Red Sox prospect Nick Yorke makes fantastic diving catch down right field line

Upon Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s request, Nick Yorke made his first start of the spring in Thursday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Pirates at LECOM Park.

Yorke made the trip from Fort Myers to Bradenton as a minor-league extra after making his spring debut as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s 6-2 loss to the Orioles in Sarasota. He did not receive an at-bat in that game.

“I wanted to see him today,” Cora said of Yorke when speaking with reporters (including’s Christopher Smith) before first pitch on Thursday. “I don’t usually request players. I haven’t seen him in a while. He was there the other day, I was like, ‘Hey, bring him over here.'”

Serving as Boston’s starting second baseman and No. 9 hitter, Yorke put his athleticism on full display with one out in the bottom of the third inning. With Bryan Reynolds already at first base, Red Sox starter Josh Winckowski got Carlos Santana to lift a 213-foot flyball to right field.

Since right fielder Daniel Palka was well out of range, Yorke turned on the jets and covered 85 feet in a matter of seconds before sprawling out and making a fantastic diving catch to rob Santana of a base hit. He then quickly gathered himself and made an accurate throw to Triston Casas from his knees to double off Reynolds — who was off on contact — at first base.

“It was just a little popup over my head,” Yorke said (via’s Ian Browne) following Boston’s 7-4 win over Pittsburgh. “I saw Palka was out deep so it was either going to drop or I was going to catch it — so I went out and caught it. There was a runner on first and he was gone. It was going to drop or I’m going to lay out for it. Once I laid out for it, I reached out and I thought I had a chance on it and it found the mitt.”

In addition to making that diving grab, Yorke went 1-for-3 with a fifth-inning single before being replaced at second base by Eddinson Paulino in the middle of the seventh.

The Red Sox originally selected Yorke with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft out of Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif. The soon-to-be 21-year-old infielder is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

After being named the organization’s minor-league offensive player of the year in 2021, Yorke took a step back at the plate last season. The right-handed hitter batted just .232/.3o3/.365 with 10 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 45 RBIs, 48 runs scored, eight stolen bases, 33 walks, and 94 strikeouts in 80 games (373 plate appearances) for High-A Greenville. He was also sidelined by turf toe in late May, back stiffness in June, and left wrist soreness in July.

Despite those struggles, Yorke did enjoy some success in the Arizona Fall League to close out the year. He slashed .342/.424/.526 with eight doubles, two homers, and 18 RBIs in 19 games (92 plate appearances) with the Scottsdale Scorpions and earned AFL All-Star honors for his efforts.

“Some people are down on him. Not me,” said Cora. “He’s very calm at the plate. He swings at the right pitches. Obviously, he’s working on a few things timing-wise. He’s a good player. You guys know how I feel about first-rounders. You have to be a really good player, and he’s a good hitter.

“He controls the zone, and we like him a lot,” Cora added. “I think physically he’s in a good spot. I’ve talked to him a few times. Mentally, he’s in a great place. Now it’s just a matter of other things that he does.”

That Cora specifically asked the Red Sox player development staff to have a minor-leaguer such as Yorke travel with the rest of the team for Thursday’s game is a rare occurrence. Yorke himself was gracious for the opportunity.

“It means a lot,” he said. “I’ve said it in previous interviews: My goal is to the second baseman for the Boston Red Sox. And so when the head coach asks you to be here, that means a lot.”

Yorke is expected to make the jump to Double-A Portland for the start of the 2023 minor-league season next month. While he has been known more for his hitting abilities than his defensive prowess, the 6-foot, 200-pounder is out to prove he can pick it at second base as well.

“No one can just hit in the big-leagues,” said Yorke. “You have to have some sort of contribution on defense as well. So shoutout to our infield coordinator Darren Fenster, he’s helped me out a lot over the past two and a half years.”

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Bobby Dalbec, Ronaldo Hernández, and Jorge Alfaro all hit two-run homers as Red Sox hold on for 7-4 win over Pirates

The Red Sox put an end to their three-game losing streak with a win over the Pirates in Bradenton on Thursday afternoon. Boston defeated Pittsburgh by a final score of 7-4 at LECOM Park to improve to 13-10-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Right out of the gate, Bobby Dalbec provided the Sox with an early two-run lead in the top of the first inning. Following a one-out double from Triston Casas, Dalbec took 1-2, 84 mph curveball from Pirates opener Duane Underwood Jr. and deposited it 409 feet to deep left field for his second home run of the spring.

Dalbec’s blast gave Josh Winckowski a two-run cushion to work with ahead of his third start and fourth overall appearance of the spring. The right-hander pitched well on Thursday, allowing just two earned runs on five hits and no walks to go along with two strikeouts over four innings of work.

Both of those Pirates runs came in the latter half of the second inning. After giving up a one-out single to Ke’Bryan Hayes, Winckowski yielded an RBI double to Canaan Smith-Njigba that Hayes scored all the way from first base on. Smith-Njigba was then driven in on a then-game-tying RBI single from Ji Hwan Bae. Jarren Duran fielded Bae’s single cleanly in center field and made an accurate throw towards home plate, but catcher Jorge Alfaro was unable to land a tag on Smith-Njigba.

Despite getting relatively hit hard in the second, Winckowski settled in retired six of the final seven batters he faced. He received some significant defensive help from second baseman Nick Yorke, who hustled out to right field to rob Carlos Santana of a base hit and then, from his knees, made a strong throw to first base to double up Bryan Reynolds for the final two outs of the third.

Winckowski made quick work of the Pirates in the fourth to end his day on a strong note. The 24-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 55 (39 strikes). He induced two swings-and-misses while mixing in a slider, sinker, cutter, changeup, and four-seam fastball, per Baseball Savant.

Shortly after Winckowski recorded the final out of the fourth, the Red Sox struck again in the fifth. This time, former Pirates outfielder Greg Allen reached base on a one-out double off Johan Oviedo before Ronaldo Hernandez crushed another two-run homer to left field, making it a 4-2 game in favor of Boston.

Following a scoreless bottom of the fifth from Richard Bleier, Daniel Palka drew a leadoff walk off Chase De Jong to begin things in the sixth. Jorge Alfaro then unloaded on a 2-2, 83 mph slider from De Jong and sent it 408 feet into the left field seats. Alfaro’s second big fly of the spring left his bat at a blistering 105.1 mph. It also gave the Red Sox a 6-2 lead.

From there, Ryan Brasier and Ryan Sherriff combined for two more shutout frames out of the Boston bullpen. In the top of the eighth, Allen picked up an RBI by driving in Caleb Hamilton on a sacrifice fly to center field. The Pirates responded by tagging Luis Guerrero for two runs in their half of the inning. Both of those runs came on a two-run shot from Rodolfo Castro to cut the deficit to three.

Taking a 7-4 edge into the ninth, Joe Jacques worked his way around a walk and hit batsman by striking out the side to simultaneously notch the save and secure a win for the Red Sox.

Casas doubles twice in return:

After missing the last two games with a swollen left pinky, Triston Casas went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored out of the two-hole on Thursday. The two doubles left his bat at 107.8 mph and 80.1 mph, respectively.

Next up: Pivetta makes final start of spring

The Red Sox will return to Fort Myers on Friday night to host the Braves. Right-hander Nick Pivetta will make his final start of the spring for Boston opposite Atlanta left-hander Dylan Dodd.

First pitch from JetBlue Park is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Wyatt Mills shut down with flexor issue, likely to start season on injured list

Red Sox reliever Wyatt Mills has been shut down with a flexor issue and is likely to start the season on the injured list, manager Alex Cora said Thursday.

“He’s banged up,” Cora told reporters (including’s Christopher Smith) in Fort Myers. “There’s a good chance he’s going to start the season on the IL.”

According to’s Chris Cotillo, Mills has been diagnosed with elbow inflammation in his right flexor muscle. It does not look like anything major but Mills has still been shut down from throwing in the meantime.

Mills has not seen any Grapefruit League action since March 13, when he surrendered four runs on four hits, one walk, and two hit batsman in the sixth inning of a 16-3 loss to the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Prior to that outing, though, the right-hander pitched relatively well, allowing just one run on three hits, four walks, and 10 strikeouts over four appearances spanning five innings of work.

The Red Sox acquired Mills from the Royals in exchange for relief prospect Jacob Wallace back in December. The 28-year-old sidearmer is coming off a 2022 season in which he posted a 4.60 ERA (3.62 FIP) with 26 strikeouts to 13 walks in 27 outings (29 1/3 innings) between Seattle and Kansas City.

As noted by Smith, Boston was optimistic that Mills could replicate the same sort of success fellow reliever John Schreiber enjoyed last year. That being the case because, like Schreiber, the 6-foot-4, 214-pound Mills throws from the same angle and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a sinker.

“The stuff, the uniqueness, the slot is different,” Cora said of Mills. ““And actually the four-seamer is good. When he used it a lot in games, he got some swings-and-misses on top of the zone. A little bit inconsistent control-wise, command-wise. But you can see it, like that uniqueness of throwing from there. And the action of his pitches is very good.”

Mills, who has one minor-league option remaining, becomes the latest Red Sox pitcher to be bitten by the injury bug this spring. The righty joins Brayan Bello, James Paxton, Joely Rodriguez, and Garrett Whitlock as Boston hurlers who are expected to be placed on the injured list before Opening Day.

Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with a Grade 2 right oblique strain on Monday after injuring his right side over the weekend, may be able to avoid the 60-day injured list, per Cora.

(Picture of Wyatt Mills: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Tanner Houck surrenders 8 runs as Red Sox get shut out by Twins, 11-0

The Red Sox were shut out by the Twins on Wednesday night for their third straight loss. Boston fell to Minnesota by a final score of 11-0 at JetBlue Park to drop to 12-10-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Tanner Houck, making his fifth start of the spring, endured his fair share of struggles. The right-hander got rocked for eight runs (all earned) on 10 hits, zero walks, and three hit batsman to go along with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Surprisingly, Houck looked sharp out of the gate. He quickly retired the first two batters he faced in the first inning, but then gave up a solo home run to Trevor Larnach. Houck allowed the next three Twins hitters he faced to reach base on a single and two HBPs before yielding a bases-clearing, three-run double to Michael A. Taylor to give Minnesota an early 4-0 lead.

Having already thrown 29 pitches to that point, Houck was temporarily removed from the game so that Chase Shugart could record the final out of the first. He then came back out for the second and sat down the side in order before putting up another zero in the third. The fourth inning, though, is where things started to get away.

Again, Houck quickly recorded the first two outs of the frame before giving up a two-out single to Joey Gallo. Jose Miranda then crushed a two-run homer over the faux Green Monster. After Larnach reached on a two-out single of his own, Houck served up another two-run shot to Kyle Farmer to put the Twins up, 8-0.

If there was any consolation for Houck, it would be that he retired three of the last four batters he faced through the middle of the fifth. Still, it was a discouraging outing for the 26-year-old, who finished with 89 pitches and now owns an ERA of 8.31 across 17 1/3 innings this spring. He will make one more Grapefruit League start before taking the ball against the Orioles at Fenway Park on April 2.

In relief of Houck, Chris Martin received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora and got tagged for two runs on three hits (all doubles) in the sixth. He also struck out three batters. Kaleb Ort then worked his way around a two-out walk in a scoreless seventh inning before giving up a leadoff single to DaShawn Keirsey Jr. and a one-out RBI double to Mikey Perez in the eighth.

Following a 1-2-3 top of the ninth from Ryan Miller, the Red Sox were suddenly down to their final three outs and staring an 11-run deficit in the face. To that point, the Boston bats had been completely held in check by Joe Ryan and the rest of Minnesota’s pitching staff.

Ryan, who made his fourth start of the spring for the Twins, gave up just two hits and walked one over five scoreless frames. Those two hits came in the form of an Enrique Hernandez infield single in the second and a bloop single from Rob Refsnyder in the fifth. Neither Hernandez nor Refsnyder advanced past first base.

In the bottom of the sixth, with Ryan out and reliever Emilio Pagan in for Minnesota, Justin Turner reached on a two-out walk (his second of the night) and promptly went from first to third on an Adam Duvall double. But the threat was extinguished when Raimel Tapia flew out to the third baseman in foul territory.

Fast forward to the eighth, Chase Meidroth led off with a single and found himself at third base with two outs before Cole Sands ended the inning by retiring Narciso Crook. And in the ninth, Caleb Hamilton ripped a one-out double off Sands before Marcus Wilson and Bobby Dalbec each struck out to end it.

With the loss, the race for the 2023 Chairman’s Cup is now tied at two games apiece. The decisive rubber match will take place on Sunday afternoon back at JetBlue Park.

Next up: Winckowski starts in Bradenton

The Red Sox will travel to Bradenton to take on the Pirates on Thursday afternoon. Josh Winckowski will get the start for Boston opposite fellow right-hander Johan Oviedo for Pittsburgh.

First pitch from LECOM Park is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN360.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox spring training: Chris Sale struggles, Adam Duvall stays hot in 6-2 loss to Orioles

In a game that took a little over two hours to complete, the Red Sox fell to the Orioles by a final score of 6-2 at Ed Smith Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. With the loss, Boston drops to 12-9-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Chris Sale struggled in his third start of the spring for the Sox. After not giving up a single run in his first two outings, the veteran left-hander got shelled for six runs on nine hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts over five innings of work.

The Orioles got to Sale right away in their half of the first thanks to a pair of solo shots from Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle. An inning later, Adam Frazier and Ryan O’Hearn both reached base with no outs before being driven in on an RBI double from Jorge Mateo and a two-run single from Kyle Stowers. Mountcastle scored Baltimore’s sixth and final run in the third when Frazier grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Despite these difficulties early on, Sale was at least able to end his day on a solid note by putting up a pair of zeroes in the fourth and fifth innings. The 33-year-old southpaw retired six of the last seven batters he faced to finish with a final pitch count of 70. He will make one more Grapefruit League start before taking on this same Orioles team at Fenway Park on April 1.

Offensively, Boston’s only two runs of the afternoon came in the middle and right after Sale’s outing came to a close. To lead off the fourth inning, Adam Duvall took Baltimore starter Adam Duvall deep to left field for his fourth ome run of the spring. Duvall struck again in the sixth, this time leading off with a hard-hit double off Irvin and then scoring on another double off the bat of Daniel Palka.

That sequence of events trimmed the Orioles’ lead down to four runs at 6-2. From that point, John Schreiber and Zack Kelly, who both pitched in Monday’s loss to the Pirates, combined for two scoreless frames out of the Red Sox bullpen. Oddanier Mosqueda, who is competing with Ryan Sherriff for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster, followed suit by stranding one runner in an otherwise clean eighth inning.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Jorge Alfaro laced a one-out double off O’s reliever Reed Garrett before minor-leaguers Miguel Ugueto and Eddinson Paulino each struck out to put the finishing touches on a 6-2 loss for the Red Sox.

Duvall stays hot

Following a 2-for-3 performance in which he scored his team’s only two runs on Tuesday, Adam Duvall is now batting .278/.386/.667 with four home runs and eight RBIs in 15 games (44 plate appearances) this spring.

In addition to Duvall, Daniel Palka and Niko Goodrum also enjoyed two-hit days at the plate. Goodrum, however, did not have the best of times defensively at shortstop.

Next up: Houck vs. Ryan

The Red Sox will return to Fort Myers on Wednesday to host the Twins in Game 4 of the 2023 Chairman’s Cup. Tanner Houck is slated to get the start for Boston while fellow right-hander Joe Ryan will do the same for Minnesota.

With a two-games-to-one lead already in hand, the Red Sox can take home the Chairman’s Cup with another win on Wednesday evening. First pitch from JetBlue Park is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Adam Duvall: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Triston Casas scratched from Red Sox lineup with ‘left fifth finger pain’

Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas was scratched from Tuesday’s starting lineup with “left fifth finger pain,” the club announced. He is considered day-to-day, per manager Alex Cora.

Casas was originally starting at first base and batting cleanup for the Red Sox in their Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles in Sarasota on Tuesday afternoon. Non-roster invitee Daniel Palka will now get the start in his place behind left-hander Chris Sale.

When speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) on Tuesday, Casas did not seem all too concerned about his injury. The 23-year-old said he jammed his left pinky while catching a medicine ball and was left with some slight swelling as a result. Like Cora, he does not expect to miss too much time.

Casas, who made his major-league debut last September, is having himself a solid spring. The left-handed hitting rookie has gone 14-for-41 (.341) at the plate with three doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, nine runs scored, four walks, and 11 strikeouts in 15 Grapefruit League games. He is slated to take over as Boston’s everyday first baseman this season.

With just nine days to go until Opening Day, the Red Sox have been dealing with their fair share of injuries as of late. As noted by’s Chris Cotillo, seven players — Connor Wong, Trevor Story, Adalberto Mondesi, Brayan Bello, James Paxton, Joely Rodriguez, and Garrett Whitlock — are expected to start the 2023 campaign on the injured list.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox reassign 5 non-roster invitees, including Christian Koss and Ryan Fitzgerald, to minor-league camp

Before falling to the Pirates by a final score of 7-5 at JetBlue Park on Monday afternoon, the Red Sox announced they had reassigned non-roster invitees to minor-league camp.

Catcher Stephen Scott, infielders Christian Koss and Nick Sogard, outfielder Narciso Crook, and utilityman Ryan Fitzgerald were all taken off Boston’s major-league spring training roster.

Scott, 25, appeared in 10 Grapefruit League games for the Red Sox. The left-handed hitting backstop went 1-for-8 (.125) at the plate with one home run, two RBIs, five runs scored, three walks, and four strikeouts. He also threw out one of three possible base stealers and allowed one passed ball.

Koss, 25, appeared in 11 games this spring. The right-handed hitter went 2-for-17 (.118) at the plate with a double, two RBIs, three runs scored, one walk, and seven strikeouts. Though those numbers may not stand out, Koss was at least able to garner some attention with his infield defense.

Sogard, 25, got into 16 games for Boston. The switch-hitting California native batted .208 (5-for-24) with five RBIs, six runs scored, two stolen bases, five walks, and six strikeouts. He saw playing time at second base, third base, and shortstop.

Crook, the only player listed here with prior major-league experience, signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox in November. The former Cubs outfielder belted two home runs and collected eight RBIs in 19 games this spring. Both of those homers came against the Yankees in Tampa on March 9.

Lastly, we arrive at Fitzgerald, who went 6-for-22 (.273) with four doubles, one home run, six runs driven in, four runs scored, one stolen base, two walks, and five strikeouts across 15 Grapefruit League contests.

Looking at’s 2023 roster projections, Koss, Sogard, Crook, and Fitzgerald are all expected to break camp with Triple-A Worcester. Scott, on the other hand, projects as Double-A Portland’s starting catcher to begin the 2023 campaign, though he certainly could wind up with the WooSox by year’s end.

With Monday’s subtractions, the Red Sox now have 41 players remaining at major-league camp in Fort Myers. Seven of those players (Jorge Alfaro, Ronaldo Hernandez, Caleb Hamilton, Niko Goodrum, Daniel Palka, Greg Allen, and Raimel Tapia) are in camp as non-roster invitees.

Boston has until March 30 to get down to 26 players ahead of Opening Day. With that being said, several players — such as Connor Wong, Trevor Story, Adalberto Mondesi, Brayan Bello, James Paxton, Joely Rodriguez, and Garrett Whitlock — will likely start the season on either the 10-, 15-, or 60-day injured list.

(Picture of Ryan Fitzgerald: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Joely Rodríguez has Grade 2 right oblique strain

Red Sox reliever Joely Rodriguez has a Grade 2 right oblique strain, manager Alex Cora announced Monday.

Rodriguez suffered a right side injury in the eighth inning of Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles at JetBlue Park. After throwing his 13th pitch, the left-hander grabbed at his side and was immediately taken out of the game.

While heading back to the clubhouse with a member of the the Red Sox’ training staff, Rodriguez could be heard groaning in discomfort. The club initially described the issue as right torso pain, but the southpaw underwent further imaging in the form of an MRI and received a more concrete diagnosis as a result.

When speaking with reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier) following Monday’s 7-5 loss to the Pirates in Fort Myers, Cora could not provide a specific timetable for when Rodriguez could return to action.

“Timetable is whenever he’s ready,” Cora said. “We’ve just got to attack it and get him healthy.”

As noted by Speier, a Grade 2 — or moderate — oblique strain typically comes with a six-to-eight week shutdown period, meaning Rodriguez would not be ready to pitch in big-league games for another two-plus months. If that winds up being the case, that would be a tough blow for the 31-year-old after signing one-year deal with the Red Sox in November that guarantees $2 million and comes with a $4.25 million club option for 2024.

Rodriguez, who spent the 2022 season with the Mets, underwent minor shoulder surgery before signing with Boston in the fall. The Dominican-born hurler was expected to be ready for Opening Day and was being ramped up slowly this spring, but Monday’s news obviously changes that trajectory.

Now, the Red Sox will be tasked with identifying another lefty to pair with Richard Bleier out of the bullpen. Cora has already named Oddanier Mosqueda and Ryan Sherriff as two possible candidates, but he also ruled out using top pitching prospects such as Chris Murphy and Brandon Walter, who are slated to begin the year in Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation.

Both Mosqueda and Sherriff were in camp as non-roster invitees earlier this spring. The former, who does not turn 24 until May, has allowed one earned run in 5 1/3 innings of Grapefruit League play but has yet to pitch above the Double-A level.

Sherriff, meanwhile, made his sixth appearance of the spring on Monday and struck out in a scoreless eighth inning. The 32-year-old has yet to a surrender an earned run across 5 2/3 frames and, unlike Mosqueda, has prior major-league experience.

The Red Sox, of course, could also look to the trade market or waiver wire if they want to add to their bullpen externally. Regardless of which route they take, placing Rodriguez on the 60-day injured list before Opening Day would clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

(Picture of Joely Rodriguez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Justin Turner reaches base twice in return to lineup as Red Sox fall to Pirates, 7-5

The Red Sox fell behind early and could never recover in a 7-5 loss to the Pirates at JetBlue Park on Monday afternoon. By falling to Pittsburgh, Boston dropped to 12-8-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Garrett Whitlock made his first start and second overall appearance of the spring for the Sox. The right-hander allowed two unearned runs on three hits and one walk to go along with three strikeouts over three innings of work.

Both of those Pittsburgh runs came right away in the first inning. Whitlock gave up a leadoff single to Ji Hwan Bae, who was able to advance to second base on an Enrique Hernandez throwing error. Whitlock then walked Rodolfo Castro, which put runners at first and second for Jack Suwinski.

Suwinski drove in Bae by lifting a fly ball to center field that Adam Duvall could not come up with cleanly. Castro, who went from first to third on the play, then scored on a one-out RBI single off the bat of Canaan Smith-Njigba to give the Pirates an early 2-0 lead.

Despite falling behind right out of the gate, the Red Sox were able to get one of those two runs back in their half of the first. Matched up against Pirates starter Luis Ortiz, Rafael Devers and Justin Turner hit back-to-back one-out singles to put runners at the corners for Triston Casas. Casas, in turn, plated Devers on a sacrifice fly to left field to cut the deficit in half.

Whitlock, meanwhile, settled in nicely after a rough first inning by retiring six of the next seven batters he faced from the top of the second through the middle of the third. The one Pirate he allowed to reach base in that stretch was none other than former Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki. Still, it was a productive day for the 26-year-old hurler as 32 of the 52 pitches he threw went for strikes.

In the bottom of the third, the Red Sox got Whitlock off the hook by pushing across what was at the time the equalizing run. After Turner drew a walk, Duvall drove him in all the way from first with a two-out RBI double off the faux Green Monster in left field.

The 2-2 stalemate did not last long, however. Kenley Jansen, taking over for Whitlock in the fourth, issued a leadoff walk to Mark Mathias to begin his outing. Mathias then stole second base before scoring on a two-out fielding error committed by left fielder Raimel Tapia. The Pirates added to their lead over the next two innings. John Schreiber got tagged for two runs on three hits in the fifth while Ryan Brasier served up a two-run homer to Miguel Andujar in the sixth.

Following a pair of scoreless frames from Zack Kelly and Ryan Sherriff, Boston trimmed Pittsburgh’s lead from five to four runs when Nick Sogard scored on an RBI single off the bat of Daniel Palka in the eighth. After Brendan Nail retired the side in order in the top half of the ninth, the Red Sox were suddenly down to their final three outs.

Narciso Crook drew a leadoff walk off reliever Nick Bolton before moving up to third on a Caleb Hamilton single. Crook then came into score on a Sogard groundout. After Niko Goodrum drew a walk, Hamilton scored on an RBI single from Marcus Wilson, making it a 7-5 game. With two outs and runners on first and second, Palka came to the plate representing the winning run. Alas, Bolton got the slugger to ground out to second base to extinguish the threat and end it there.

Turner’s triumphant return

Monday marked Justin Turner’s first game back with the Red Sox since being hit in the face by a pitch exactly two weeks ago. Rocking a C-Flap helmet, the 38-year-old served as Boston’s designated hitter and went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a walk.

Next up: Sale Day in Sarasota

The Red Sox will travel to Sarasota to take on the Orioles on Tuesday afternoon. Chris Sale will get the start for Boston while fellow left-hander Cole Irvin will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Ed Smith Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN360.

(Picture of Justin Turner: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Joely Rodríguez likely to start season on injured list

Red Sox reliever Joely Rodriguez will likely start the season on the injured list, manager Alex Cora said Sunday.

Rodriguez suffered a right side injury in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 9-6 win over the Orioles at JetBlue Park. After throwing his 13th pitch, the left-hander grabbed at his side and left the game with a trainer. He was “groaning in pain as he went to the clubhouse,” according to Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe.

When speaking with reporters (including’s Ian Browne) ahead of Sunday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Phillies in Clearwater, Red Sox manager Alex Cora indicated that Rodriguez was dealing with some sort of oblique injury after initially being diagnosed with right torso pain.

“Sore this morning,” Cora said of Rodriguez. “We feel it’s the oblique area, but he’s going to get imaging tomorrow so we’ll know more. It looks like it’s going to be an IL kind of thing. How long? We’ll know more tomorrow.”

Rodriguez, 31, signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox in November that guarantees $2 million and comes with a $4.25 million club option for 2024. The Dominican-born southpaw was expected to be one of Boston’s top left-handed relief options alongside Richard Bleier.

Now that Rodriguez is slated to miss time, the Red Sox will have to look elsewhere if they intend on adding a second lefty to the bullpen mix. On Sunday, Cora identified 32-year-old Ryan Sherriff and 23-year-old Oddanier Mosqueda, who were both at camp as non-roster invitees, as potential internal candidates.

Sherriff, who has allowed one unearned run in 4 2/3 innings of work this spring, has made 44 career relief appearances at the big-league level between the Cardinals (2017-2018) and Rays (2020-2022). Mosqueda, who has allowed one earned run in 5 1/3 innings, has yet to make his major-league debut, though he is coming off a strong 2022 season with Double-A Portland.

“He throws strikes and has deception,” Cora said of Mosqueda. “Analytics-wise, his stuff is really good. He can go multiple innings, too.”

Additionally, Cora ruled out the possibility of using pitching prospects like Brandon Walter and Chris Murphy out of the bullpen, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. The two talented lefties are instead expected to begin the year in Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation.

If the Red Sox were to look externally for left-handed relief options, then one would have to assume that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. are closely monitoring the trade market and waiver wire as Opening Day approaches.

As noted by Browne, though, the club will have a better idea of where things stand with Rodriguez and his injury timeline in the coming days. That, too, will be worth monitoring.

(Picture of Joely Rodriguez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)