulder soreness.
Jeter Downs, one of three players acquired in the trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers, got the start in Chatham’s place at short.
Ranked as Boston’s No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Chatham entered big-league camp with the chance to provide the Sox with some depth around the infield a few months after being added to the club’s 40-man roster for the first time back in November.
The former second-round pick out of Florida Atlantic University split time between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket last season, slashing .298/.333/.408 with five home runs, 46 RBI, and seven stolen bases over 110 total games in 2019.
Earlier in the week, Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett told The Athletic’s Chad Jennings that Chatham has “been exposed to the outfield and could ‘potentially’ get some third base reps in preparation for a utility role.”
Depending on the severity of the soreness he is dealing with, Chatham could be held out of action for the next few days. There will probably be more news about once Friday’s contest comes to a close.
As for Downs, MLB Pipeline’s No. 44 prospect got the start at his natural position and already collected his first hit in a Red Sox uniform on a first inning infield single. He has also committed a fielding error.
As pitchers and catchers report to Fenway South in Fort Myers on Tuesday, the Red Sox have made another roster addition, signing outfielder Cesar Puello to a minor-league deal that includes an invite to big league camp.
Puello, who turns 29 at the beginning of April, had spent the 2019 season between the Angels and Marlins, slashing .248/.356/.384 with four home runs and 18 RBI over 44 total games between the two clubs.
Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mets in 2007, the Red Sox will be the ninth organization Puello has spent time with.
Despite only playing in 44 games last year, Puello was worth 1.0 fWAR thanks to some exceptional defense in the Angels and Marlins outfield, per FanGraphs. He logged time at all three outfield positions as well.
Puello will earn $625,000 if he makes it to the majors this year, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.
With this signing, as well as the other non-roster invitees mentioned in the tweet above, the Red Sox now have 65 players attending major-league spring training this year. That number will have to be trimmed down to 26 by the time March 26th comes around.
One week after he was designated for assignment Red Sox first baseman/outfielder Sam Travis was outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket earlier Thursday, meaning he is now off Boston’s 40-man roster.
The 26-year-old Travis was designated on January 2nd in order to make room on the Sox’ 40-man roster for former Mets and Indians catcher Kevin Plawecki, whom the club signed to a one-year major-league contract earlier that day.
That decision to drop Travis from the 40-man roster more than likely came from the fact that the Illinois native was out of minor-league options headed into the spring and would have had to fight for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day squad.
Now, with Travis neither being traded to or claimed by another club, he will have the chance to provide the Sox with depth at both corner outfield spots as well as first base while in Triple-A.
In a career-high 59 games in 2019, the former 2014 second-round pick slashed .215/.274/.382 with six home runs and 16 RBI.
As MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo notes, Travis will likely still receive an invite to major league camp come February.
After placing him on outright waivers on Monday, the Red Sox officially outrighted Brian Johnson to Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday, meaning the left-hander went unclaimed.
Johnson, who turns 29 next month, is no longer a part of Boston’s 40-man roster after posting an ERA of 6.02 and FIP of 5.32 over 21 total appearances (seven starts) and 40 1/3 innings of work in an injury-filled 2019.
A former first round pick out of the University of Florida in 2012 and a Florida native himself, Johnson can still provide the Sox with pitching depth, and he’ll still probably get an invite to major-league camp in the spring, but he is no longer one of the top two or three choices to make a spot start for Boston when needed. That much was made evident when 27-year-old left-hander Kyle Hart was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster last week.
Speaking of 40-man rosters, the Red Sox currently have 38 players on theirs.
Per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, the Red Sox signed veteran utility man Chris Owings to a minor-league contract Monday.
Owings, 27, signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Kansas City Royals last December and slashed .133/.193/.222 with two home runs and nine RBI over 40 games played before being designated for assignment and eventually released on June 4th.
Initially selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft, Owings spent six big league seasons in the desert, posting a .250/.291/.378 slash line to go along with 31 homers and 196 runs driven in.
A native of South Carolina, Owings is capable of playing all around the field with experience at second base, shortstop, third base, and all three outfield positions.
Despite the poor numbers he has amassed with Kansas City this year, Owings can still provide the Red Sox with solid minor league depth at Triple-A Pawtucket once he gets there from Fort Myers.