Red Sox activate J.D. Martinez from COVID-19 related injured list, option Michael Chavis

Before wrapping up a three-game weekend series against the Orioles on Sunday, the Red Sox reinstated designated hitter/outfielder J.D. Martinez from the COVID-19 related injured list and optioned infielder Michael Chavis to the alternate training site.

Martinez was initially placed on the COVID-related IL on Saturday after waking up with cold-like symptoms.

Because of those symptoms, the 33-year-old slugger had to enter MLB’s COVID-19 protocol, which required him to test negative twice before being cleared to return to baseball activities. He took both a rapid and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test.

In Martinez’s place, the Sox recalled Chavis, who was traveling with the team as part of their five-man taxi squad, from the alternate training site.

The 25-year-old was used as a pinch-runner in his 2021 debut on Saturday night, as he ran for Kevin Plawecki and was placed at second base to begin the top of the 10th inning.

He wound up scoring the go-ahead run after advancing to third on a flyout and coming into score from third on a wild pitch from Orioles reliever Dillon Tate.

While he was technically optioned to the alternate training site, Chavis will remain on the Red Sox’ taxi squad for the remainder of the team’s first road trip of the season.

Martinez, meanwhile, is starting at designated hitter and batting out of the three-hole for Boston as they go for their sixth straight win in their series finale against Baltimore.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place J.D. Martinez on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Michael Chavis

The Red Sox have placed designated hitter/outfielder J.D. Martinez on the COVID-19 related injured list, the team announced before Saturday’s game against the Orioles.

In a corresponding move, the Sox recalled infielder Michael Chavis from the alternate training site.

Martinez, 33, was initially held out of Saturday’s contest against Baltimore due to his feeling under the weather and experiencing cold symptoms.

Because of those symptoms, Martinez had to be placed in MLB’s COVID-19 protocol, which requires two negative COVID tests before he is cleared to return to baseball activities.

The three-time All-Star has already taken a rapid test and will need to take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test as well.

The Red Sox seem confident that Martinez only has a cold and will be ready to go on Sunday after testing negative twice.

“From our end, we do believe he’s going to be back with us tomorrow,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said during his pregame media availability on Saturday.

In Martinez’s place, Chavis has been called up from the Sox’ alternate training site. The 25-year-old infielder had been one of five players traveling with the team as part of their taxi squad for the first road trip of the season.

Catcher Chris Herrmann, outfielder Cesar Puello, and pitchers Colten Brewer and Ryan Weber are the other four players who comprise Boston’s taxi squad.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox taxi squad: Michael Chavis among 5 players traveling with team for first road trip of season

As the Red Sox prepare to begin their first road trip of the season, the club will be carrying five additional players with them as part of their taxi squad.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the five players that comprise Boston’s first taxi squad of the year are catcher Chris Herrmann, infielder Michael Chavis, outfielder Cesar Puello, and right-handers Colten Brewer and Ryan Weber.

These players, as Cotillo notes, “would be the first ones activated if someone on the 26-man active roster” gets hurt.

Per Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols for the 2021 season, clubs are allowed to carry up to five taxi squad players for each road trip this season. One of these players must be a catcher, which is where Herrmann comes in.

Additionally, players on a club’s taxi squad are allowed to work out with the major-league team before games, but are not allowed to be in uniform or in the dugout during games.

When the Red Sox return to Boston after completing their seven-game road trip against the Orioles and Twins next Thursday, the likes of Herrmann, Chavis, Puello, Brewer, and Weber will all return to the team’s alternate training site in Worcester, which is where they were to begin the year.

(Picture of Michael Chavis: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Michael Chavis upset about demotion to Worcester, but Alex Cora has no problem with that: ‘Nobody’s happy when they send you down’

Michael Chavis was informed on Tuesday that he would not be making the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster. He was instead optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Worcester, where he will be for the start of the 2021 season.

As it turns out, the 25-year-old was not exactly thrilled with that decision, especially after he put together a solid spring in which he slashed .250/.292/.600 with six home runs and 11 RBI over 25 games and 65 plate appearances.

Chavis had been competing with fellow infielder Christian Arroyo for one of the final spots on Boston’s Opening Day bench. Earlier in the spring, it looked like both Chavis and Arroyo had a chance to make the team, but outfielder Franchy Cordero being activated from the COVID-19 related injured list on Tuesday squashed any chance of that happening.

On top of that, Arroyo — who himself had a decent spring (.771 OPS in 55 PAs) — is out of minor-league options, while Chavis still has options remaining.

Taking those points into consideration, as well as the fact that the Sox like Arroyo’s versatility, Chavis did not stand much of a chance since he, too, is a right-handed hitting infielder.

“Both of them did an amazing job,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said about the pair of 25-year-olds on Tuesday. “They did a good job. Coming into the spring, I knew a little bit about Christian. I knew a lot about Michael. There’s a lot of circumstances that go into the decision. But one thing that we like about Christian, he can play short. We saw it throughout spring. He can do that.

“Michael, he made some strides, and we talked about it,” added Cora. “I’m glad that he was upset, because that’s part of it. Nobody’s happy when they send you down. But we talked about a few things that he needs to do to be the complete hitter that we know he can be.”

Despite putting up decent numbers on the Grapefruit League campaign as a whole, Chavis had been struggling at the plate as of late. In fact, he finishes his spring having gone 2-for-his-last-17 with no homers, one RBI, no walks, and eight strikeouts over his last eight games and 57 plate appearances.

In total, the Georgia native struck out 20 times in his 65 trips to the plate this spring. That translates to a strikeout rate of 30.8%, which is something that has plagued Chavis since making his big-league debut with the Sox in April 2019.

“I think at the end [of spring training], he didn’t control the strike zone,” Cora said. “He was very aggressive chasing pitches out of the zone. So now with his swing — he knows the boundaries of the strike zone up — now we have to make sure, ‘Hey, we’re going to drive pitches in the zone.’ So he’ll work on that.”

Cora, as he has over the course of the spring, emphasized that it takes more than 26 players to win a World Series and that making the Opening Day roster does not ensure any one player will remain on the team throughout the year.

He also pointed out how unexpected circumstances — such as ones caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — can change things in a hurry.

“We never know. We never know what can happen,” said the Sox skipper. “So [Chavis] needs to be ready. Not only him, all those kids down there. We know they can play and I think it will be good for him to go down and play everyday. That’s going to make him a better player.”

Players at the Red Sox’ alternate training site will make their way to Worcester this week before workouts at Polar Park begin on Thursday. From there, the Worcester Red Sox’ (Triple-A) season is slated to begin on May 4.

(Picture of Michael Chavis: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Franchy Cordero reinstated from COVID-19 injured list; Michael Chavis, Colten Brewer sent down to Worcester; John Schreiber designated for assignment

The Red Sox have reinstated outfielder Franchy Cordero from the COVID-19 related injured list, the team announced Tuesday morning.

In a corresponding move, right-hander John Schreiber was designated for assignment in order to make room for Cordero on the 40-man roster.

Additionally, both infielder Michael Chavis and right-hander Colten Brewer were optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Worcester.

Cordero being activated off the COVID-19 injured list most certainly means he will be good to go for Opening Day on Thursday.

Originally acquired from the Royals as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City, the 26-year-old has impressed thus far in Grapefruit League play.

Coming into Tuesday, Cordero is slashing .294/.333/.588 with one triple, one home run, and one RBI through his first six games and 18 plate appearances with the Sox. He played back-to-back games for the first time this spring on Sunday and Monday.

Upon arriving in Fort Myers last month, the Dominican native’s status for Opening Day became cloudy once he was placed on the COVID-19 injured list after testing positive for the virus back home.

The left-handed hitting slugger was not cleared to return to baseball activities until March 11, but it now appears as though he has the green light for Thursday’s season-opening contest against the Orioles at Fenway Park.

“He feels great,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Cordero this past Sunday. “There’s a good chance he will be with us Opening Day. Let’s see how he reacts out of this one. But everything is very positive with the way he has been able to bounce back. The game in Tampa, he hit a triple, he move around in the outfield. He’s in a good position.”

Cordero, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 232 pounds, has played in just 95 games since making his major-league debut with the Padres in 2017 on account of multiple stints on the injured list. He has been hampered by a right wrist sprain, a right elbow sprain, a tight forearm strain, and a left abductor strain in the past three years alone.

Because of his history, the Red Sox will clearly have to be cautious in how they manage Cordero to ensure that he can stay healthy and play as many games as possible.

With Cordero being reinstated on Tuesday, the Sox needed to clear a 40-man roster spot for the outfielder, and they did so by designating right-hander John Schreiber for assignment.

Schreiber, who turned 27 earlier this month, was claimed off waivers from the Tigers back in February.

The 6-foot-2, 210 pound righty appeared in just two games for the Sox this spring, allowing a pair of earned runs on five hits, one walk, and one strikeout over 1 1/3 total innings pitched in those two appearances. He was optioned to the alternate training site on March 16.

The Red Sox now have seven days to either trade, release, or sneak Schreiber through waivers if he is not claimed by another club first.

Turning to the next move made by the Sox on Tuesday, infielder Michael Chavis and right-handed reliever Colten Brewer were both optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Worcester.

The 25-year-old Chavis had been competing with fellow infielder Christian Arroyo for one of Boston’s final bench spots, and it even seemed like both could make the team’s Opening Day roster if Cordero was not going to be ready in time.

But with Cordero getting the go-ahead, Arroyo and Chavis essentially become redundant since they both hit from the right side of the plate. And with Arroyo being out of minor-league options, the decision became clear that Chavis would be the one receiving a demotion.

This news comes in spite of the fact that Chavis had a solid spring (.892 OPS in 65 plate appearances), but it goes without saying that the Georgia native still has some things to work on at the plate after struggling to the tune of a .212/.259/.377 slash line across 42 games in 2020.

Having written all that, it would not be all that surprising to see Chavis back up with the Sox sooner rather than later. He has, after all, only played 29 career games at the Triple-A level, so perhaps he can use this demotion as a way to better himself once the Triple-A season begins in May.

As for Brewer, the 28-year-old was also embroiled in a spring competition for one of Boston’s final bullpen spots. That competition was ultimately won by fellow righty Phillips Valdez, though neither Valdez (9.35 ERA in 8 1/3 innings) nor Brewer (9.95 ERA in 6 1/3 innings) looked particularly sharp in Grapefruit League play.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “Valdez and Brewer will be easily interchangeable, as both can be optioned to and from Worcester as the Red Sox choose. Brewer (4.59 ERA in 80 ⅓ innings in two seasons with Boston) will likely be one of the first relievers called up if Boston needs a relief arm.”

With all these moves being made, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is at full capacity. More transactions are likely to come — with Eduardo Rodriguez and Ryan Brasier being placed on the injured list among them — but for now, here’s how Boston’s 26-man Opening Day roster should shape up come Thursday morning:

Starting rotation (5): Nathan Eovaldi, Tanner Houck, Martin Perez, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Richards

Bullpen (9): Matt Andriese, Garrett Whitlock, Austin Brice, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, Hirokazu Sawamura, Phillips Valdez, Adam Ottavino, Matt Barnes

Catchers (2): Christian Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki

Infielders (6): Bobby Dalbec, Enrique Hernandez, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Marwin Gonzalez, Christian Arroyo

Outfielders (4): Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe, J.D. Martinez, Franchy Cordero

(Picture of Michael Chavis: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Christian Arroyo approached Red Sox about playing left field, Alex Cora says

Over the course of his professional career, Red Sox infielder Christian Arroyo has only known three defensive positions: second base, third base, and shortstop.

Since making his major-league debut with the Giants in 2017, the 25-year-old has played decent enough defense at all three positions, especially at second.

Last year alone, Arroyo was worth positive-2 defensive runs saved and posted an ultimate zone rating (UZR) of 0.9 over 108 2/3 innings while patrolling second base for the Sox. That ultimate zone rating of 0.9 translates to 5.7 over 150 defensive games.

Despite being a surehanded second baseman, and infielder for that matter, the Florida native has surely seen what Boston has done over the course of the offseason in adding a number of versatile position players — like Marwin Gonzalez and Enrique Hernandez — and decided that he needs to add another dimension to his game as well.

That being the case because according to Red Sox manager Alex Cora, Arroyo approached the team at some point this spring to talk about playing some left field.

“We’re very comfortable with what he can do,” Cora said of Arroyo earlier Friday morning. “He can play second, he can play short, he can play third. The other day he went to [first base coach and outfield instructor Tom Goodwin] and he wanted to start working in left field, which is great.

“It’s something that he thought about,” added the Sox skipper. “I guess he looks around and sees Marwin and sees Enrique, and he’s like, ‘You know what? Maybe learning the outfield position can help me throughout my career.'”

On the other side of the ball, Cora, who has known Arroyo since he unsuccessfully recruited him to play for Team Puerto Rico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, has been thoroughly impressed with what he’s seen from the former first-round pick at the plate thus far in Grapefruit League play.

Following Friday’s 11-7 victory over the Rays in which he went 0-for-2 in a pinch-hitting capacity, the right-handed hitter is now slashing .273/.314/.485 with a pair of home runs and four RBI over 35 plate appearances this spring.

“He’s a good at-bat,” Cora said. “So let’s see where it takes us. But so far, what I saw on TV, what I’ve seen in video, this is a much better version of Christian. He’s in better shape, he can move better now, and he can do some things that I thought he wasn’t able to do the last few years.”

Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom echoed this same sort of sentiment regarding Arroyo, who used to play for the Rays, when speaking with WEEI’s Will Flemming and Rob Bradford earlier this week.

“He looks, to me, better than at any point that we had him when I was with the Rays,” Bloom said of the young infielder on Wednesday. “Body-wise, he came in looking good. And I’ve seen him — whether it was last year or this spring — drive pitches that I didn’t see him drive in the past and just hit them harder.”

Because he is out of minor-league options, Arroyo will have to make the Sox’ Opening Day roster or he will otherwise have to be exposed to waivers if the club wants to send him to Triple-A.

With that in mind, Arroyo and fellow right-handed hitting infielder Michael Chavis are projected to occupy the final two spots on Boston’s bench to kick off the 2021 campaign.

The pair of 25-year-olds have been enjoyable to watch on the field and in the clubhouse at the Fenway South complex, per Cora.

“We’re very pleased with the way [Christian’s] swinging the bat. We’re very pleased with the way Michael is swinging the bat,” Cora said. “Being able to catch up with some pitches in the zone — being disciplined enough. So it’s fun to see them playing this way. It’s fun to see them in the clubhouse, in the drills, helping each other out, and that’s what it’s all about.”

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Mark Brown/Getty Images)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: Talking 2021 predictions with MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Red Sox beat writer Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com.

Chris and I mainly discussed the 10 predictions he made for the 2021 Red Sox in his weekly notes column for MassLive last Friday. We also talked about the moves the Sox made this offseason, what Chaim Bloom could have in store for 2022 and beyond, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Chris for taking some time out of his busy spring training schedule to have a conversation with me. You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here, and you can check out his work for MassLive by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of JetBlue Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Might recently-signed Danny Santana cost Christian Arroyo his spot on Red Sox’ roster?

Could the Red Sox signing utilityman Danny Santana to a minor-league contract on Thursday ultimately cost Christian Arroyo his spot on the club’s 40-man roster. One writer in particular — MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo — thinks that may be the case.

In his weekly notes column for MassLive, Cotillo made 10 predictions for the Sox’ 2021 season, and one of those predictions was that Santana makes the team out of spring training after winning the competition for the final bench spot.

“Though he’s a late entrant into the competition for Boston’s final bench spot, Santana is actually a better fit for the roster than the club’s other options,” Cotillo wrote Friday. “The other three competitors — Christian Arroyo, Michael Chavis and Yairo Muñoz — are all right-handed hitters, which limits Alex Cora to an extent.”

Cotillo notes that while the handedness of the hitters on the Red Sox’ bench would change on a game-to-game basis, “the fact that the backup catcher (Kevin Plawecki) is right-handed means a left-handed bat would be preferable.”

As currently constructed, Jonathan Arauz and Marwin Gonzalez are the only infielders on Boston’s 40-man roster who can hit from the left side of the plate, as both are switch-hitters.

Arauz, who is still just 22 years old, figures to begin the 2021 season at the Sox’ alternate training site in Worcester to continue his development, while Gonzalez, who inked a one-year, $3 million pact with Boston last month, figures to see most of his playing time come in left field as opposed to the infield.

Having said that, Cora and Co. are somewhat limited in what they can do in regards to bench flexibility. That is where Santana — a switch-hitter — comes into play.

In seven major-league seasons between the Twins, Braves, and Rangers, the 30-year-old out of the Dominican owns a lifetime .266/.304/.422 slash line against right-handed pitching and a lifetime .243/.287/.407 slash line against left-handed pitching going back to 2014. He has also seen playing time at every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher.

Arroyo, who unlike Chavis is out of minor-league options and unlike Munoz is on Boston’s 40-man roster, unsurprisingly owns a lifetime .213/.297/.381 slash line in 176 career plate appearances against righties dating back to 2017. He has seen playing time at just three different positions: second base, third base, and shortstop.

Taking those points into consideration, Santana — as noted by Cotillo — “makes more sense than the others,” including Arroyo.

Coming into the spring, Arroyo seemed like almost a lock to make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster considering the fact that he is out of minor-league options like Nick Pivetta is.

The 25-year-old former top prospect had a decent showing in limited action with the Sox last season, going 12-for-50 (.240) at the plate with three home runs, eight RBI, and four walks over 14 September contests (54 plate appearances).

If Boston were to roll with Santana over Arroyo out of the gate, though, that would likely mark the end of Arroyo’s run on the club’s 40-man roster.

In other words, you could see a transaction where the Red Sox purchase Santana’s contract — and in doing so add him to their major-league roster — while designating Arroyo for assignment to clear a roster spot.

The goal then, as Cotillo writes, would be for the Red Sox “to try to sneak Arroyo through waivers” while both Chavis and Munoz would be optioned down to the alternate site.

In this scenario, this would not be the first time the Sox designated Arroyo, as they did the very same thing just days after claiming the Florida native off waivers from the Indians last August.

For what it’s worth, Santana, who turns 31 in November, is only under club control through the end of the 2021 season. Arroyo, meanwhile, turns 26 in May and is under club control through the 2024 season.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, Santana will earn a base salary of $1.75 million if he makes it to the majors with the Red Sox this year with the chance to earn an additional $1 million in incentives and another $100,000 in the form of a bonus if he starts at Triple-A.

Those contract details, per Cotillo, makes it “seem like the Red Sox have plans to bring him up to the majors.”

We will have to wait and see if those hypothetical plans come to fruition before Opening Day.

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

Garrett Richards makes Red Sox debut as sloppy defense leads to 5-3 loss at hands of Braves

The Red Sox opened the home portion of their Grapefruit League schedule on Monday by falling to the Braves by a final score of 5-3 in seven innings at JetBlue Park.

Newcomer Garrett Richards, who signed a one-year, $10 million deal with Boston last month, made his first start of the spring for Boston in this one.

Working two “full” innings, the veteran right-hander surrendered two earned runs on three hits and two walks to go along with one strikeout on the afternoon.

Both of those Atlanta runs came in the top half of the first, when Richards managed to record just one out before the rest of the inning was called off for pitch count purposes.

The 32-year-old was able to rebound in the second inning, however, as he retired the Braves’ 7-8-9 hitters in order to end his day on a more positive note.

Ultimately hit with the losing decision in what was his Red Sox debut, Richards will look to pick up where he left off in his next time out, which should come against the Braves once again on Sunday.

In relief of Richards, left-hander Kyle Hart, a non-roster invitee, came on for the third and yielded two runs — both of which were unearned thanks to a Bobby Dalbec fielding error — on a pair of walks and a two-run single.

From there, right-hander Kevin McCarthy — another non-roster invitee — worked a scoreless top half of the fourth, while right-handed pitching prospects Thad Ward and Connor Seabold combined to toss a pair of shutout frames in the fifth and sixth innings.

Zac Grotz, a right-hander, was responsible for the seventh, and he gave up one unearned run before being injuring his elbow on a pitch that required him to leave the game immediately.

All in all, Sox pitchers allowed five total runs, but only two of those runs were earned due to sloppy defensive play that resulted in five errors being committed; one from Dalbec, one from Ward, one from Marwin Gonzalez, and two from Jeter Downs.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox starting lineup featured the likes of Christian Arroyo, Gonzalez, J.D. Martinez, Dalbec, Michael Chavis, Yairo Munoz, Cesar Puello, Jeisson Rosario, and Jett Bandy.

Matched up against right-hander Huascar Ynoa — one of the top pitching prospects in Atlanta’s farm system — Bandy kicked off the scoring for his side by drawing a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the bottom of the second.

Fast forward to the fourth, and the bases were loaded once more. This time with one out as Rosario, one of the two prospects Boston acquired from the Padres in the Mitch Moreland trade, came to the plate to face Touki Toussaint.

Rosario managed to pick up an RBI, but only by dribbling a grounder to the right side of the infield that gave Chavis enough time to score from third and make it a 4-2 contest in favor of Atlanta.

In the seventh, a leadoff double off the bat of catching prospect Kole Cottam resulted in another Boston run crossing the plate when Jonathan Arauz grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

That sequence cut the Sox’ deficit to two runs at 5-3, and it allowed the tyring run to come to the plate in the form of Roldani Baldwin, who stuck out against Jasseel De La Cruz to put this one to bed.

Some notes from this one:

Nick Yorke, the Red Sox’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft, made his spring debut on Monday. The 18-year-old infielder went 1-for-1 off the bench with a walk and a fifth-inning single off Braves reliever A.J. Minter.

Ward and Seabold, ranked by Baseball America as the No. 10 and No. 11 prospects in Boston’s farm system, were probably the two most impressive pitchers the Red Sox threw out there on Monday.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll host the reigning American League champion Tampa Bay Rays at JetBlue Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by veteran righty Michael Wacha.

Garrett Whitlock, Joel Payamps, Ryan Weber, Josh Winckowski and Andrew Politi are also expected to pitch for the Sox.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on ESPN, which means we are in for nine innings of baseball since this will be a nationally-televised game.

(Picture of Garrett Richards: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec, Michael Chavis, and Jeter Downs all homer in Red Sox’ Grapefruit League opener against Twins

The Red Sox opened Grapefruit League play on Sunday by falling to the Twins by a final score of 7-6 in seven innings at Hammond Stadium.

Spring training rules were altered this year to allow for more flexibility, hence the reason why this game was limited to seven frames.

Nathan Eovaldi, as expected, made his first start of the spring for the Sox in this one.

Working 1 1/3 innings, the veteran right-hander yielded two runs — both earned — on two hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with a pair of strikeouts on the afternoon before reaching his pitch limit in the bottom half of the second.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 38 (23 strikes), Eovaldi turned to his four-seam fastball approximately 18 times and averaged 98 mph while topping out at 99.5 mph with the pitch.

The 31-year-old hurler will likely make his next start of the spring against the Twins once again on Saturday, as Boston is going with a six-man rotation for the time being.

In relief of Eovaldi, non-roster invitee Caleb Simpson came on with one out and two runners on in the second, and he struggled mightily, as evidenced by the fact that he failed to record an out while allowing five runs — three charged to him, two to Eovaldi — before the bottom half of the inning came to an end.

From there, right-hander Eduard Bazardo, who was added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November, needed just eight pitches to work a perfect third inning, while Seth Blair and Stephen Gonsalves — two hurlers who spent a good chunk of time at the Sox’ alternate site last season — combined to toss a pair of scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth, respectively.

Former Oakland A’s righty Daniel Gossett then came on in the middle of the sixth of what was a 6-5 game in favor of Boston, but the 28-year-old was ultimately charged with both the loss and blown save after two Minnesota runs crossed the plate on his watch thanks to a Jonathan Arauz throwing error and sacrifice fly off the bat of Kyle Garlick.

And in the bottom of the seventh, which did not need to be played, right-hander Kaleb Ort, who the Sox selected from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, stranded one base runner by inducing an inning-ending 4-3 double play to wrap up his side’s first exhibition game of the year.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox’ first starting lineup of the spring featured the likes of Enrique Hernandez, Jarren Duran, Hunter Renfroe, Rafael Devers, Christian Vazquez, Bobby Dalbec, Christian Arroyo, Michael Chavis, and Michael Gettys.

Dalbec got the scoring started in the second, when with two outs and the bases empty, the 25-year-old clubbed an 89 mph fastball at the top of the zone from Twins starter Devin Smeltzer and deposited it deep into right-center field for his first home run of the spring.

Two more of Boston’s young infielders picked up the slack scoring-wise later on in the fifth, with Michael Chavis leading the inning off by taking Tyler Duffey deep to right on the very first pitch he saw — a 78 mph curveball at the knees — and Jeter Downs following moments later with a two-run blast to right-center to score himself as well as Gettys.

An inning later, Downs struck once again, this time bringing in Josh Ockimey with two outs on a groundball RBI single back up the middle off of righty Cody Stashak.

Yairo Munoz, who performed well in limited action with the Red Sox last season, followed by plating Arauz on another RBI single. Just like that, Boston had themselves a 6-5 lead.

Six runs is all the Sox offense could manage though, as the Twins tacked on two more of their own in their half of the sixth and 7-6 would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll take on the Braves in their home opener at JetBlue Park to kick off the month of March on Monday afternoon.

Right-hander Garrett Richards will make his 2021 debut for Boston and he will be opposed by fellow righty Huascar Ynoa, who is currently regarded by Baseball America as the 12th-ranked prospect in Atlanta’s farm system.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game will be broadcast on NESN.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)