J.D. Martinez belts game-winning homer as Red Sox take series from Orioles with 5-3 victory

The Red Sox fell behind early, battled back, and blew a late lead. But they still held on for a series-clinching victory over the Orioles on Thursday afternoon. Boston defeated Baltimore, 5-3, to extend its winning streak to three and improve to 75-81 on the season.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his first start since August 12, pitched well in his return from the injured list. The veteran right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and zero walks to go along with three strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Both of those Orioles runs came in the top of the third. Following back-to-back singles from Kyle Stowers and Jorge Mateo to lead off the inning, Stowers scored from third by avoiding Connor Wong’s tag on an Adley Rutschman groundout. Anthony Santander then hit a grounder in the direction of Triston Casas, who booted the ball. The fielding error allowed Mateo to score from third to double his side’s lead at 2-0.

The Sox pulled back even with Baltimore in their half of the fourth. J.D. Martinez reached base on a one-out double off Orioles starter Mike Baumann. Casas then made up for his previous mistake by roping a 330-foot double off the Green Monster that plated Martinez to make it a 2-1 game. Enrique Hernandez followed with a run-scoring single of his own to bring in Casas and knot things up at two runs apiece.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth before getting the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The 32-year-old hurler finished with 72 pitches (51 strikes). He did not factor into the decision, but he did lower his ERA on the season down to 4.05.

In relief of Eovaldi, Eduard Bazardo recorded the final out of the fifth and also sat down the side in order in the top of the sixth. A half-inning later, Boston got to Orioles reliever Cionel Perez.

Alex Verdugo led off with a line-drive single and promptly advanced to second base on a wild pitch. He moved up an additional 90 feet on a Casas single and then raced home when Christian Arroyo grounded out to third base.

With a brand new one-run lead in hand, Matt Strahm almost immediately gave that up in the seventh when Stowers took him 399 feet deep to right-center to tie the score at 3-3.

Following a scoreless top of the eighth from Zack Kelly, though, the Red Sox again responded. With one out and one runner on, Martinez came through with a clutch two-run homer on the very first pitch he saw (a hanging slider on the inner half of the plate) from Dillon Tate.

Martinez’s 14th home run of the season left his bat at 100.1 mph and travelled 392 feet into the Monster Seats to give the Sox a 5-3 lead going into the ninth. There, Kaleb Ort worked his way around a two-out single to notch the first save of his big-league career. Kelly was credited with his first career win as well.

Offensively, Verdugo, Martinez, and Casas accounted for six of Boston’s nine hits. Verdugo went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, Martinez went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, and Casas went 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk.

Next up: Final road trip to Toronto

The Red Sox will now head to Toronto for their final road trip of the season. It comes in the form of a three-game weekend series against the Blue Jays. Native Canadian Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston in Friday’s series opener opposite fellow righty-hander Alek Manoah.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Red Sox to call up Connor Wong, Eduard Bazardo from Triple-A Worcester as rosters expand

With major-league rosters expanding from 26 to 28 players on Thursday, the Red Sox have called up catcher Connor Wong and right-hander Eduard Bazardo from Triple-A Worcester, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo and Christopher Smith.

This will be Wong’s fourth big-league stint of the season. The 26-year-old backstop has already appeared in five games for Boston and has gone 2-for-8 with an RBI and two strikeouts.

In Worcester, however, Wong has been on a torrid stretch as of late. Dating back to August 13, when he returned to the lineup after missing two weeks with a wrist injury, the right-handed hitter has slashed .368/.411/.838 (220 wRC+) with five doubles, nine home runs, 22 RBIs, 14 runs scored, four walks, and 21 strikeouts over his last 16 games.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Wong has batted .288/.349/.489 (121 wRC+) to go along with 20 doubles, 15 homers, 44 runs driven in, 47 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 27 walks, and 80 strikeouts across 81 games (355 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

From behind the plate, Wong has thrown out 12 of a possible 49 possible base stealers while logging 460 innings at catcher. The 6-foot-1, 181-pounder also made his first start of the season at second base last Saturday in an effort to add to his versatility.

One of three players acquired from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade, Wong is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top defensive catcher in Boston’s farm system.

Bazardo, meanwhile, is celebrating his 27th birthday on Thursday and has received quite the gift. In 37 appearances (four starts) for the WooSox this season, the Venezuelan-born righty has posted a 3.45 ERA and 3.58 FIP with 60 strikeouts to 19 walks over 57 1/3 innings of work.

Originally signed out of Maracay for just $8,000 in July 2014, Bazardo was initially added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November 2020 after an impressive showing at fall instructs. He made his major-league debut last April and appeared in a total of two games.

Although it seemed like Bazardo had a chance to crack the Sox’ Opening Day roster this spring, he was designated for assignment in early April. But he cleared waivers and was outrighted to Worcester.

With that being said, the Red Sox will need to add Bazardo to their 40-man roster, though they already have an opening on it and will not have to designate someone else for assignment.

(Picture of Connor Wong: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Eduard Bazardo to Triple-A Worcester after right-hander clears waivers

Three days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox announced on Sunday that right-hander Eduard Bazardo had cleared waivers and had been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester.

Bazardo, 26, was one of two pitchers (the other being Ralph Garza Jr.) Boston designated for assignment last Thursday in order to clear 40-man roster spots for the additions of Hansel Robles and Travis Shaw.

While Garza Jr. was quickly claimed by the division rival Rays, Bazardo remains in the Red Sox organization after spending a few days in limbo.

The Venezuelan-born righty was originally signed by Boston for just $8,000 as an international free agent in 2014. It took some time for Bazardo to rise to relevance, but he did so at fall instructs in 2020, where he displayed increased fastball velocity to ultimately earn a spot on the Sox’ 40-man roster that November.

The Red Sox added Bazardo to their 40-man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. He made two appearances (including his debut) with the big-league club in 2021, though he was also sidelined for about three months due to a right lat strain.

During spring training this year, Bazardo was used in just one Grapefruit League game before losing his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster ahead of Opening Day. According to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, the 6-foot, 187 pound hurler was completely healthy.

“That decision goes above me,” Cora said on Thursday. “He was healthy and he pitched on the backfields. He only pitched in one game but everything went fine. Our roster is becoming harder and harder, especially the last two years. That’s a good problem to have, right? Because you have good pitchers, good players. It was a tough decision toward the end. There were a few guys that we talk about it.”

Cora had also been hopeful that Bazardo would clear waivers and stick with the organization as a non-40-man player, which turned out to be the case.

Now that he has been outrighted to Worcester, Bazardo joins an intriguing WooSox bullpen that includes others with major-league experience such as Taylor Cole, Tyler Danish, Michael Feliz, Geoff Hartlieb, Derek Holland, Kaleb Ort, and John Schreiber.

Considering that he has two minor-league option years remaining and does not turn 27 until September, it would not be all that surprising if Bazardo found his way back into the Red Sox’ bullpen mix at some point down the line.

(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: David Berding/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Eduard Bazardo for assignment: ‘It was a tough decision toward the end,’ Alex Cora says

The Red Sox made a surprising decision on Thursday when they elected to designate right-hander Eduard Bazardo for assignment. Boston needed to clear two 40-man roster spots in order to add Hansel Robles and Travis Shaw to the major-league roster. They did so by designating Bazardo and fellow righty Ralph Garza Jr.

While Garza Jr. has already been claimed off waivers by the Rays, Bazardo remains in limbo for the time being.

Originally signed out of Venezuela for just $8,000 in 2014, Bazardo rose to relevance in 2020 when he showed improved velocity on his fastball during fall instructs. The Sox added Bazardo to their 40-man roster that November in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Last season, Bazardo made his major-league debut in April but missed significant time on the 60-day injured list because of a right lat strain suffered with Triple-A Worcester in May.

The 26-year-old spent more time with Worcester than he did in Boston in 2021, but there was no reason to believe he could not compete for a spot in the Red Sox’ Opening Day bullpen this spring.

Instead, Bazardo appeared in just one Grapefruit League game before being optioned to Worcester on April 2. He did not appear in either of the WooSox’ first two games and wound up losing his spot on the 40-man roster five days after getting sent down.

When speaking with reporters at Yankee Stadium on Thursday afternoon, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was asked why Bazardo was designated for assignment. His response?

“That decision goes above me,” Cora said. “He was healthy and he pitched on the backfields. He only pitched in one game but everything went fine. Our roster is becoming harder and harder, especially the last two years. That’s a good problem to have, right? Because you have good pitchers, good players. It was a tough decision toward the end. There were a few guys that we talk about it.”

Now that he has been designated, the Sox have the next seven days to either trade, release, or place Bazardo on outright waivers. Given the fact he does not turn 27 until September and still has two minor-league option years remaining, it seems likely the 6-foot, 187 pound hurler could land elsewhere via a waiver claim.

With that being said, though, Cora is understandably hopeful that Bazardo will clear waivers and remain with the Red Sox organization as a non-40-man roster player.

“In a selfish way, hopefully he’s with us whenever the process ends,” said Cora. “If not, I know he’s a good one. He grew up a lot two years ago and he’s still developing. Let’s see how the process goes.”

(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox option Eduard Bazardo, Darwinzon Hernandez to Triple-A Worcester, inform Derek Holland he will not make Opening Day roster

Following Sunday’s 7-2 Grapefruit League loss to the Pirates at JetBlue Park, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves. First off, right-hander Eduard Bazardo and left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez were both optioned to Triple-A Worcester.

Secondly, right-hander Kaleb Ort, left-hander Derek Holland, outfielder Christin Stewart, and infielder Yolmer Sanchez were all reassigned to minor-league camp.

By cutting these six players from their major-league spring training roster, the Sox now have 34 players at big-league camp in Fort Myers. They will need to make six more cuts before Opening Day against the Yankees in the Bronx on Thursday.

It is undoubtedly surprising to see Hernandez not make Boston’s Opening Day roster, especially when considering the fact that fellow left-hander Josh Taylor is sidelined because of a back injury.

Hernandez, 25, is coming off a 2021 season in which he posted a 3.38 ERA and 4.80 FIP to go along with 54 strikeouts to 31 walks over 48 relief appearances spanning 40 innings of work. The Venezuelan-born southpaw had appeared in just two games this spring, with his most-recent outing coming on March 25.

Bazardo, on the other hand, debuted for the Red Sox last year and made just two appearances at the big-league level. With the Triple-A Worcester, the 26-year-old produced an 8.74 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 12:5 across 11 appearances and 11 1/3 innings pitched.

Though they will start the season with the WooSox, both Bazardo and Hernandez should figure into Boston’s bullpen plans at some point this year.

As for the six non-roster invitees who were reassigned to minor-league camp, Holland is the most notable since he has the most major-league experience as well as the ability to opt out of his deal.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora informed Holland, who inked a minors pact with Boston on March 18, on Saturday that he would not be making the Opening Day roster.

Holland, a veteran of 13 seasons, can now test the free agency waters again if he so chooses, though Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) that the 35-year-old lefty has not made a decision yet.

“We talked with Derek,” Cora said. “We were honest with him. He’s not going to make the team. So we’ll see where he’s at during the weekend. Obviously a lefty. Lefties with a heartbeat, they always have a chance. But no, no. Great impression. Good stuff yesterday. It’s just a matter of where we’re at roster-wise. Being selfish, hopefully he’s there Tuesday in Jacksonville, pitching for Worcester.”

The WooSox, as noted by Smith, open their season against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on Tuesday, April 5.

With this round of roster moves completed, the Sox currently have 28 40-man roster players and six non-roster invitees (Franchy Cordero, Tyler Danish, Rob Refsnyder, Hansel Robles, John Schreiber, and Travis Shaw) at camp.

As previously mentioned, Boston still needs to make six more subtractions between now and this coming Thursday. Additional cuts are expected in the coming days.

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Garrett Whitlock from 10-day injured list ahead of regular season finale against Nationals

Before closing out the regular season against the Nationals at Nationals Park on Sunday, the Red Sox activated right-hander Garrett Whitlock from the 10-day injured list.

In a corresponding move, fellow righty Eduard Bazardo was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon.

Whitlock returns from the injured list after initially being sidelined with a right pectoral strain that he sustained exactly two weeks ago Sunday in the seventh inning of an 8-6 win over the Orioles at Fenway Park.

While he was eligible to be activated as early as Thursday, the 25-year-old threw a bullpen session in D.C. on Friday, and that seemed to be the final hurdle he needed to get over before being cleared to return to action.

In 45 appearances out of the Boston bullpen this year, Whitlock has posted a dazzling 1.99 ERA and 2.89 FIP to go along with 79 strikeouts to just 17 walks over 72 1/3 innings pitched.

The Red Sox originally acquired Whitlock from the Yankees in the major-league phase of last winter’s Rule 5 Draft, and he has since proven to be one of — if not the best reliever on the team in his rookie season.

As Boston looks to ensure that they will be hosting the American League Wild Card game with a win over Washington on Sunday, Whitlock will be among those available out of the bullpen behind starter Chris Sale.

Nathan Eovaldi is the only pitcher who will not be available for the Sox on Sunday, as the veteran right-hander is in line to either start said Wild Card Game or a potential tie-breaking Game 163 if that’s what it comes down to.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Eduard Bazardo from 60-day injured list, option him to Triple-A Worcester

In addition to reinstating Hirokazu Sawamura from the COVID-19 related injured list and Austin Davis from the paternity leave list on Monday, the Red Sox also activated right-hander Eduard Bazardo from the 60-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A Worcester.

Bazardo, who turned 26 earlier this month, was originally placed on the 60-day injured list back in July, well after sustaining a right lat strain in an outing for Worcester on May 18.

While Bazardo was initially placed on the minor-league injured list at that time, he was later recalled from Worcester and “transferred” to the 60-day IL so the Red Sox could create an open spot on their 40-man roster.

As a result of him straining his right lat muscle, Bazardo was shut down for approximately three weeks before beginning a throwing program in mid-June and later being sent out on a rehab assignment with the Florida Complex League Red Sox on August 13.

After spending a little more than two weeks in Fort Myers, the 26-year-old righty had his rehab assignment transferred over to Worcester, where he has posted a 7.20 ERA and 8.56 FIP across four relief appearances (five innings pitched) leading up to Monday’s news.

Prior to getting shut down earlier this spring, Bazardo had appeared in two games for the Red Sox in two separate stints with the club after being added to the 40-man roster last November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

In his major-league debut, the Venezuelan-born righty served as the 27th man for a doubleheader against the Twins at Target Field on April 14. He worked a scoreless seventh inning of that contest while walking two and striking out one to preserve a 7-1 win for the Sox.

Fast forward to May 12, Bazardo made his Fenway Park debut against the Athletics while filling in for Nick Pivetta, who was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list that day due to side effects from the vaccine.

Working in relief of Eduardo Rodriguez, Bazardo retired six of the seven batters he faced over two scoreless frames of work, though he was sent back down to the WooSox the following day.

Listed at 6-foot and 190 pounds, Bazardo primarily relies on two pitches: a slider that has averaged 82.4 mph at the big-league level this season and a four-seam fastball that has averaged 93.8 mph at the big-league level this season, per Baseball Savant.

The Red Sox were able to activate Bazardo from the 60-day injured list — and add him back to the 40-man roster in doing so — without having to make a corresponding move on account of the nine players they currently have out on the COVID-related IL.

As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield, Bazardo’s 30-day rehab assignment period ended on Sunday, so he needed to be reinstated on Monday regardless of the circumstances.

(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Eduard Bazardo on 60-day injured list, opening up spot on 40-man roster

In addition to reinstating Christian Arroyo from the 10-day injured list and optioning Michael Chavis to Triple-A Worcester on Monday, the Red Sox also reinstated right-hander Eduard Bazardo from the minor-league IL, recalled him from Worcester, and placed him on the 60-day IL with a right lat strain.

By essentially transferring Bazardo from the minor-league injured list to the 60-day injured list, the Red Sox have opened up a spot on their 40-man roster, which now sits at 39 “active” players.

Bazardo initially sustained that right lat strain back on May 18 in an outing for the WooSox and was later placed on the minor-league IL on May 24 because of it.

While the injury did require him to be shut down for approximately three weeks, the 25-year-old was able to begin a throwing program in mid-June.

Prior to being shut down, Bazardo had made two appearances across two separate stints with the Red Sox while appearing in four games with the WooSox this season.

The 6-foot, 190 pound hurler made his major-league debut for Boston on April 14 and worked a scoreless inning of relief against the Twins in Minneapolis before again being called upon on May 14, when he tossed two shutout frames against the Athletics at Fenway Park.

In those four outings with Worcester, Bazardo posted a 13.50 ERA by allowing four runs on five hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over 2 2/3 total innings of work.

When he was healthy, the Venezuelan-born righty was unquestionably viewed as one of, if not the top relief option at the Triple-A level after he was added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November.

At the moment, there does not appear to be a timetable for when Bazardo could make his return to the mound, but he will at least be able to accrue major-league service time while on the 60-day IL in the interim.

As for how the Red Sox will fill that spot on the 40-man roster temporarily left vacant by Bazardo, that should be something worth monitoring in the coming days.

(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Eduard Bazardo dealing with right lat strain; Boston is ‘still working to determine the severity of the injury,’ per report

After being removed from his outing with Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday night, Red Sox pitching prospect Eduard Bazardo has been diagnosed with a right lat (latissimus dorsi) strain, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Bazardo was deployed for the ninth inning of the WooSox’ eventual 9-4 win over the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park. But he had to come out after throwing just five pitches (two strikes) to Dilson Herrera.

On his fifth and final pitch — a fastball to the backstop — the right-hander could be seen grabbing his elbow before calling for Worcester’s training staff to come out from the dugout.

The reason Bazardo was pulled from Tuesday’s contest was initially labeled as “an apparent arm injury,” but– as previously mentioned — has since been ruled a right lat strain.

Per Speier, “the Red Sox [are] still working to determine the severity of the injury.”

Bazardo, 25, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 27 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking 12th among pitchers in the organization.

Added to the Sox’ 40-man roster last November after a strong showing in fall instructs, the Venezuelan hurler has made two major-league relief appearances in two separate stints with the club so far this season.

In those two outings (the first of which came on April 14, the second of which came on May 12), Bazardo tossed three scoreless innings while yielding just one hit and two walks to go along with three strikeouts.

Primarily working with a two-pitch mix that consists of a slider and four-seam fastball combination, the 6-foot, 190 pound righty also owns an ERA of 13.50 in four appearances (2 2/3 innings pitched) with the WooSox in 2021.

As noted by Speier, Bazardo is one of three Worcester relievers currently on Boston’s 40-man roster alongside right-handers Brandon Brennan and Colten Brewer.

Because of their ability to shuttle him between Triple-A and the majors with ease — as they have already done twice this year — the Red Sox clearly view Bazardo as a valuable bullpen depth option at the minor-league level.

(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Nick Pivetta from COVID-19 related injured list, option Eduard Bazardo to Triple-A Worcester

Before wrapping up their three-game series against the Athletics on Thursday night, the Red Sox reinstated right-hander Nick Pivetta from the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever Eduard Bazardo was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Thursday.

Pivetta was originally placed on the COVID-related IL on Wednesday due to side effects from the second COVID-19 vaccination, so his stay on the injured list turned out to be a short one.

“As you guys know, this is kind of like how people react to the shot,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Pivetta before Thursday’s game. “And he’s feeling better. He’s feeling better. So the hope, obviously, is for him to start tomorrow.”

Through seven starts this season, Pivetta has proven to be one of Boston’s most consistent starters, posting a 3.19 ERA and 3.78 FIP to go along with 35 strikeouts over his first 36 2/3 innings pitched.

As Cora said, the 28-year-old is slated to make his eighth start of the year against the Angels at Fenway Park on Friday night, and that now appears to be official.

Bazardo, meanwhile, heads back down to Triple-A Worcester less than 24 hours after being called up for his second major-league stint of the season.

After making his big-league debut in Minnesota last month, the 25-year-old hurler made his Fenway Park debut in Wednesday’s game against the A’s.

Working the seventh and eighth innings of an eventual 4-1 loss for Boston, Bazardo tossed two scoreless frames of relief while striking out a pair in the process of retiring six of the seven hitters he faced.

Bazardo, who does not turn 26 until September, is currently regarded by MLB Pipeline as the No. 27 prospect in the Sox’ farm system.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)