Red Sox’ Kutter Crawford will eventually join Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation after getting sent down on Saturday

In a series of roster moves made on Saturday, the Red Sox optioned right-hander Kutter Crawford to Triple-A Worcester.

Crawford, 26, was a surprising addition to Boston’s Opening Day roster after striking out 10 of the 20 batters he faced during spring training. Traditionally a starter since being selected by the Sox in the 16th round of the 2017 amateur draft, the Florida Gulf Coast University product earned a spot on the big-league club as a reliever.

In eight appearances out of the Red Sox bullpen, Crawford posted an 8.44 ERA and 5.20 FIP to go along with 14 strikeouts to eight walks over 10 2/3 total innings of work. The righty had pitched just three times this month, so he was an obvious candidate to get sent down on Saturday with Rich Hill getting activated from the COVID-19 related injured list.

By sending him down to Worcester, the Sox are not only allowing Crawford to pitch on a more frequent basis; they also want him to get back into the swing of things as a starting pitcher.

“This is a kid we really like and he needs to pitch,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Saturday afternoon. “Obviously where we’re at right now roster-wise, we are where we’re at. I’m not sure if he’s going to start this week but we’ll make sure he goes multiple innings. At one point he’s going to start and we’re going to let him start and keep developing him.”

Before the 2022 season began, all but one of Crawford’s 67 appearances in the minor-leagues went for starts. He also made his major-league debut as a starter against the Cleveland Guardians at Fenway Park last September.

Upon earning a promotion from Double-A Portland to Worcester last July, Crawford made 10 appearances (nine starts) for the WooSox while fanning 32.1% and walking 7.2% of the opposing hitters he faced at the Triple-A level.

So far this year at the big-league level, Crawford has seen his strikeout rate dip to 25.5% and his walk rate rise to 14.5%. This is something the Red Sox would like to see the 6-foot-1, 209 pound hurler work on in his second stint with the WooSox.

“Out of character are the walks,” said Cora. “This kid, he’s been a strike thrower his whole career. And that’s what everybody was talking about in spring training. It wasn’t easy to get him innings. Obviously you see the games we have played the whole season. They’re close games. I know he can do the job but we wanted him to go multiple innings and it wasn’t easy to get him the innings. So I do believe for now and obviously the future, it’s the best move.”

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Rich Hill from COVID-19 related injured list, option Kutter Crawford to Triple-A Worcester and designate Jaylin Davis for assignment

Before going for a series win over the Rangers at Globe Field on Saturday night, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, left-hander Rich Hill was reinstated from the COVID-19 related injured list. In order to make room for Hill on the major-league roster, right-hander Kutter Crawford was optioned to Triple-A Worcester. Additionally, outfielder Jaylin Davis was designated for assignment, the club announced.

Hill had been on the COVID IL since May 6 after testing positive for the virus. The 42-year-old southpaw rejoined the Red Sox in Arlington on Friday and is slated to make his sixth start of the season against the Rangers on Saturday.

Through his first five outings of the year, Hill has posted a 2.86 ERA and 3.86 FIP to go along with 17 strikeouts to seven walks over 22 innings pitched. Saturday will mark his second career start at the relatively new Globe Life Field.

Crawford, on the other hand, has pitched just two times in the last nine days and was a clear candidate to get sent down. A surprise addition to Boston’s Opening Day roster last month, the 26-year-old showed impressive stuff out of the bullpen but also put up an 8.44 ERA and 5.20 FIP with 14 strikeouts and eight walks across eight relief appearances spanning 10 2/3 innings of work.

Despite demoting him on Saturday, the Red Sox will likely call upon Crawford once again at some point later this season. In the meantime, the hard-throwing righty will get the chance to pitch on a more regular basis in Worcester.

As for Davis, Boston originally claimed the 27-year-old off waivers from the Giants on April 28 and optioned him to Worcester. The following day, though, Davis was called up from Triple-A and later made his Red Sox debut on April 30 against the Orioles in Baltimore. The right-handed hitter went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and two strikeouts before getting sent back down on May 2.

In nine games with the WooSox, Davis slashed .200/.194/.367 with one home run and three RBIs over 31 trips to the plate while seeing playing time at both corner outfield positions. The Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, release or waive Davis, who has one minor-league option remaining.

By designating Davis for assignment, the Sox were able to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for right-handed reliever John Schreiber, who was already on the big-league roster but only as a COVID-related substitute.

Schreiber has impressed out of the Boston bullpen while earning the trust of manager Alex Cora. The 28-year-old has yet to allow an earned run over six relief appearances (7 innings pitched) so far this season.

Following Saturday’s flurry of moves, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is now full.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta allows just 1 run over 7 strong innings as Red Sox take series opener from Rangers with 7-1 win

The Red Sox opened the final leg of their road trip with a 7-1 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Field on Friday night. By defeating Texas to kick off the weekend, Boston improved to 12-20 on the season.

Matched up against Rangers starter Dane Dunning to begin things on Friday, the Sox drew first blood in the third inning when Enrique Hernandez drew a two-out walk. A wild pitch allowed Hernandez to advance to second base, and he immediately scored from second on a softly-hit RBI single off the bat of Rafael Devers.

Devers extended his hitting streak to seven consecutive games while giving the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead. Hernandez, on the other hand, picked up where he left off in the bottom of the third by recording all three outs in center field, including a sprawling grab into the right-center gap on a 106.9 mph line drive from Nick Solak that had an expected batting average of .930.

Fast forward to the sixth inning, and J.D. Martinez ignited a three-run rally by extending his hitting streak to 14 straight games with a one-out single to left field. Xander Bogaerts followed with a single of his own to put runners at first and second for Alex Verdugo, who kept the line moving by ripping an RBI double 354 feet to right field.

Verdugo’s 103 mph laser brought in Martinez and advanced Bogaerts to third. Trevor Story, the hometown kid, then pushed across Bogaerts on a sacrifice fly while Verdugo scored on an RBI double off the bat of Franchy Cordero that was sent down the right field line.

Following a pitching change that saw Brett Martin take over for Dunning, Cordero moved up to third on a wild pitch before Vazquez greeted the new Rangers reliever by lacing a run-scoring single to right. Cordero scored on the play and, by doing so, capped off a four-run inning that put the Sox up 5-0.

In the seventh, with old friend Garrett Richards on the mound for Texas, the Boston lineup tacked on two more runs. Devers reached base via a fielder’s choice and moved up to third on a ground-rule double from Martinez. Both Devers and Martinez scored on a two-run single from Bogaerts that gave the Red Sox a commanding 7-0 lead heading into the seventh-inning stretch.

To that point in the contest, Nick Pivetta was squarely in command in what was his seventh start of the season for the Sox. As was the case in his last time out, the right-hander impressed by allowing just one earned run on three hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over seven impressive innings of work.

Pivetta retired 18 of the first 21 batters he faced leading up until the middle of the seventh. The righty surrendered a one-out triple to Kole Calhoun. He then scored from third on a wild pitch while Nathaniel Lowe was at the plate for his side’s first run of the night.

That was Pivetta’s one and only blemish. The 29-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 85 (61 strikes) while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.08.

In relief of Pivetta, Kutter Crawford received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora beginning in the eighth inning. Crawford, making his first appearance out of the ‘pen in over a week, worked a pair of scoreless frames to close out the 7-1 victory.

Some notes from this win:

Moments before doubling in the sixth inning, Alex Verdugo took a foul ball off his right foot. The outfielder was obviously able to remain in the game, but was pinch-hit for by Bobby Dalbec in the top of the seventh. He was later diagnosed with a right foot contusion.

The Red Sox are now 10-5 when scoring four or more runs this season. They went 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Friday.

Enrique Hernandez reached base four times out of the leadoff spot with one hit, two walks, and one pitch off his left shoulder.

Next up: Hill vs. Otto

The Red Sox will go for the series victory over the Rangers on Saturday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill is expected to come off the COVID-19 related injured list and take the mound for Boston while Texas will turn to right-hander Glenn Otto.

First pitch from Globe Life Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN+.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck from restricted list, add Franchy Cordero and Jaylin Davis from Triple-A Worcester in slew of roster moves

Before opening up a three-game weekend series against the Orioles at Camden Yards on Friday night, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, right-handers Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck were both activated from the restricted list. Secondly, outfielder Jaylin Davis was recalled from Triple-A Worcester and fellow outfielder Franchy Cordero had his contract selected from Worcester.

In order to make room for these four on the major-league roster, right-handers Tyler Danish and John Schreiber were sent down to Triple-A Worcester while infielder Travis Shaw was designated for assignment, the club announced.

Crawford and Houck return from the restricted list after both were placed on it this past Monday. Neither pitcher was eligible to pitch in the Sox’ last series against the Blue Jays in Toronto due to their unvaccinated status. Houck will piggyback Rich Hill, who will be making his fourth start of the season for Boston on Friday.

Davis, who was claimed off waivers from the Giants and immediately optioned to Worcester on Thursday, will join the Red Sox for his first big-league stint of 2022. The right-handed hitting 27-year-old began the season with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento and batted .295/.340/.500 with two home runs and seven RBIs over 10 games spanning 47 plate appearances. He will wear the No. 43 with his new team.

Joining Davis from Worcester is Cordero, who appeared in 48 games with the Sox last season but was designated for assignment in October. After remaining in the organization through the winter, the 27-year-old opened the 2022 season with the WooSox and has since slashed .296/.378/.535 with eight doubles, three home runs, 24 RBIs, 13 runs scored, one stolen base, 10 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 19 games (82 plate appearances) at the Triple-A level. He will start at first base and bat sixth for Boston in Friday’s series opener against Baltimore.

Danish and Schreiber were both added from Worcester when Crawford and Houck were placed on the restricted list earlier this week. Danish has made four appearances with the Red Sox so far this season and has posted a 3.86 ERA with six strikeouts to two walks over 4 2/3 total innings of work. Schreiber, on the other hand, pitched on both Wednesday and Thursday. The 28-year-old righty retired seven of the eight batters he faced across 2 1/3 scoreless frames.

Refsnyder, meanwhile, was first called up from Worcester after catcher Christian Vazquez and infielder Jonathan Arauz were placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on April 19. The 31-year-old made his Red Sox debut four days later and went 2-for-5 (.400) with two doubles, one RBI, and one walk in the three games he appeared in.

Since they were COVID substitutes, both Refsnyder and Schreiber were taken off the Sox’ 40-man roster and returned to the WooSox without having to be exposed to waivers.

As for Shaw, the veteran infielder effectively lost his spot on the major-league roster to Cordero after an 0-for-19 start to the plate this season. The Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Shaw.

(Picture of Franchy Cordero: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck on restricted list, add Tyler Danish and John Schreiber from Triple-A Worcester

Before opening a four-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Monday, the Red Sox placed right-handers Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck on the restricted list. To take their place on the roster, fellow righties Tyler Danish and John Schreiber were called up from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Both Crawford and Houck are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and therefore cannot travel to Canada. The two hurlers have accounted for approximately 16% of the 142 2/3 Red Sox pitchers have thrown so far this season, but will be unavailable for the team’s next four games at Rogers Centre.

While on the restricted list, neither Crawford or Houck will accrue service time nor receive pay. They will not count against Boston’s 40-man roster, either.

Houck, who opened the season in the Sox’ starting rotation, pitched out of the bullpen in Sunday’s loss to the Rays since he was not going to be able to make his next scheduled start in Toronto on Tuesday. Instead of starting against the Blue Jays, the 25-year-old will likely take the mound against the Orioles in Baltimore on Friday.

Crawford, on the other hand, made his first career Opening Day roster earlier this month and has primarily been used by Boston as a multi-inning reliever. The 26-year-old owns a 9.00 ERA to go along with 11 strikeouts to six walks through his first five appearances and seven innings pitched of the 2022 season. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, he is a candidate to be optioned to Worcester when rosters shrink from 28 to 26 players on May 2.

As far as the additions the Red Sox made on Monday, Danish re-joins the team after being sent down to the minors on Sunday. The 27-year-old has made two relief appearances for Boston this year and has yet to allow a run over three scoreless innings. He has also struck out five and walked two of the 10 batters he has faced thus far.

Schreiber, meanwhile, made his Red Sox debut last season while the club was navigating its way through a COVID-19 outbreak. In his lone big-league appearance of 2021, the righty yielded one run over three innings of relief against Cleveland on September 5.

With the WooSox this season, Schreiber has pitched to the tune of a 1.74 ERA and 2.94 xFIP with 13 strikeouts and just two walks across five appearances spanning 10 1/3 innings of work.

Because he is taking the spot of a player on the restricted list, Schreiber will be removed from the 40-man roster and returned to Worcester once this series against the Blue Jays has concluded.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox break up no-hitter in 10th inning, then get walked off on by Kevin Kiermaier in wild 3-2 loss to Rays

The Red Sox delivered a late birthday present to Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier on Saturday night. Kiermaier, who turned 32 on Friday, crushed a two-run walk-off home run off Hansel Robles in the 10th inning to lift Tampa Bay to a stunning 3-2 win over Boston at Tropicana Field.

With the loss, the Sox fall to 7-8 on the season. They have not won consecutive ballgames since April 16-17.

Garrett Whitlock, making his first start and fifth overall appearance of the year, absolutely dominated the Rays’ lineup. In what was his first career big-league start, the right-hander yielded just one hit and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over four scoreless, near-perfect innings of work.

After taking a perfect game into the fourth inning, Whitlock gave up a leadoff double to Brandon Lowe. He then stranded Lowe at second base by retiring the final three batters he faced in order. The 25-year-old finished with a final pitch count of 48 (33 strikes) and turned to his sinker 58% of the time he was on the mound.

In relief of Whitlock, Austin Davis received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from acting manager Will Venable. The left-hander maneuvered his way around a two-out walk in an otherwise clean frame before making way for Kutter Crawford, who twirled three scoreless innings of his own while striking out five.

Tyler Danish walked the first batter he faced in the ninth to put the potential winning run on base, but left him there to send this 0-0 game into extra innings.

To that point in the contest, the Red Sox lineup had been no-hit by six different Rays pitchers in J.P. Feyereisen, Javy Guerra, Jeffrey Springs, Jason Adam, Ryan Thompson, and Andrew Kittredge. They reached base six times over that stretch via five walks and a fielding error, but were unable to do anything with those base runners.

In the top of the 10th, Matt Wisler took over for Kittredge and Jackie Bradley Jr. became the automatic runner at second base. On the third pitch he saw from Wisler, an 0-2 slider, Bobby Dalbec came through in the clutch by lacing an RBI triple down the right field line.

Dalbec’s 322-foot foot triple left his bat at 97.1 mph. It also provided the Sox with their first hit of the night and drove in Bradley Jr. to give them a late 1-0 lead. Dalbec then scored on a Christian Vazquez sacrifice fly to double that advantage to 2-0.

That sequence led to Venable going with Robles in the bottom half of the 10th. With Randy Arozarena at second base and the potential tying run at the plate, Robles fanned Ji-Man Choi and Josh Lowe for the first two outs of the inning.

A balk from Robles allowed Arozarena to advance to third. With the Rays down to their final out, Taylor Walls reached base on a throwing error committed by Trevor Story and Arozarena scored to cut Tampa Bay’s deficit to one.

Robles then fell behind in the count against Kiermaier and served up the game-winning, two-run homer on a 96 mph four-seamer down the heart of the plate. Kiermaier deposited it 372 feet into the right field seats to send the Rays home with a come-from-behind victory.

Next up: Hill vs. McClanahan in rubber match

Despite losing in heartbreaking fashion, the Red Sox still have a chance to win this three-game series against the Rays on Sunday afternoon. Boston will turn to left-hander Rich Hill as he makes his return from the bereavement list in the series finale. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, will roll with fellow southpaw Shane McClanahan.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Hansel Robles and Kevin Kiermaier: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Rich Hill gives up pair of 2-run home runs as Red Sox drop series finale to Twins, 8-3, on Patriots’ Day

The Red Sox fell behind early and could never recover in an 8-3 loss to the Twins at Fenway Park on Marathon Monday. By dropping the finale, Boston split its four-game series with Minnesota and are now 5-5 on the young season.

Rich Hill, making his second start of the year for the Sox, could not go deeper than five innings once again. Pitching for the first time since his father, Lloyd, passed away last week, the veteran left-hander allowed four earned runs on six hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts over just 4 2/3 innings of work.

All four runs Hill surrendered on Monday came by way of the long ball. Kyle Garlick got the Twins on the board first by crushing a two-run home run off Hill that was reviewed and upheld with two outs in the first inning.

Two innings later, Hill yielded a leadoff single to Gilberto Celestino that was immediately followed by a two-run blast off the bat of Jorge Polanco to give the Twins a 4-0 advantage.

Hill settled in a bit and retired seven of eight at one point, but his day came to a close after giving up a two-out single to Gio Urshela in the top of the fifth. Finishing with a final pitch count of 80 (55 strikes), the 42-year-old southpaw threw 39 curveballs and 33 four-seam fastballs on Monday. He induced all four of his swings-and-misses with the former and averaged 87.4 mph with the latter.

In relief of Hill, Phillips Valdez received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. Valdez stranded the lone runner he inherited in the top of the fifth before the Boston lineup finally got something going on their end in the bottom half.

Held in check by Twins starter Dylan Bundy to that point in the contest, Alex Verdugo led things off by drilling a line-drive double to left field and advancing to third base on a Christian Arroyo single. Arroyo tagged up to second before Verdugo scored from third on an RBI groundout off the bat of Christian Vazquez.

Valdez picked up where he left off in the sixth by retiring the side in order. The Sox then threatened in the bottom of the frame, as Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts both reached base to put runners at second and third with only one out.

Following a Minnesota pitching change that saw Joe Smith take over for Dylan Bundy, Devers was tagged out between third and home after J.D. Martinez reached first on a fielder’s choice. The Twins then elected to intentionally walk Verdugo to load the bases for Arroyo, who flew out to center field to extinguish the threat.

Kutter Crawford came on for Valdez in the seventh inning and worked his way around a walk and base hit. Vazquez greeted new Twins reliever Jhoan Duran in the latter half by mashing a 390-foot solo shot over the Green Monster.

Vazquez’s first home run of the season trimmed Boston’s deficit down to two runs at 4-2. Things got away from the Sox in the eighth, though, as Crawford struggled with his command, allowed a run to score on a wild pitch, and walked the bases loaded with two outs.

Polanco broke this one open with a two-run single to right field before Crawford got the hook in favor of Hirokazu Sawamura, who spiked a wild pitch of his own that gave the Twins an 8-2 lead.

By the time the final out of the eighth was recorded, Minnesota had already pushed across four runs. Crawford, meanwhile, walked four batters in the eighth and five altogether over 1 2/3 innings pitched on Monday.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Vazquez scored on Bogaerts’ third hit of the game: an RBI single off Griffin Jax. It was too little, too late for the Sox, though, as they fell to the Twins by a final score of 8-3.

Some notes from this Patriots’ Day loss:

The Red Sox went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position on Monday and left 10 runners on base as a team.

Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo, and Jackie Bradley Jr. combined for seven of Boston’s 11 hits.

Phillips Valdez has yet to allow a run through his first four appearances and five innings pitched this season.

Next up: Bring on the Blue Jays

The Red Sox will welcome the Blue Jays into town for the first time this season on Tuesday night. In the first of a three-game series between the division rivals, it will be right-hander Nathan Eovaldi getting the ball for Boston and fellow righty Yusei Kikuchi doing the same for Toronto.

First pitch from Fenway Park on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec comes through with go-ahead homer as Red Sox hold on for 4-3 win over Yankees to avoid sweep

The Red Sox will not be starting 0-3 for a second consecutive year, as they squeaked out a 4-3 win over the Yankees in the Bronx on Sunday night to avoid a sweep and improve to 1-2 on the young season.

Matched up against Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery to begin things in Sunday’s series finale, the Sox once again got on the board in their half of the first inning.

Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts each reached base via one-out singles, and both scored on a J.D. Martinez RBI double that was followed by a sacrifice fly from Christian Arroyo.

In possession of an early 2-0 lead, Sox starter Tanner Houck had an immediate cushion to work with. The right-hander was not at his sharpest on Sunday, though, as he allowed three earned runs on six hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with three strikeouts over just 3 1/3 innings pitched.

The first of those three runs scored off Houck came with no outs in the bottom of the third, when Giancarlo Stanton plated Anthony Rizzo from second base to cut Boston’s lead in half at 2-1.

After Jonathan Arauz got that run back on a sacrifice fly off Yankees reliever Clarke Schmidt that scored Arroyo in the top half of the fourth, New York struck again in the latter half of the frame.

There, Houck issued back-to-back leadoff hits to Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino to put runners at first and second. He then punched out Josh Donaldson, who turned out to be the final batter he would face.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 78 (45 strikes), Houck turned to his four-seam fastball 45% of the time he was on the mound Sunday and hovered around 95.4 mph with the pitch.

In relief of Houck, Ryan Brasier got the first call from manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen. Brasier, in turn, allowed both of the runners he inherited to score on a then-game-tying two-run single from Rizzo.

Kutter Crawford was next up in the fifth inning and impressed in his second appearance of the season. The 26-year-old righty stranded a pair of runners in scoring position in the fifth before striking out Rizzo and Aaron Judge in a scoreless sixth.

Moments before Crawford did that, Bobby Dalbec broke the 3-3 tie by cranking his first home run of the season off Schmidt. It came on the very first pitch of the sixth inning, a 94 mph sinker down the heart of the plate that Dalbec deposited 391 feet to right-center field to give the Red Sox a 4-3 advantage.

In the seventh, Crawford yielded a leadoff single to Stanton, representing the potential tying run, before making way for Matt Strahm. The left-hander proceeded to strand Stanton at first base by retiring the next three Yankees he faced in order.

From there, Hansel Robles maneuvered his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise clean eighth inning. And in the ninth, Jake Diekman got his outing started in dramatic fashion by fanning the dangerous Judge on 11 pitches. He then got Stanton and Joey Gallo to strike out swinging as well to lock down his first save in a Red Sox uniform.

All told, five different Boston relievers (Brasier, Crawford, Strahm, Robles, Diekman), combined for 5 2/3 scoreless innings in which they scattered five hits and one walk while striking out a total of six.

Crawford, for what it’s worth, was credited with the winning decision — the first of his young career.

Some other notes from this victory:

From the Red Sox’ J.P. Long:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

Next up: To Detroit

The Red Sox will continue their season-opening road trip by heading to Detroit for a three-game set against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to make his first start of the year for Boston in the series opener on Monday. Detroit will roll with fellow righty Matt Manning.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Kutter Crawford makes Red Sox’ Opening Day roster

Kutter Crawford has made the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster, manager Alex Cora announced earlier Monday morning. The right-hander will be one of 15 pitchers Boston carries on its 28-man roster to begin the 2022 season and will be available out of the bullpen for Thursday’s opener against the Yankees in the Bronx.

Crawford, who turned 26 last week, was originally selected by the Sox in the 16th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University. The Florida native came into the year regarded by Baseball America as the No. 15 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking eighth among pitchers in the organization.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2019 and missing all of 2020 as a result, Crawford put himself on the map last season by throwing harder and limiting his walks.

While the Red Sox were navigating their way through a COVID-19 outbreak in September, Crawford was called up from Triple-A Worcester to start in place of Nick Pivetta on Sept. 5. His big-league debut did not go as planned (5 earned runs in 2 innings pitched), but the righty continued to make strides upon being returned to Worcester and was ultimately added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

On the heels of an off-season in which he posted a 0.42 ERA over five starts (21 1/3 innings pitched) for Estrellas Orientales of the Dominican Winter League, Crawford received his first invite to major-league camp and has impressed the Red Sox this spring.

In three Grapefruit League appearances out of the Sox’ bullpen, Crawford has pitched to the tune of a 2.25 ERA to go along with eight strikeouts to just one walk across four innings of work. In his most recent outing against the Pirates on March 29, Crawford struck out five over two scoreless frames while sitting between 95-97 mph with his four-seam fastball.

Cora has previously acknowledged that in terms of stuff, Crawford is one of the best pitchers the Red Sox have. To complement his high-octane fastball, the 6-foot-1, 209 pound hurler also works with a cutter, a curveball, a sinker, and a changeup.

Throughout his minor-league career, Crawford has primarily been used as a starter. The plan now, per Cora, is to use Crawford as a multi-inning reliever out of the bullpen beginning on Thursday.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Kutter Crawford in the mix for spot in Red Sox bullpen, Alex Cora says: ‘Stuff-wise, he’s one of the best that we have’

Although the Red Sox have optioned a number of their top prospects to the minor-leagues in recent days, Kutter Crawford remains at major-league camp and in the mix for an Opening Day bullpen spot, manager Alex Cora said Wednesday.

Crawford, who turns 26 on Friday, enters the 2022 season regarded by Baseball America as the No. 15 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks eighth among pitchers in the organization.

A former 16th-round draft pick out of Florida Gulf Coast University in 2017, Crawford made his major-league debut under unique circumstances with the Red Sox last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When Nick Pivetta was scratched from his start against the Guardians on September 5, Crawford was called up and started in his place. The right-hander had a forgettable debut, allowing five runs in two-plus innings.

The Red Sox removed Crawford from their 40-man roster and returned him to Triple-A Worcester the following day. Since he was filling in for a player on the COVID-19 related injured list, though, they did not have to expose him to waivers.

After closing out his 2021 season with the WooSox, Crawford was added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft, which wound up getting cancelled due to the lockout. He then spent part of his off-season pitching in the Dominican Winter League and posted a 0.42 ERA in five starts (21 1/3 innings pitched) for Estrellas Orientales.

Coming into the spring with his first invite to major-league camp in tow, Crawford has made the most of his time in Fort Myers thus far by pitching to the tune of a 2.25 ERA and striking out eight of the 16 batters he has faced over three Grapefruit League appearances.

In the Red Sox’ 6-2 loss to the Pirates in Bradenton on Tuesday, Crawford offered a glimpse of what could make him effective as a reliever at the big-league level. Over two scoreless innings of relief, the 25-year-old righty scattered just one hit and one walk while recording five strikeouts. Of the 38 pitches he threw, 24 went for strikes with his four-seam fastball hovering around 95-97 mph.

“He has good stuff,” Cora said. “He’s throwing 97 mph with a good cutter, good split. He’s in the mix.”

Crawford has primarily been a starter throughout his pro career; only one of his 67 appearances in the minors have been in relief. The Sox, however, believe Crawford can make the transition from starting rotation to the bullpen because of the arsenal he has.

“We’re trying to win ballgames, right?” said Cora. “And we’re going to try to take the best 28 [players] that fit the program right now. Let’s put it that way because, as you guys know, this isn’t the final product.”

With just over a week to go until Opening Day on April 7, Crawford still has some work to do before knowing if he will be traveling with the Red Sox to the Bronx or meeting up with the WooSox in Jacksonville for their first series of the season.

“We do believe that he’s good, really good,” Cora said. “Last year, that outing, he was ahead in the count 0-2 a lot of times and it just happened. But, stuff-wise, he’s one of the best that we have. So, we still have a week, he still has a few innings, and we’ll make decisions when we have to.”

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)