Darwinzon Hernandez Could Start Games for Red Sox Again by End of 2020 Season, Ron Roenicke Says

The idea that Darwinzon Hernandez could once again start for the Red Sox has been out there ever since the left-hander was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for good last July.

Hernandez made his first career major-league start against the Rangers last June at Fenway Park, but never again made an appearance as a starter at the big-league level for the rest of the season.

Instead, as previously mentioned, the now-23-year-old was called up for good in July and proved to be quite effective out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, posting a 4.32 ERA, a .693 OPS against, and a 3.33 xFIP over 27 relief outings and 25 innings of work.

Still, despite that success, the Sox view Hernandez as a starter in the long run. At least, that’s what manager Ron Roenicke said on his weekly segment with WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria on Wednesday.

“Eventually, we think this guy could end up being a starter,” said Roenicke in regards to Hernandez’s future. “Who knows? Maybe he’s starting games by the end of the year.”

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, it is worth mentioning that Hernandez is still technically recovering from a bout with COVID-19, which he tested positive for while at home in Venezuela earlier this month.

Since that time, Hernandez reported back to the Red Sox in Boston in last week and has been working out at the club’s alternate training site in Pawtucket in the meantime while he’s on the 10-day injured list.

At McCoy Stadium, the flame-throwing southpaw is set to throw a live batting practice session on Wednesday, then he’ll throw another one on Saturday before preparing for a simulated game this coming Monday, according to Roenicke.

From there, the Red Sox will evaluate where things stand with him as well as fellow left-hander Josh Taylor before taking any further action.

The most important thing here, particularly in Hernandez’s case, is to build up his workload so he can get stretched out in order to handle two to three innings at a time. That way, he could be more prepared to start at some point this season if that’s the direction the Red Sox decide to go.

Red Sox Relievers Darwniznon Hernandez, Josh Taylor ‘Still a Ways Away’ From Returning After COVID-19 Bouts

Red Sox left-handed relievers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor are not close to returning to the team anytime soon, manager Ron Roenicke said Wednesday on his weekly segment with WEEI’s Ordway, Merloni, and Fauria.

Hernandez and Taylor both tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and were placed on the 10-day injured list along with fellow southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez on July 14.

Top prospect Bobby Dalbec, who also tested positive for the virus, was cleared to return two weekends ago and avoided a stint on the injured list.

Both relievers were cleared to return to baseball activities earlier this week, but neither have been able to put together a lengthy bullpen session to this point.

“They are gassed after 20 pitches” Roenicke said of Hernandez and Taylor on Wednesday. “It tells me that they are still a ways away. It would be nice, knowing they are relievers, you don’t have to have the build up with the innings, but you still need to build them up enough to where they pitch one inning, they can come back the next night or the night after, and they’re not there right now.”

Added the Sox skipper: “The velocity that these guys depend on…right now, they don’t have that same stuff. So, it could be a while. We’re certainly trying to get them back as soon as we can, but that physical part of it, we want to do right by them.”

Hernandez and Taylor proved to be key cogs out of the Red Sox bullpen during their rookie seasons in 2019. The former, who turned 23 in December, posted a 3.95 ERA and .721 OPS against over 28 appearances and 27 1/3 innings of work as a reliever, while the latter, who turned 27 in March, posted a 3.11 ERA and .638 OPS against over 51 appearances and 46 1/3 innings of work as a reliever.

In terms of preparedness, Hernandez is likely closer to in-game action than Taylor is seeing how he was able to throw while self-isolating at his home in Venezuela, while Taylor had to self-isolate in a Boston hotel room.

 

Eduardo Rodriguez Tweets ‘I’m Back’ as He Joins Red Sox at Summer Camp

A la Michael Jordan announcing his return to the NBA in 1995, Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez announced his return to baseball on Saturday with two simple words: “I’m back.”

Albeit Rodriguez announced his return via Twitter rather than a press release and was not coming out of retirement but rather a bout with coronavirus, it was still encouraging to see that the 27-year-old is indeed back in Boston and will report to Summer Camp at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Per Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, the plan for Rodriguez, as well as fellow left-hander Josh Taylor, is to simply “just play catch” Saturday while also “try[ing] to slowly get them back into where they need to be and to evaluate where they are.”

Rodriguez and Taylor were two of four Sox players who, at least publicly, tested positive for COVID-19, with Bobby Dalbec and Darwinzon Hernandez being the other two.

Dalbec was cleared to return to baseball activities last weekend, but it’s been a different story for the trio of southpaws as they were all placed on the 10-day injured list this past Tuesday.

That being said, all three have in Boston for at least the last 24-48 hours, with Hernandez flying in from Venezuela on Thursday night and Rodriguez flying in from Miami on Friday all while Taylor has been self-isolating in a hotel in the city.

Because Taylor was stuck in a hotel room while Hernandez and Rodriguez could at least throw at their respective homes, Roenicke has some concerns about where the lefty reliever stands in terms of being prepared for the upcoming season.

“I’m a little bit more concerned about him because he was stuck in that hotel room and not throwing at all other than maybe throwing into a pillow or a mattress or whatever he’s doing,” Roenicke said of Taylor via Zoom. “So we really need to keep our eyes on him and make sure he’s ready when we activate him.”

As for Rodriguez, the Venezuela native was originally supposed to be Boston’s Opening Day starter, but that responsibility has since been handed over to Nathan Eovaldi now that Rodriguez will begin the season on the IL. That does not necessarily mean that the 19-game winner from a year ago will miss too much time though, according to Roenicke.

“When [Rodriguez is] ready, when he starts throwing his bullpens — he’ll do some up and down bullpens — and when (pitching coach) Dave (Bush) thinks he’s ready we’ll start doing the simulated games and the live BPs,” said the Sox skipper. “Doesn’t mean he has to get his pitch count up to 85 or anything. If he’s feeling good and we think we can do this in-season, maybe he throws four innings (in a real game) and we think his four innings are going to be better than somebody else’s.”

Because of how “unsettled” their starting rotation is, as chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom put it, Rodriguez would certainly be a welcome addition to the Sox’ pitching staff whenever he is ready to return to game action.

 

Red Sox Place Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor on 10-Day Injured List Following Positive COVID-19 Tests

In case you missed it from earlier, the Red Sox placed three pitchers — Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez, on the 10-day injured list on Wednesday.

The reason this trio of left-handers were placed on the IL has nothing do with physical ailments, however.

As you may recall, Rodriguez, Hernandez, and Taylor, as well as top prospect Bobby Dalbec, all tested positive for COVID-19 within the last few weeks. It’s unknown if these four are the only Red Sox players to test positive for the virus, but they are the ones who gave the club permission to reveal their names to the public.

Dalbec has since been cleared to report to Summer Camp at Fenway Park and arrived in Boston over the weekend. The pitchers are a different story, though, as Rodriguez is still at home in Miami, Hernandez is still at home in Venezuela, and Taylor is still self-isolating at a Boston hotel.

Rodriguez, entering his sixth fifth season with the Sox, was pegged to be the team’s Opening Day starter for next week’s season opener against the Baltimore Orioles. It now looks like that responsibility will be handed over to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.

Hernandez and Taylor, meanwhile, proved to be two key cogs for Boston’s bullpen in their rookie seasons in 2019, and will likely not be available for the start of the 2020 campaign depending on how things go in the coming days.

Red Sox COVID-19 Updates: Bobby Dalbec Cleared to Play, Will Be at Fenway Park on Sunday

Four days after it was announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19, Red Sox power-hitting prospect Bobby Dalbec has been cleared to once again return to baseball activities, manager Ron Roenicke announced Saturday.

Per Roenicke, Dalbec worked out at the club’s alternate training site at Boston College’s Brighton campus on Saturday and the plan is for him to report to Fenway Park on Sunday.

“He hasn’t done much for a couple weeks so we went pretty slow with him,” Roenicke said in regards to what Dalbec has been up to lately. “Just hit some ground balls to him. He threw a little bit and then took some soft toss swings in the cage. He will join us tomorrow.”

Thus far, the Red Sox have announced that four players — Dalbec, Eduardo Rodriguez, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor — have tested positive for coronavirus. Dalbec had been feeling asymptomatic though, so it would appear that he has tested negative for the virus twice within a 24-hour span while also going 72 hours without a fever, as per Major League Baseball’s testing protocols.

Dalbec, who turned 25 last month, is regarded by MLB Pipeline as Boston’s No. 3 prospect behind Jeter Downs and Triston Casas.

The former Arizona Wildcat, selected by the Sox in the fourth round of the 2016 first-year player draft, was included on the club’s initial 47-man Summer Camp player pool.

Capable of playing both corner infield positions, Dalbec’s path to the majors is currenty blocked by the likes of Rafael Devers, Mitch Moreland, and so on. Because of that, he will likely start the 2020 season as a member of the Red Sox taxi squad in Pawtucket.

As for the other three players who have tested positive for COVID-19, Rodriguez remains at his Miami home, Hernandez is currently in Venezuela, and Taylor is self-isolating at a hotel in Boston. In other words, Dalbec is the first of the bunch to be cleared to return to the team.

Red Sox’ Eduardo Rodriguez, Bobby Dalbec Test Positive for COVID-19

Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and first/third baseman Bobby Dalbec have tested positive for COVID-19, manager Ron Roenicke announced Tuesday.

Per Roenicke, Rodriguez is feeling better and still believes he can be ready for the start of the 2020 season.

“Rodriguez wants to be ready for Opening Day but we’ll have to see how it goes,” the Sox skipper told reporters via Zoom. “The medical team will follow him, give him instructions.”

For the time being, the 27-year-old will remain at home in Miami, where he was orginally exposed to the virus, before traveling to Boston.

As for Dalbec, Boston’s top power-hitting prospect had yet to work out with the team at Fenway Park for the start of Summer Camp, and now we know why that is.

By testing positive for COVID-19, Rodriguez and Dalbec join left-handers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor as Red Sox players who have contracted the virus. There could still be additional players who have tested positive, but these four have given permission to the Red Sox for their names to be revealed to the public.

According to MLB’s COVID-19 testing protocols, “Players testing positive must quarantine for two weeks and then must be free of symptoms and test negative twice before rejoining their clubs.”

Red Sox’ Bobby Dalbec Not Yet Working Out With Team at Summer Camp

Power-hitting prospect Bobby Dalbec has yet to participate in Red Sox Summer Camp, according to manager Ron Roenicke.

Per Roenicke, “There is still some intake things [the Red Sox] need to do with him.”

Although Roenicke could not further specify on this, it seems that there are at least two possibilities as to why Dalbec has been absent from Summer Camp thus far. The first of those being that the Sox are still waiting for the 25-year-old’s COVID-19 test results to come back from Salt Lake City; the second being that he tested positive for COVID-19 and did not give the team permission to reveal his name.

I don’t want to speculate on this, but if Dalbec is placed on the 10-day injured list anytime soon, it would seem as though the slugging first/third baseman did indeed test positive for coronavirus.

So far, the Red Sox have revealed that at least two players have tested positive for COVID-19 in left-handers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor. Hernandez got it while at home in Venezuela, while Taylor is currently self-isolating at a Boston hotel.

In addition to that, Roenicke did tell reporters Monday that the Sox “still have a couple potential COVID cases that are pending.”

Red Sox Left-Handers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor Test Positive for COVID-19

Left-handers Darwinzon Hernandez and Josh Taylor have tested positive for COVID-19, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke announced earlier Saturday.

Per Roenicke, Taylor tested positive during intake screening at Fenway Park earlier this week and is currently isolated from the team at a hotel in Boston. Hernandez, meanwhile, tested positive while at home in Venezuela and has yet to report to Fenway for the start of Summer Camp.

Also worth noting, Roenicke declined to comment on whether either pitcher was exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, but he did say that Taylor “is a little bit further ahead in terms of when he contracted the virus.

Because of their positive tests, both Hernandez and Taylor may have to miss the start of the 2020 season, which would be a significant blow to Roenicke and the Red Sox bullpen considering how effective the pair of left-handed hurlers were for Boston in their rookie campaigns last year.

There could be even more Red Sox players who have tested positive for COVID-19. As MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo notes, the only reason Roencike was able to name Hernandez and Taylor on Saturday was because both pitchers gave him permission to. The team is also awaiting the results of Eduardo Rodriguez’s test.

Brian Johnson Tosses Three Innings as Red Sox Win Third Straight

After squeaking past the Braves on Monday night, the Red Sox won their third consecutive one-run contest on Tuesday, as they topped the St. Louis Cardinals by a final score of 3-2 at JetBlue Park to improve to 8-10-2 in Grapefruit League play.

Making his second start and fifth overall appearance of the spring for Boston was Brian Johnson, who recently survived the second round of roster cuts as a non-roster invitee over the weekend.

Working the first three innings on Tuesday, the left-hander yielded two runs, both of which were earned, on three hits and three walks to go along with one strikeout on the afternoon.

Those two Cardinals tallies came on one swing of the bat right away in the top half of the first inning of this one, when after loading the bases with two outs in the frame, Johnson served up a two-run single to Brad Miller to put his side in an early hole.

Other than that one blip though, the 29-year-old fanned Harrison Bader to retire the side in the first before sitting down four of the final six hitters he faced.

Johnson’s next outing could come within the next few days depending on whether or not he pitches out of the bullpen.

In relief of Johnson, fellow left-hander Josh Taylor got the call in the fourth for his fourth appearance of the spring, and he worked a 1-2-3 inning.

From there, Matt Barnes punched out the side in a perfect fifth, Colten Brewer fanned three and scattered one hit over 2 2/3 innings of work to eventually pick up the winning decision, and Robinson Leyer recorded the final out of the eighth before stranding the tying run at third in a scoreless ninth to secure the 3-2 victory.

On the other side of things, a Red Sox starting lineup that featured Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, Kevin Pillar, Christian Vazquez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Jonathan Arauz was matched up against a formidable opponent in Cardinals ace right-hander Jack Flaherty to begin things on Tuesday.

Despite getting on base five times against him through the first three innings, nothing came against Flaherty. In fact, it wasn’t until Flaherty’s first inning off the mound when the Boston bats got it going.

There, in their second trip through the lineup, Pillar led things off against new Cardinals reliever Johan Oviedo with a double off the left field wall. Vazquez followed with a two-base hit of his own, this one plating Pillar to cut the two-run deficit in half at 2-1.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Jantzen Witte came up to the plate with the bases loaded ahead of him, and he delivered in his lone plate appearance by plating two of those runners on a rwo-run single down the right field line.

That base hit drove in both Pillar and De La Guerra to put the Red Sox ahead 3-2, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

Some observations from this win:

Xander Bogaerts is 0-for-his-first-12 with seven strikeouts so far this spring.

Kevin Pillar, meanwhile, has a .932 OPS through his first 29 plate appearances this spring.

Jonathan Lucroy on Tuesday: 0-for-1 with one walk. Kevin Plawecki did not play.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s another game under the lights against the Rays in Port Charlotte on Wednesday.

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will get the start for Boston, while right-hander Dylan Covey will do the same for Tampa Bay.

Rodriguez is coming off an outing in which he fanned four over four two-run innings against the Braves last Friday.

Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, and Austin Brice are also expected to pitch.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 6:35 PM EDT on NESN.

Rafael Devers Homers but Red Sox Pitching Falters in 9-1 Loss to Yankees

After enduring their second tie of the spring to kick off the first week of March on Monday, the Red Sox fell to 4-6-2 in Grapefruit League play on Tuesday following a 9-1 defeat at the hands of the New York Yankees in Tampa Bay.

Making his second start of the season for Boston was Martin Perez, coming off two one-run innings in his last time out against the Pirates last Wednesday.

Working just 2/3 of an inning this time around, the left-hander was eventually charged with six runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits and one walk to go along with no strikeouts on the afternoon.

Those numbers certainly don’t look encouraging, but it’s difficult to place all the blame on Perez when the reality of the situation is that he gave up a fair amount of soft contact and endured some bad luck thanks to the defense behind him.

The 28-year-old wound up facing the first eight hitters in the Yankees lineup and finished with a final pitch count of 34 before being pulled by interim manager Ron Roenicke. His third start of the spring should come against the Twins on Sunday.

Turning to the bullpen earlier than they would have liked to, minor-league right-hander Hunter Haworth inherited a messy situation with one out still to get and the bases full.

A wild pitch to begin his outing allowed that runner on third, Luke Voit, to easily score, and the bases were re-filled once more following a walk of Clint Frazier.

A hard-hit single off the bat of D.J. LeMahieu plated another two runs, and just like that, the Yankees had themselves a 6-0 lead before Haworth was able to retire the side in what turned out to be a 39-minute first inning.

From there, Haworth sat down the side in order in the bottom half of the second, left-hander Josh Taylor served up a solo homer to Gio Urshela in the third and worked a scoreless fourth, Austin Brice fanned two in a clean fifth, Josh Osich stranded the bases loaded in the sixth, Domingo Tapia allowed one run on two hits, one walk, and an RBI forceout in the seventh, and R.J. Alvarez surrendered another run on three hits and a walk in the eighth.

All in all, Sox pitching combined to give up nine runs (four earned) on 13 hits and seven walks to go along with eight total strikeouts over eight innings of work.

On the other side of things, a Red Sox starting lineup that featured Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Michael Chavis, Jonathan Lucroy, Jose Peraza, Tzu-Wei Lin, C.J. Chatham, Jarren Duran, and John Andreoli was matched up against a familiar opponent in Yankees veteran right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to begin things on Tuesday.

Going down by six runs before even taking their second at-bats of the day had to be a kick in the gut, and the only offense generated by Boston came courtesy of Rafael Devers in the top half of the fourth inning.

There, facing off against new Yankees reliever Clarke Schmidt, the 23-year-old led the frame off by crushing a fastball to deep center for his second home run of the spring.

That solo blast cut the Yankees’ advantage down to six runs at 7-1, but that was all the Sox could muster in an eventual 9-1 loss.

Some observations from this defeat:

Andrew Benintendi, in his return to the lineup on Tuesday: 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Jonathan Lucroy on Tuesday: 0-for-2 with a few mishaps behind the plate. Kevin Plawecki did not play.

Tzu-Wei Lin was pulled early due to tightness in his left hamstring. Cole Sturgeon took over for him.

I won’t post the numbers, but Austin Brice has looked pretty decent through three spring appearances out of the bullpen.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the Detroit Tigers at JetBlue Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs will get the start for Boston, while right-hander Ivan Nova will do the same for Detroit.

Springs, 27, could be a viable option to serve as an opener given the current state of the Red Sox’ starting rotation. Speaking of which, an update regarding the status of Chris Sale should be available Wednesday morning, so stay tuned for that.

In regards to Tuesday’s game, first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM EST. It will not be televised.