Red Sox’ Alex Verdugo removed from Saturday’s game after experiencing flu-like symptoms

Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo was removed in the first inning of Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Mariners because he was experiencing flu-like symptoms, manager Alex Cora announced.

As relayed by The Eagle-Tribune’s Mac Cerullo, the Sox are hopeful that it is nothing COVID-related, but are currently going through protocol to ensure all the necessary steps are taken.

Verdugo batted fifth and started in left field for Boston on Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. After a drawing a four-pitch walk off Seattle starter Chris Flexen in the bottom of the first, the 26-year-old was greeted by Cora upon reaching first base. He remained in the game through the end of the inning, but was taken out in the top half of the second.

Bobby Dalbec then took Verdugo’s spot in the Sox’ lineup while Franchy Cordero moved from first base to left field. Dalbec went 1-for-2 off the bench with an RBI (the 100th of his career) and a walk. Cordero, batting out of the seven-hole, went 1-for-4 with a 110.5 mph triple in addition to scoring the game-winning run in the eighth inning.

Including Saturday’s lone trip to the plate, Verdugo is now slashing .214/.255/.321 with six doubles, three home runs, 16 RBIs, 13 runs scored, nine walks, and 16 strikeouts across 38 games (153 plate appearances) this season.

At present, it is unclear if Verdugo will be able to suit up for Sunday’s series finale against the Mariners. The Red Sox are likely to know more about his status later Saturday night and will presumably go from there.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers homers twice as Red Sox erase 5-run deficit and come from behind to beat Mariners, 6-5

The Red Sox once again fell behind early against the Mariners on Saturday but battled their way back at Fenway Park. Boston defeated Seattle by a final score of 6-5 to win their fourth straight game and third consecutive series while improving to 18-22 on the season.

Before the Sox could even take their first at-bats of the afternoon, they already found themselves trailing by four runs. Garrett Whitlock, making his sixth start of the year, allowed the Mariners to score four times in the top half of the first inning.

After getting through a scoreless second inning, the right-hander ran into more trouble in the third by giving up back-to-back two-out hits to Mike Ford and Luis Torrens, which resulted in another Seattle run crossing the plate.

The third would prove to be Whitlock’s final inning of work, as he wound up surrendering a season-high five earned runs on 10 hits, no walks, and three strikeouts on 71 pitches (48 strikes). The 25-year-old’s ERA now sits at 3.58.

To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had yet to do anything of significance against opposing starter Chris Flexen. That changed in the bottom half of the third though, as Rafael Devers got his productive day at the plate started by crushing a 413-foot solo shot into the bleachers to get his side on the board and make it a 5-1 ballgame.

Fast forward to the fifth, after Tyler Danish had hurled two scoreless frames out of the Sox bullpen, and Devers struck again. Following a leadoff double from Enrique Hernandez, the left-handed slugger took Flexen 386 feet over the Green Monster for his second big fly of the game and ninth of the season.

Devers’ two-run blast, which had an exit velocity of 102.1 mph, cut the deficit down to two runs at 5-3. But the Red Sox were not done there. A J.D. Martinez double and Xander Bogaerts single chased Flexen from the contest and put runners on the corners for Bobby Dalbec, who greeted new Mariners reliever Sergio Romo by lifting an RBI single to center field to drive in Martinez and move Bogaerts up to third. Trevor Story followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Bogaerts to tie things up at five runs apiece.

From there, Jake Diekman punched out the side in the sixth, Hansel Robles worked his way around a two-out double in the seventh, and John Schreiber retired the only three batters he faced in the top of the eighth to keep the 5-5 tie intact.

With one out in the bottom half of the eighth, Franchy Cordero laced a 110.5 mph triple off the Green Monster to put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position for Christian Vazquez, who came through with the game-winning single off Drew Steckenrider that plated Cordero and gave the Sox a 6-5 lead.

Looking to protect that lead, Red Sox manager Alex Cora called upon Matt Barnes to take the mound in the ninth inning. Barnes, in turn, needed just 15 pitches (and a little defensive help from Hernandez) to slam the door shut on the Mariners and notch his second save of the season.

All told, five Boston relievers (Danish, Diekman, Robles, Schreiber, and Barnes) combined to toss six shutout innings in relief of Whitlock on Saturday. The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, went 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position while putting together their largest comeback win of the season thus far.

Next up: Gilbert vs. Eovaldi in series finale

The Red Sox will look to close out the weekend with a four-game sweep over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. Veteran right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston opposite fellow righty Logan Gilbert for Seattle.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez both homer to extend hitting streaks as Red Sox score season-high 11 runs for second straight win over Rangers

For the second time this season, the Red Sox have won two consecutive games. For the second time this season, the Red Sox have won a series. Their first series victory came against the Twins nearly a month ago. Their second series victory came against the Rangers on Saturday.

Boston defeated Texas by a final score of 11-3 at Globe Life Field to improve to 13-20 on the season.

As was the case on Friday, the Sox lineup got off to a quick start while opposed by Rangers starter Glenn Otto. Beginning right away in the first inning, J.D. Martinez clubbed a solo home run 404 feet to left-center field to extend his hitting streak to 15 games and give his side an early 1-0 lead.

In the top half of the second, Franchy Cordero ignited a four-run rally by drawing a leadoff walk off Otto. Christian Vazquez moved Cordero up to second base and Bobby Dalbec drove him in on an RBI single. After Jackie Bradley Jr. dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt, Enrique Hernandez plated Vazquez on a sacrifice fly.

With two outs and one runner on, Rafael Devers crushed a 1-2, 89 mph changeup from Otto off the left field foul pole for a two-run blast. Devers’ sixth homer of the year had an exit velocity of 101.7 mph and put the Red Sox up 5-1.

Fast forward to the fourth, Dalbec led things off with a line-drive double, moved up to third on a single from Bradley Jr., and scored from third when Hernandez beat out a double play.

An inning later, Cordero finally knocked Otto out of the game by knocking in Trevor Story on an RBI single. Vazquez then greeted new Rangers reliever Josh Sborz by absolutely drilling a 100.2 mph run-scoring double off the wall in right-center field. Vazquez once again came into score on another RBI double off the bat of Hernandez, which gave the Red Sox a commanding 9-1 lead.

On the other side of things, Boston received their second strong starting pitching performance in as many days. After Nick Pivetta dominated on Friday, Rich Hill impressed in his sixth start of the season and first since returning from the COVID-19 related injured list earlier Saturday afternoon.

Over a season-high six-plus innings of work, the veteran left-hander allowed three runs — two of which were earned — on seven hits and no walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

After a Story fielding error and two stolen bases cost him one unearned run in the bottom of the first, Hill settled in by retiring 15 of the next 18 batters he faced from the middle of the second inning through the end of the sixth. He came back out for the seventh but was unable to record an out and instead surrendered three straight hits — including a two-run double from Kole Calhoun — before getting the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (64 strikes), which is also a season high, Hill induced a total of 11 swings-and-misses while throwing 38 curveballs, 31 four-seam fastballs, 16 sliders, and nine changeups. The 42-year-old southpaw actually saw his ERA on the year rise to 2.89.

In relief of Hill, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Boston bullpen from Cora and proceeded to strand the only runner he inherited by getting through the rest of the seventh unscathed.

On the heels of that sequence, the Sox got one of those runs back in their half of the eighth when Bogaerts drove in Devers from third on a sacrifice fly to center field.

Matt Barnes then took over for Sawamura in the bottom of the eighth and retired the side in order. In the ninth, after Bradley Jr. brought in Cordero with an infield single, Jake Diekman slammed the door on the Rangers to preserve the 11-3 victory.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox scored a season-high 11 runs on Saturday while going 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Franchy Cordero, starting in place of Alex Verdugo in left field, went 2-for-4 with one walk, one RBI and two runs scored. He put the ball into play four times with exit velocities of 107.6 mph, 111.4 mph, 100.4 mph, and 101.6 mph.

The bottom-third of the Red Sox lineup (Vazquez, Dalbec, Bradley Jr.) went a combined 6-for-14 with one double, three RBIs, and four runs scored.

Next up: Bullpen game on tap

The Red Sox will go for the three-game sweep of the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Austin Davis will serve as the opener and make his first career start for Boston. Texas will roll with an old friend in fellow left-hander Martin Perez.

First pitch from Globe Life Field is scheduled for 2:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo out of Red Sox’ lineup one night after suffering right foot contusion

Alex Verdugo is not in the Red Sox lineup on Saturday after taking a foul ball of his right foot in Friday’s 7-1 win over the Rangers at Globe Field.

It happened in the sixth inning against Rangers starter Dane Dunning. Verdugo was able to remain in the game and even laced an RBI double in the same at-bat. He was, however, seen limping after getting to second base and was pinch-hit for by Bobby Dalbec an inning later.

Ultimately diagnosed with a right foot contusion, Verdugo’s X-Rays came back negative. The left-handed hitting 25-year-old was hopeful he would be able to play on Saturday, but that is obviously no longer the case.

“He was trying to move around but obviously he doesn’t feel great,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Saturday afternoon. “So we have to be smart about it.”

Verdugo, who actually turns 26 on Sunday, is currently batting .219/.262/.342 with five doubles, three home runs, 15 RBIs, nine runs scored, eight walks, and 15 strikeouts over 31 games spanning 126 plate appearances this season.

With Verdugo out of Boston’s lineup, Franchy Cordero will get the start in left field while batting out of the eight-hole on Saturday.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Travis Shaw elects free agency after Red Sox outright him off 40-man roster

Three days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox outrighted veteran infielder Travis Shaw for assignment on Sunday. Shaw, however, rejected the assignment and elected free agency instead.

After being claimed off waivers by the Red Sox from the Brewers last August, Shaw enjoyed a resurgence in his second stint with Boston in 2021. The left-handed hitter batted .238/.319/.524 with three doubles, three home runs, 11 RBIs, and six runs scored over 28 games while also making the team’s Wild Card Game, Division Series, and Championship Series rosters in October.

On the other side of the lockout, Shaw inked a minor-league deal to remain with the Red Sox in March. While the 32-year-old did not perform particularly well in spring training, he still made Boston’s Opening Day roster as a left-handed bench bat who could platoon with Bobby Dalbec at first base.

That said, Shaw’s spring struggled carried over into the early stages of the regular season as he started out 0-for-19 at the plate with seven strikeouts. With Dalbec experiencing his fair share of offensive struggles as well, the Sox opted to remove Shaw from the 40-man roster so that they could call up Franchy Cordero in his place.

Now that he has cleared waivers and has become a free agent, Shaw is free to sign wherever he may choose. The Ohio native was originally selected by Boston in the ninth round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Kent State University and has 114 career home runs across 733 games between the Red Sox (2015-2016, 2021-2022), Brewers (2017-2019, 2021) and Blue Jays (2020). It will certainly be interesting to see if he can land with another team.

(Picture of Travis Shaw: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Christian Arroyo homers, Rich Hill takes perfect game into fifth inning as Red Sox hold on for 3-1 win over Orioles

The Red Sox kicked off the final leg of their road trip with a 3-1 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Friday night. With the win, Boston improved to 9-12 on the season.

Matched up against Kyle Bradish, who was making the first start of his big-league career for the O’s, to begin things on Friday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the second inning.

Enrique Hernandez led off the top of the second with a single to shallow center field. After Franchy Cordero flew out, Christian Arroyo followed by clubbing a 408-foot two-run homer into Baltimore’s bullpen.

Arroyo’s first home run of the season gave Boston an early 2-0 lead. It was also the first home run hit by a Red Sox batter since Rafael Devers went deep off Corey Kluber in St. Petersburg last Friday.

Jackie Bradley Jr. kept the rally going by reaching base on an infield single. He then scored all the way from first when Christian Vazquez ripped a single to right field that got past Trey Mancini and rolled all the way to the wall. Vazquez was easily thrown out at third, but the damage had already been done.

Rich Hill, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, took full advantage of the three-run cushion he was given. The veteran left-hander allowed just one hit and no walks to go along with four strikeouts over four-plus innings of work.

After retiring each of the first 12 batters he faced, Hill took a perfect game bid into the fifth inning but yielded a leadoff single to Austin Hays, which is how his night would come to an end. Finishing with a final pitch count of 50 (35 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw threw 24 curveballs, 20 four-seamers, four sliders, and two changeups while lowering his ERA on the season to 3.71.

In relief of Hill, Tanner Houck got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the bullpen. Houck, fresh off being activated from the injured list, stranded the lone base runner he inherited in the fifth despite allowing one hit and one walk in the inning. The right-hander sat down the side in order in the sixth but ran into additional trouble in the seventh when he loaded the bases with two outs.

Houck did not falter, though, as he punched out the pinch-hitting Rougned on three straight strikes to escape the jam and hand things over to Jake Diekman in the eighth. Diekman, in turn, needed 17 pitches to toss a scoreless frame.

Hansel Robles was dispatched for the ninth and immediately served up a solo home run to Ryan Mountcastle that was followed by a line-drive single off the bat of Hays.

With the tying run at the plate, Robles issued a balk that allowed Hays to advance to second. He then got Ramon Urias to fly out and Tyler Nevin to line out to right for the first two outs.

Cora went back into the bullpen and gave Robles the hook in favor of Matt Strahm, who walked Anthony Santander on five pitches to put the tying run on base with runners at first and second. The lefty, however, did not give in as he fanned the pinch-hitting Chris Owings to slam the door on Baltimore and earn the first save of his major-league career.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Watkins

The Red Sox will go for the series win over the Orioles by sending right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound on Saturday night. Fellow righty Spenser Watkins will get the ball for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck from restricted list, add Franchy Cordero and Jaylin Davis from Triple-A Worcester in slew of roster moves

Before opening up a three-game weekend series against the Orioles at Camden Yards on Friday night, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, right-handers Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck were both activated from the restricted list. Secondly, outfielder Jaylin Davis was recalled from Triple-A Worcester and fellow outfielder Franchy Cordero had his contract selected from Worcester.

In order to make room for these four on the major-league roster, right-handers Tyler Danish and John Schreiber were sent down to Triple-A Worcester while infielder Travis Shaw was designated for assignment, the club announced.

Crawford and Houck return from the restricted list after both were placed on it this past Monday. Neither pitcher was eligible to pitch in the Sox’ last series against the Blue Jays in Toronto due to their unvaccinated status. Houck will piggyback Rich Hill, who will be making his fourth start of the season for Boston on Friday.

Davis, who was claimed off waivers from the Giants and immediately optioned to Worcester on Thursday, will join the Red Sox for his first big-league stint of 2022. The right-handed hitting 27-year-old began the season with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento and batted .295/.340/.500 with two home runs and seven RBIs over 10 games spanning 47 plate appearances. He will wear the No. 43 with his new team.

Joining Davis from Worcester is Cordero, who appeared in 48 games with the Sox last season but was designated for assignment in October. After remaining in the organization through the winter, the 27-year-old opened the 2022 season with the WooSox and has since slashed .296/.378/.535 with eight doubles, three home runs, 24 RBIs, 13 runs scored, one stolen base, 10 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 19 games (82 plate appearances) at the Triple-A level. He will start at first base and bat sixth for Boston in Friday’s series opener against Baltimore.

Danish and Schreiber were both added from Worcester when Crawford and Houck were placed on the restricted list earlier this week. Danish has made four appearances with the Red Sox so far this season and has posted a 3.86 ERA with six strikeouts to two walks over 4 2/3 total innings of work. Schreiber, on the other hand, pitched on both Wednesday and Thursday. The 28-year-old righty retired seven of the eight batters he faced across 2 1/3 scoreless frames.

Refsnyder, meanwhile, was first called up from Worcester after catcher Christian Vazquez and infielder Jonathan Arauz were placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on April 19. The 31-year-old made his Red Sox debut four days later and went 2-for-5 (.400) with two doubles, one RBI, and one walk in the three games he appeared in.

Since they were COVID substitutes, both Refsnyder and Schreiber were taken off the Sox’ 40-man roster and returned to the WooSox without having to be exposed to waivers.

As for Shaw, the veteran infielder effectively lost his spot on the major-league roster to Cordero after an 0-for-19 start to the plate this season. The Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Shaw.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Travis Shaw for assignment, call up Franchy Cordero from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have designated corner infielder Travis Shaw for assignment, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo. In Shaw’s place, first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero is expected to be called up from Triple-A Worcester.

Shaw, who turned 32 earlier this month, signed a minor-league deal with Boston during spring training after spending the latter half of the 2021 campaign with the club. The left-handed hitter made the Sox’ Opening Day roster but got off to a dreadful start in which he went 0-for-19 at the plate with seven strikeouts over seven games.

Between Shaw and Bobby Dalbec, Red Sox first baseman have struggled to the tune of a .357 OPS so far this season, which ranks dead last in the major-leagues.

Although Cordero is a natural outfielder, the 27-year-old began making the transition to first base last year and made back-to-back starts at the position for the WooSox this week ahead of his impending promotion.

Cordero lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster back in October but will now fill the void left behind by Shaw, who will either be traded, waived, or released by the Sox within the next seven days.

With Worcester this season, Cordero has batted a stout .296/.378/.535 with eight doubles, three home runs, 24 RBIs, 13 runs scored, one stolen base, 10 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 19 games spanning 82 trips to the plate. Last year, the left-handed slugger appeared in 48 games for Boston and mustered just a .497 OPS with one homer and 51 strikeouts across 136 plate appearances.

In addition to swapping Cordero for Shaw, the Red Sox have other moves to make ahead of Friday’s series opener against the Orioles as well. Right-handers Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck both need to be activated from the restricted list and it is not yet clear which two players will be sent down to make room for them.

(Picture of Travis Shaw: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Franchy Cordero off to hot start in Dominican Winter League

Red Sox outfielder Franchy Cordero has gotten off to a fast start in the Dominican Winter League.

Cordero was added to Leones del Escogido’s roster on November 9 and made his 2021 Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana debut over the weekend.

After homering in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Aguilas Cibaenas, Cordero went 1-for-3 with a single, two runs scored, one walk, and one strikeout in a 3-1 win over Toros del Este at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal in Santo Domingo on Saturday evening.

By putting together that performance at the plate while batting second and serving as Leones’ designated hitter, Cordero is now slashing .364/.417/.636 with one home run, three RBIs, four runs scored, one walk, and two strikeouts through his first three games (12 plate appearances) of the LIDOM campaign.

Cordero, who turned 27 in September, was one of five players the Red Sox acquired in the three-team trade that sent fellow outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Royals this past February.

While he made Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, the left-handed hitter struggled to the tune of a .179/.228/.274 slash line to go along with six doubles, one home run, nine RBIs, nine runs scored, one stolen base, six walks, and 37 strikeouts in 34 games (102 plate appearances) before being optioned to Triple-A Worcester for the first time in late May.

From that point forward, Cordero appeared in just 14 additional games for the Red Sox through the end of the regular season. With the WooSox, however, the 6-foot-3, 226 pounder did bat .300/.398/.533 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs over 78 games.

Despite that success at the Triple-A level, Cordero lost his spot on the Sox’ 40-man roster when the club designated him for assignment in the middle of the American League Championship Series on October 21.

Four days later, Cordero cleared waivers and — under normal circumstances — would have been able to elect free agency since he had already accrued more than three years of major-league service time. He did not elect free agency, however, and was instead outrighted to Worcester.

On that same day, Oct. 25, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reported that Cordero actually signed a one-year, $825,000 contract with Boston for next season before getting designated, meaning the Red Sox still control his rights as of now.

Assuming he is not added back to Boston’s 40-man roster by the upcoming Nov. 19 deadline, Cordero would technically be eligible for next month’s Rule 5 Draft, per SoxProspects.com’s Rule 5 eligibility page.

If he still remains with the Red Sox in the wake of the Rule 5 Draft, Cordero would presumably be in line to receive an invite to big-league spring training come February.

In the meantime, Cordero — who hails from Azua — will continue playing in the Dominican Winter League this fall and winter. 2021 marks the fifth consecutive year in which he has suited up for Leones.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana)

Red Sox outright Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Worcester after outfielder clears waivers

Four days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox outrighted outfielder Franchy Cordero to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Monday afternoon.

Cordero had been designated for assignment last week so that the Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster for right-handed reliever Phillips Valdez, who was activated from the COVID-19 related injured list.

Since he has more than three years of big-league service time, Cordero could have opted to become a free agent upon getting designated. However, as Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports, the 27-year-old actually signed a one-year, $825,000 deal for the 2022 season with Boston before being designated, meaning the team still controls his rights.

Cordero, who turned 27 last month, was one of five players the Red Sox acquired from either the Mets or Royals as part of the three-team trade that sent fellow outfielder Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City back in February. The other four players were right-handed pitching prospects Josh Winckowski, Grant Gambrell, and Luis De La Rosa and outfield prospect Freddy Valdez.

After making Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, the left-handed hitter out of the Dominican Republic got his 2021 campaign off to a sluggish start. He hit just 179/.228/.274 with six doubles, one home run, nine RBI, nine runs scored, one stolen base, six walks, and 37 strikeouts through his first 34 games (102 plate appearances) before getting optioned to Worcester for the first time on May 27.

From that point forward, Cordero did enjoy some success at the Triple-A level with the WooSox and even learned a new position at first base, but he appeared in a total of 14 games with the Red Sox the rest of the way while spending the majority of September in Worcester.

It appeared as though the Sox had given up on Cordero when they removed him from their 40-man roster. But, as noted by Cotillo, “it’s fair to assume the club designated him for assignment knowing there was a good chance they would be able to retain him” on account of the contract they had just signed him to.

Having said that, Cordero will likely partake in major-league spring training as a non-roster invitee once the Red Sox begin camp this coming February.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)