Former Red Sox infielder Jack López signs minor-league deal with Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have signed former Red Sox infielder Jack Lopez to a minor-league contract for the 2022 season, according to Carlos Baerga on Instagram. Per Baerga, the deal also includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Lopez, 29, originally inked a minors pact with the Sox last January after spending the first nine years of his professional career with the Royals and Braves organizations.

A former 2011 16th-round draft pick of Kansas City, Lopez opened the 2021 season with Double-A Portland, though it took him all of a week to earn a promotion to Triple-A Worcester.

With the WooSox, the right-handed hitter batted .274/.345/.386 (99 wRC+) with 14 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 33 RBIs, 29 runs, 15 stolen bases, 19 walks, and 54 strikeouts over 68 games (252 plate appearances) while seeing time at second base, third base, shortstop, center field, and right field.

In July, Lopez stepped away from affiliated ball to represent the United States and help Team USA win a silver medal in the Tokyo Olympics. Upon returning from Japan, the versatile infielder quickly found himself on the doorstep of the big-leagues.

While the Red Sox were navigating their way through a COVID-19 outbreak in late August, Lopez had his contract selected from Worcester on the first day of September. He made his major-league debut against the Rays that same night and would go on to hit .154/.214/.308 in seven games across two stints with Boston.

Since he was taken off the Sox’ 40-man roster on Sept. 21 and closed out the year with the WooSox, Lopez was eligible to become a minor-league free agent in November.

The Rio Piedras native returned to his home island this off-season to suit up for Cangrejeros de Santurce of the Puerto Rican Winter League. Playing alongside Christian Vazquez Christian Vazquez at one point, Lopez posted a .540 OPS and stole six bases while appearing in 30 games for Santurce.

Lopez, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, is about to embark upon his age-29 season since he does not turn 30 until December. The Tigers represent the fourth organization Lopez will be a member of dating back to 2011.

At present, Detroit has nine infielders on their 40-man roster, including fellow Puerto Rican national Javier Baez. If Detroit values versatility, it will be interesting to see if Lopez can make a case to make the team’s Opening Day roster once spring training (hopefully) begins.

(Picture of Jack Lopez: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)


Red Sox activate Christian Arroyo from COVID-19 related injured list, return Jack López to Triple-A Worcester

In addition to placing Garrett Whitlock on the 10-day injured list due to a right pectoral strain and recalling Ryan Brasier from Triple-A Worcester, the Red Sox also activated infielder Christian Arroyo from the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, fellow infielder Jack Lopez was returned to Worcester, the club announced shortly before Tuesday’s series opener against the Mets at Fenway Park.

Arroyo returns from the COVID-19 related injured list after spending nearly a month there following a lengthy bout with the virus.

The 26-year-old was originally identified as a close contact of Enrique Hernandez when the Sox’ outbreak began in Cleveland on August 27. He tested positive for COVID just two days later and was forced to quarantine at the team’s hotel.

After getting hit hard by virus-related symptoms, Arroyo was cleared to return to action last week, as he was sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester this past Thursday.

Appearing in three games with the WooSox during their series in Syracuse over the weekend, the right-handed hitting second baseman went 1-for-11 with a single, a run scored, and four strikeouts while playing a total of 21 defensive innings at second base.

It’s been a tough go-around for Arroyo in his first full season in Boston, with the 6-foot-1, 210 pound hitter being limited to just 53 games so far this year on account of three separate stints on the injured list (due to a left hand contusion, right knee contusion, and left hamstring strain) and one stint on the COVID-related IL.

Still, Arroyo has been productive when healthy, as he comes into play Tuesday sporting a .264/.324/.453 slash line to go along with six home runs, 25 RBI, and 22 runs scored over 175 trips to the plate.

While Arroyo will start Tuesday’s contest against the Mets on the bench, the Red Sox will need the Florida native to contribute to their Wild Card push since Jose Iglesias — who has mainly been playing second base in Arroyo’s place — is ineligible for the postseason since he was signed after September 1.

Lopez, meanwhile, returns to Worcester for a second time after he most-recently had his contract selected when Danny Santana was placed on the COVID IL on September 11.

Across two separate stints with the Sox in the month of September, the 28-year-old journeyman has slashed just .154/.214/.308 with a pair of doubles, a run, and one walk over seven games (16 plate appearances), though he has provided sound defense in limited action at second base.

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Danny Santana on COVID-19 related injured list after utility man tests positive for virus; Jack López selected from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed Danny Santana on the COVID-19 related injured list after the utility man tested positive for the virus on Saturday.

In a corresponding move, infielder Jack Lopez had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced shortly before the start of Saturday’s game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Santana becomes the 11th Red Sox player to test positive for COVID-19 since August 27 and also becomes the 10th player the team currently has out on the COVID related IL, as he joins the likes of Christian Arroyo, Jonathan Arauz, Yairo Munoz, Jarren Duran, Martin Perez, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura, Nick Pivetta, and Chris Sale.

That number figures to be reduced within the coming days with Pivetta slated to start Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox and Perez and Barnes in line to begin rehab assignments with Worcester soon.

Still, Santana has now been placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on two separate occasions this season. The versatile 30-year-old was sidelined from Sunday until Tuesday since he was experiencing virus-like symptoms, but he tested repeatedly in that stretch and all those tests came back negative.

After being activated from the COVID IL on that Tuesday, Santana appeared in three games for Boston — going 3-for-9 (.333) at the plate with a home run and RBI — before being placed on the COVID IL once again on Saturday.

In Santana’s place, Lopez, who traveled with the Sox to Chicago as part of their taxi squad, has been added to Boston’s major-league roster for a second time this year.

The 28-year-old out of Puerto Rico was initially called up from Worcester on September 1 — shortly after Munoz and Xander Bogaerts tested positive for COVID-19 while the Red Sox were in Tampa Bay.

Lopez made his major-league debut that same day and wound up appearing in five games in his first stint with Boston. He hit just .167 (2-for-12) in those five contests, but provided some defensive stability at second base before being returned to the WooSox on Monday.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: José Iglesias signed, Josh Taylor activated, Michael Feliz selected from Triple-A Worcester

In addition to signing veteran shortstop Jose Iglesias to a major-league deal, the Red Sox made yet another flurry of roster moves ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Rays at Fenway Park.

First off, left-hander Josh Taylor was reinstated from the COVID-19 related injured list, while right-hander Michael Feliz had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester and was added to the major-league roster.

Secondly, righty Kutter Crawford was returned to Worcester following Sunday’s 11-5 loss to the Indians, while fellow right-hander John Schreiber and infielder Jack Lopez were also returned to Worcester.

The Red Sox made all of these transactions official earlier Monday afternoon.

Taylor, who was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list last Tuesday after being identified as a close contact of Matt Barnes’ while the team was in Tampa Bay, re-joins the Sox after a six-day hiatus.

The 28-year-old became the fifth of 11 players Boston has had to place on the COVID IL since their outbreak began last Friday, but he becomes the first of that group to be activated off it — with Enrique Hernandez likely to follow.

Joining Taylor in the Red Sox bullpen will be Feliz, who initially signed a minor-league pact with Boston on August 28 after being released by the Reds.

Prior to getting designated for assignment by Cincinnati in late August, Feliz had appeared in a total of 16 games between the Pirates and Reds this season, posting an 8.79 ERA and 3.65 FIP to go along with 17 strikeouts to five walks over 14 1/3 innings of relief.

A native of the Dominican Republic, the 28-year-old originally signed with the Astros as an international free agent in 2010. He made his major-league debut for Houston in 2015, appeared in 46 games while Red Sox manager Alex Cora served as Astros bench coach in 2017, and was part of the trade that sent Gerrit Cole from Pittsburgh to the Lone Star State in 2018.

Per Baseball Savant, Feliz — listed at a stout 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds — operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, slider, and changeup.

With the additions of Taylor and Feliz, Crawford and Schreiber — both of whom made their Red Sox debuts on Sunday, were returned to Worcester. Lopez, too, was returned to accommodate the signing of Iglesias.

Because all three of Crawford, Schreiber, and Lopez were called up as COVID-19 replacements, the Sox were able to take the trio off their 40-man roster without exposing them to waivers.

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox mash 4 homers, hold on to 8-5 victory over Indians for third straight win

It was no simple task, but the Red Sox kicked off Labor Day weekend in style with a series-opening, 8-5 victory over the Indians at Fenway Park on Friday night to extend their winning streak to three consecutive games.

Matched up against Indians starter Cal Quantrill to begin things on Friday, the Sox received an immediate boost from leadoff man Kyle Schwarber, who crushed a 428-foot solo shot to dead center field on just the second pitch he saw in the bottom half of the first inning.

Schwarber’s 29th home run of the season, which left his bat at 106.8 mph, gave Boston an early 1-0 lead.

Kevin Plawecki doubled his side’s advantage an inning later, as he, too, took Quantrill deep by drilling a 390-foot solo homer over the Green Monster to make it a 2-0 contest.

Those two home runs took some off the pressure off Nathan Eovaldi out of the gate, and that proved to be quite beneficial.

Eovaldi, making his 27th start of the season for Boston, was — for the most part — exceptional on Friday night, allowing a total of three runs on six hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 solid innings of work.

The veteran right-hander began his evening by retiring nine of the first 11 Indians he faced, but saw his shutout bid come to an end when he served up a leadoff home run to the dangerous Jose Ramirez in the top of the fourth.

The Red Sox offense, however, returned the favor in the bottom half of the fourth, as Jonathan Arauz clubbed his second big fly of the year — both of which have come against the Indians — to right field off a Quantrill sinker, thus allowing his side to maintain its two-run lead.

After giving up the home run to Ramirez, Eovaldi responded by putting together another impressive run in which he strung together two more scoreless frames, but ran into some trouble with one out in the seventh.

At that point, Eovaldi had given up a one-out single to Bobby Bradley which was promptly followed by a game-tying, two-run blast off the bat of Austin Hedges moments later.

Having seen a 3-1 lead become a 3-3 stalemate, Eovaldi’s night came to a close after he yielded another base hit to Andres Gimenez, which led to him getting the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (66 strikes), the 31-year-old did raise his ERA on the season to 3.73, though he did not factor into Friday’s decision.

In relief of Eovaldi, Adam Ottavino got the first call out of the Boston bullpen, and — after allowing Jimenez to steal second base — he stranded the lone runner he inherited by punching out Myles Straw and Amed Rosario back-to-back to end the inning.

While the Sox did lose hold of their lead over the Indians momentarily, they quickly got it back in their half of the seventh, and it all started when the pinch-hitting Travis Shaw drew a leadoff walk off Quantrill.

Arauz followed by lacing double to center field that put runners at second and third base with no outs for Schwarber, who greeted new Indians reliever Trevor Stephan by ripping a two-run double to the right-center field gap.

With an exit velocity of nearly 109 mph, Schwarber’s second run-scoring hit of the night put the Red Sox back in front at 5-3.

Stephan did manage to get the first two outs of the frame by punching out Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez, but Cleveland opted to intentionally walk the left-handed Alex Verdugo so that their right-handed reliever could face Hunter Renfroe.

The right-handed hitting Renfroe made the Tribe pay dearly for that decision, as he worked a nine-pitch at-bat and — on the ninth and final pitch he saw — deposited a 2-2, 84 mph slider on the outer half of the plate a nice 369 feet over everything in left field.

Renfroe’s 26th homer of the year gave the Sox a commanding 8-3 lead going into the eighth, and it gave Ryan Brasier a comfortable cushion to work with as well.

Brasier, making his 2021 debut on Friday after dealing with a plethora of injuries, got the first two outs of the eighth inning rather quickly, but allowed the next three batters he faced to reach base, with the third and final one — Bradley — lifting an RBI single to left field to cut Boston’s lead down to four runs.

That set the stage for rookie sensation Garrett Whitlock to come on in an attempt to get the final out of the eighth, and he did just that by getting Hedges to fly out to right field.

Coming back out for the ninth, Whitlock did surrender a run that made things even more interesting, but ultimately slammed the door on the Indians with two clutch strikeouts to notch his second save of the year while also securing an 8-5 victory for the Sox.

With the win, the Red Sox improve to 78-59 on the season as their lead over the Athletics for the second American League Wild Card spot increases to three games.

Brasier’s 2021 debut

Of the 21 pitchers Brasier threw in his season debut on Friday, 11 went for strikes. The right-hander turned to his four-seam fastball 71% of the time he was on the mound in the eighth inning and averaged 94.4 mph with the pitch.

Lopez’s first major-league hit

Since making his big-league debut earlier this week, infielder Jack Lopez had been hitless in eight plate appearances leading into Friday. The 28-year-old rookie came through in the second inning, though, as he picked up his first career hit — a 370-foot double — with two outs in the frame.

A first for Devers at second

After Shaw pinch-hit for Lopez to lead off the seventh inning, Danny Santana was inserted as a pinch-runner once Shaw reached base upon drawing a six-pitch walk.

As a result of that substitution, Santana took over for Bobby Dalbec at first base and Dalbec slid over to third base, leading Devers to fill in for Lopez at second base.

That being said, Friday night marked Devers’ professional debut at second base, as he had never played the position at the minor- or major-league level beforehand.

Next up: Houck vs. Morgan

The Red Sox will turn to right-hander Tanner Houck as they go for the series win over the Indians on Saturday afternoon.

The Indians, meanwhile, will hand the ball to fellow rookie righty Eli Morgan as they look to prevent that from happening.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kyle Schwarber, Alex Verdugo, and Hunter Renfroe: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Jarren Duran comes through with game-winning RBI single as Red Sox halt skid with 3-2 victory over Rays

After wrapping up their first losing month of the season on Tuesday, the Red Sox were able to open the month of September with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night.

Chris Sale, making his fourth start of the season and fourth since returning from Tommy John surgery, was not at his sharpest while going up against his toughest opponent to date, but was still effective nonetheless.

Over six solid innings of work to set a new season-high in that category, Sale surrendered just two runs — both of which were earned on six hits, two walks, and two hit batsman to go along with three strikeouts on the evening.

In addition to that, the Sox gave Sale an early lead to work with in the top half of the second.

Matched up against Rays starter Drew Rasmussen, Alex Verdugo ripped a one-out triple to center field and was promptly driven in on an RBI single off the bat of Christian Vazquez.

Both runs Sale gave up, meanwhile, came on one swing of the bat an inning later, as the veteran left-hander served up a two-run home run to Wander Franco with two outs in the inning.

Besides that one blunder that put Boston in a 2-1 hole, Sale managed to maneuver his way around some traffic on the base paths to the point where he kept the Tampa Bay offense off the board over his final three innings pitched.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (57 strikes) to set another season-high, the 32-year-old hurler did not factor into Wednesday’s decision, though this particular outing may be his most encouraging of the season thus far.

Moments after Sale’s outing came to an end, Vazquez continued to build on his productive night at the plate by demolishing a one-out, 389-foot solo shot off Rays reliever and former teammate Collin McHugh on the very first pitch he saw in the top of the seventh.

Vazquez’s sixth big fly of the season pulled the Red Sox even with the Rays at two runs apiece, and the score would remain that way for quite some time.

In relief of Sale, Garrett Whitlock got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen to begin things in the seventh and immediately gave up a leadoff double to Joey Wendle.

Wendle proceeded to advance to third on a fly out to center field, but also attempted to score from third on a sharply-hit ground ball to the left side of the infield off the bat of Randy Arozarena.

Rafael Devers, however, had different plans, as he — with the help from Vazquez behind the plate — gunned down Wendle at home to preserve the stalemate.

In the eighth, Whitlock was put into just about the exact same situation when he yielded another leadoff double to Franco, who moved up to third on a groundout.

Once more, though, the Rays’ base running bailed out the Red Sox, as Franco attempted to score on a grounder from Manuel Margot, but was instead thrown out at home by shortstop Jonathan Arauz.

Having halted Tampa Bay’s momentum in two consecutive innings, the Boston bats broke out in their half of the ninth, where Devers proved to be the catalyst by lacing a leadoff single off Pete Fairbanks.

Devers was able to move up into scoring position on an infield single from a hustling Verdugo, ultimately putting the potential go-ahead run at second base with two outs for Jarren Duran.

Duran, at that point, was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, but came through when it mattered most by sneaking an RBI single through the right side of the infield to bring in Devers from second to make it a 3-2 game.

Given a brand-new one-run lead to protect, Adam Ottavino got the call for the ninth, and he shut the door on the Rays by retiring the side in order to notch his 11th save of the season and secure the 3-2 victory for the Sox.

With the win, the Red Sox snap their three-game losing streak to improve to 76-59 on the season as well as 4-0 in games started by Sale. Their lead over the Athletics for the second American League Wild Card spot also increased to two full games.

Next up: Rodriguez vs. McClanahan

The Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound on Thursday as they look to head back to Boston having secured a four-game series split with their division rivals.

The Rays, meanwhile, will turn to fellow southpaw Shane McClanahan, who will be making his 21st start of the season for Tampa Bay.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Xander Bogaerts, Yairo Muñoz placed on COVID-19 related injured list; Jack López, John Schreiber selected from Triple-A Worcester; Ryan Brasier, Danny Santana activated from injured list

In the midst of navigating through a COVID-19 outbreak that has affected at least 11 members of the organization this past week, the Red Sox made yet another flurry of roster moves before they take on the Rays at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night.

First off, shortstop Xander Bogaerts and infielder/outfielder Yairo Munoz were placed on the COVID-19 related injured lists after both recently tested positive for the virus.

Secondly, infielder Jack Lopez and right-hander John Schreiber were both selected from Triple-A Worcester to take Bogaerts and Munoz’s spots on the major-league roster.

Finally, with rosters expanding from 26 to 28 players on Wednesday, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was reinstated from the 60-day injured list, while infielder/outfielder Danny Santana was activated from the 10-day injured list.

The Red Sox made all of these transactions official earlier Wednesday evening.

There is plenty to digest here, so let’s start with the two players who are headed to the COVID-19 related injured list.

Bogaerts had tested positive for the virus on Tuesday and was pulled in the second inning of the Red Sox’ game against the Rays as a result. Munoz, meanwhile, tested positive on Wednesday morning.

The pair of infielders become the seventh and eighth Sox players to be placed on the COVID IL since Friday, as they join the likes of Enrique Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, Martin Perez, Matt Barnes, Josh Taylor, and Hirokazu Sawamura.

Of those eight, Hernandez, Arroyo, Perez, Barnes, Sawamura, Bogaerts, and Munoz — as well as quality control coach Ramon Vazquez and strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose — have all tested positive.

Taylor and first base coach Tom Goodwin, on the other hand, are away from the team and in quarantine since they were identified as close contacts.

With Bogaerts and Munoz both forced out of action for the foreseeable future on account of their positive tests, the Red Sox were able to add two players to their major-league roster without making any sort of corresponding moves . Those two players, of course, are Lopez and Schreiber.

Lopez, 28, originally inked a minor-league deal with Boston back in January. He began the 2021 season at Double-A Portland but later earned a promotion to Worcester on May 11.

In 58 games (219 plate appearances) with the WooSox, the Puerto Rican-born right-handed hitter has slashed .260/.321/.378 (87 wRC+) with 12 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 30 RBI, 24 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 15 walks, and 50 strikeouts while seeing time at second base, third base, shortstop, and center field.

On top of that, Lopez earned himself a silver medal while playing for Team USA in this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The 5-foot-10, 160 pounder will start at second base and bat eighth in his major-league debut on Wednesday.

Schreiber, meanwhile, was claimed off waivers from the Tigers back in February, but last his spot on the Sox’ 40-man roster when he was designated for assignment shortly before Opening Day.

The 27-year-old righty did clear waivers, however, and was subsequently outrighted to Worcester in early April before opening the 2021 campaign in the affiliate’s bullpen.

Across 28 appearances (eight starts) with the WooSox, Schreiber has pitched well, putting up a 3.10 ERA and 3.73 xFIP to go along with 57 strikeouts to 21 walks in 58 innings of work this year.

While Lopez and Schreiber will take the place of Bogaerts and Munoz on Boston’s major-league roster, the club was also able to add two more players with rosters expanding to 28 players on Wednesday.

With that, Brasier was activated from the 60-day injured list while Santana was activated from the 10-day injured list.

Brasier, who recently turned 34, had missed the entirety of the 2021 season up to this point due to a multitude of injuries, including a left calf strain and concussion.

Santana, on the other hand, has dealt with his fair share of injuries this year, as he has missed extended periods of time on two separate occasions due to a left groin and left quad strain.

Following Wednesday’s series of moves, the Red Sox now have a full 28 players (15 pitchers, 13 position players) on their major-league roster and 38 active players on their 40-man roster.

(Picture of Jack Lopez: Yuichi Masuda/Getty Images)

Red Sox minor-leaguers Triston Casas, Jack Lopez named to Team USA’s Olympic roster

A pair of Red Sox minor-leaguers will represent the United States in the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.

First baseman Triston Casas and utility man Jack Lopez were both named to Team USA’s 24-man Olympic roster, USA Baseball announced on Friday.

Darren Fenster, a minor-league outfield and baserunning coach within the Red Sox organization, will serve as Team USA’s third base coach under manager Mike Scioscia.

Casas, 21, is regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Red Sox farm system and the No. 24 prospect in all of baseball.

In 36 games with Double-A Portland this season, the left-handed hitter is slashing .275/.357/.413 (113 wRC+) with three doubles, two triples, four home runs, 23 RBI, 26 runs scored, 17 walks, 38 strikeouts, and three stolen bases over 157 plate appearances.

Selected by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft, Casas participated in the Baseball Americas Qualifier Tournament in late May and early June and will once again be representing his country in the coming weeks.

Lopez, meanwhile, was added to Team USA’s roster after initially playing for Team Puerto Rico before they were eliminated from Olympic contention during qualifiers.

The 28-year-old originally inked a minor-league deal with the Sox in January after spending the first nine years of his professional career between the Royals and Braves organizations.

After opening the 2021 season with Double-A Portland, Lopez was promoted to Triple-A Worcester on May 11. Since then, the right-handed hitter has posted a .336/.369/.434 slash line (114 wRC+) to go along with eight doubles, one homer, 19 RBI, 18 runs scored, seven walks, 21 strikeouts, and seven stolen bases over the course of 33 games (122 plate appearances).

Despite playing nothing but second base, third base, and shortstop in his brief time with the WooSox, Lopez is listed as an outfielder on Team USA’s roster. This is the case because the former 16th-round draft pick out of Puerto Rico does have limited professional experience in both left and center field.

Speaking of outfielders, top Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran, like Casas, aided Team USA in qualifying for the Summer Games this spring and turned the heads of many while doing so.

That said, Duran was not named to the United States’ Olympic roster on Friday. According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the reasoning behind this comes from the decision makers at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, not the Red Sox.

“The Red Sox would have been OK with him going, with the proviso that if they wanted to call him up, they could,” Speier wrote on Friday. “With visa requirements and the logistical challenges of replacing a player, the US elected not to include Duran on the roster for the same reason that the team doesn’t feature members of MLB 40-man rosters: Duran is de facto big league depth at this point.”

Duran, who turns 25 in September, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 25 prospect in all of baseball, ranking eighth among the game’s top young outfielders.

With the WooSox this season, Duran has proven that he is more than capable of handling Triple-A pitching, as he came into play Friday boasting a .278/.372/.599 batting line in addition to 15 homers and 31 RBI over 39 games.

The speedy outfielder has been on the verge of a big-league call up for quite some time now, and the fact that he will not be headed to Tokyo may signal that his impending promotion could be coming sooner rather than later.

As for the Olympic baseball tournament itself, Team USA will open play with a game against Team Israel on July 30. The tourney runs through August 7 as the U.S. will be going for its third gold medal in baseball.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Red Sox add infielder Jack López on minor-league deal

The Red Sox have signed free-agent infielder Jack Lopez to a minor-league contract for the 2021 season, per’s transaction wire. It’s unclear at this point if the deal includes an invite to major-league spring training.

Lopez, who turned 28 last month, was originally drafted by the Royals in the 16th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Deltona High School (Fla.).

Since then, the native of Puerto Rico has spent time in the Royals and Braves’ organizations, accruing a career .237/.290/.324 slash line to go along with 42 home runs, 282 RBI, and 130 stolen bases over 820 total minor-league contests between the Rookie League, Class-A, Advanced-A, Double-A, and Triple-A levels.

This winter, Lopez has been playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League for Indios de Mayaguez, who are currently in that league’s championship series against Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s hometown Criollos de Caguas.

In 13 games with Mayaguez, Lopez has posted a .655 OPS over 52 plate appearances while also drawing eight walks and swiping three bases.

Capable of playing all over the infield and in addition to some corner outfield, Lopez could potentially serve as upper-level minor-league depth in his new role with the Sox.

The 5-foot-10, right-handed hitter’s baseball roots run deep, as he is the son of former minor-league backstop and major-league bullpen catcher Juan Lopez and the nephew of former Royals infielder Onix Concepcion.

A one-time commit to the University of Miami, Lopez already has some Red Sox connections given the fact that he is followed on Instagram by the likes of Cora and Enrique Hernandez.

So far this offseason, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have either signed or re-signed the following players to minor-league deals:

C Roldani Baldwin
C Jhonny Pereda
1B Joey Meneses
1B Josh Ockimey
INF Jack Lopez
INF Jeremy Rivera
OF Cesar Puello
OF Michael Gettys
OF Johan Mieses
LHP Emmanuel De Jesus
LHP Stephen Gonsalves
RHP Kevin McCarthy
RHP Seth Blair
RHP Raynel Espinal
RHP Caleb Simpson
RHP Zack Kelly
RHP Jose Disla
RHP Daniel Gossett
RHP Zac Grotz

(Picture of Jack Lopez: Scott Audette/MLB Photos via Getty Images)