The Worcester Red Sox fell to the Buffalo Bisons by a final score of 5-1 at Polar Park on Wednesday, marking their fifth consecutive loss.
While the WooSox did drop to 37-34 in their second of six against the Bisons, there were some positive developments — some of which will definitely pique the Red Sox’ interest.
Sawamura perfect in rehab appearance
Rehabbing reliever Hirokazu Sawamura opened the game for Worcester and needed all of 13 pitches — nine of which were strikes — to toss a perfect first inning in which he struck out one and got two to softly ground out.
Sawamura, who has been on the injured list since July 23 due to right triceps inflammation, had his stint on the IL backdated to July 20, meaning he could be activated as soon as Friday.
Barring any setbacks it seems likely that the 33-year-old righty will come off the injured list ahead of this weekend’s series against the Rays in Tampa Bay.
Crawford solid in Triple-A debut
Red Sox pitching prospect Kutter Crawford made his Triple-A debut on Wednesday and was quite impressive in his first action in a WooSox uniform.
Taking over for Sawamura, Crawford yielded three runs — all of which were earned — on nine hits and just one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.
Of those nine hits the right-hander allowed, three were infield singles and seven were on soft contact, according to WooSox broadcaster Mike Antonellis.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 85 (59 strikes), Crawford ended his day by retiring six of the final seven hitters he faced.
Crawford, 25, was promoted from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester last week after posting a 3.30 ERA and 2.85 xFIP to go along with 64 strikeouts to just five walks over 10 starts (46 1/3 innings pitched) with the Sea Dogs to begin the season.
The Red Sox originally selected the 6-foot-1, 192 pound hurler in the 16th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University.
Crawford entered the 2019 campaign as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system according to Baseball America and ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery that fall before having bone spurs removed from his throwing elbow the following summer.
His next start for the WooSox will likely come on the road against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders next Tuesday.
Feltman works his way around trouble in Polar Park debut
Like Crawford, fellow Red Sox pitching prospect Durbin Feltman made his first-ever appearance at Polar Park on Wednesday.
Working directly in relief of Crawford, Feltman issued a leadoff double to Bisons shortstop Kevin Smith to begin things in the eighth, but maneuvered his way around that by sitting down the next three batters he faced on a pair of fly outs and a lineout.
Of the 11 pitches Feltman needed to get through the eighth inning of Wednesday’s contest, seven went for strikes.
The 24-year-old right-handed reliever was promoted to Triple-A on July 23 and got rocked for three runs on four hits over two innings against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs that very same day.
Originally selected by Boston in the third round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Texas Christian University, Feltman — listed at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds — opened the 2021 campaign with Double-A Portland and put up a 3.29 ERA and 3.62 xFIP in addition to 37 strikeouts and 10 walks over 22 relief appearances spanning 27 1/3 innings pitched.
Both Crawford and Feltman can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in their respective careers this winter, so there is a possibility that either one of the two righties could be dealt ahead of Friday’s trade deadline.
If not, they would need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster before November 20 in order to be protected from this winter’s Rule 5 Draft.
(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)