Tzu-Wei Lin, First Baseman? Red Sox Utilityman Gets Taste of New Position in Sunday’s Intrasquad Game

For the first time in his major or minor-league career on Sunday, Tzu-Wei Lin started a game at first base for the Red Sox in the team’s fourth intrasquad contest of Summer Camp at Fenway Park.

Hitting out of the seven-hole for the Home Sox, Lin reached base in one of his three trips to plate and held his own over at first. He even made a nice pick on the back end of a 1-4-3 inning-ending double play started by Marcus Walden.

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After the game, Sox manager Ron Roenicke had high praise for Lin, saying he was “really happy” with the way the 26-year-old played first base for the first time.

“Anytime a utility man can play all positions, it increases his value,” Roenicke added. On top of that increase in value, Roenicke suggested that Lin could also serve as Boston’s extra-inning pinch runner given his speed on the basepaths.

Since making his major-league debut for the Red Sox in June 2017, the Taiwan national has seen time at second base, third base, shortstop, and center field. While with Triple-A Pawtucket last year, Lin played both corner outfield positions at well. In other words, he may just be capable of playing every position on the field besides pitcher and catcher.

The 2020 campaign will be an important one for Lin, as he is one of four players on Boston’s 40-man roster who is out of minor-league options, meaning he would have to be exposed to waivers if the Red Sox intended to send him to Pawtucket.

While dealing with a left knee sprain and concussion last season, Lin appeared in just 13 games for the Red Sox, going 4-for-20 at the plate with one double, two RBI, and three runs scored in 2019.

Given the uncertainties surrounding how the 2020 season will go in terms of COVID-19 testing, Lin could be a valuable asset to the Sox considering he can and is willing to play just about every position on the field.

Red Sox’ Nathan Eovaldi Tosses Four Scoreless Innings in Intrasquad Action at Fenway Park

For the first time in nearly 10 months, the Red Sox played a baseball game at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon.

Granted, it was a 5 1/2 inning intrasquad contest that was umpired by Jason Varitek and featured a handful of hitters batting for both teams, but regardless of that, it was still nice to get baseball back in some capacity.

As announced by manager Ron Roenicke earlier this week, the two starting pitchers for this game were right-handers Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Mazza, with the former representing the home side and the ladder representing the away.

Making his first in-game start since March 7th, Eovaldi picked up right where he left off in Florida by twirling four scoreless, one-hit innings at Fenway on Thursday.

Over those four frames of work, Eovaldi fanned four hitters while walking one and plunking another. The 30-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 58, 34 of which were strikes. And even though there was no radar gun available on the Red Sox’ live stream of the game, it definitely looked like Eovaldi’s fastball was humming, as per usual.

On having former Red Sox captain Jason Varitek calling balls and strikes, Eovaldi said, โ€œI thought he did good. I liked it. I like having him back there behind the plate and felt like he was making some really good calls for me.โ€

On the flip side of things, Mazza, one of several candidates the Sox are considering for a back-end starter/opener/bulk role, was also effective in two fewer innings pitched.

The 30-year-old Californian worked two scoreless frames for the Away Sox while walking one and facing the minimum six batters over that stretch. All while rocking stirrups.

Among the relievers who appear to be locks to make Boston’s Opening Day roster, Marcus Walden fanned a pair and walked another in a shutout third inning of work for the Away Sox, Heath Hembree stranded a pair of runners in scoring position in the fourth for the Away Sox, and Brandon Workman got rocked for four runs in the fifth for the Away Sox.

Josh Osich and Colten Brewer, meanwhile, combined to work a scoreless top half of the fifth and sixth inning in relief of Eovaldi to wrap up the 4-0 victory for the Home Sox.

Offensively, all four runs for the Home Sox came off Workman, as previously mentioned.

Worcester native John Andreoli was responsible for three of those, as he took Boston’s closer deep to right for a three-run blast around Pesky’s Pole in the bottom half of the fifth.

Veteran backstop Jonathan Lucroy, who was added to the Sox’ Summer Camp player pool as a non-roster invitee last week, also had two hits.

Following the 4-0 victory for the Red Sox, Roenicke announced that the club is planning on having a six-inningย  intrasquad game at noon on Friday and may even “experiment” with some fake crowd noise.

Not sure who the starting pitchers for that game on Friday will be yet, but I will leave you with this quote from Roenicke.