Red Sox spring training: Chris Sale struggles, Adam Duvall stays hot in 6-2 loss to Orioles

In a game that took a little over two hours to complete, the Red Sox fell to the Orioles by a final score of 6-2 at Ed Smith Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. With the loss, Boston drops to 12-9-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Chris Sale struggled in his third start of the spring for the Sox. After not giving up a single run in his first two outings, the veteran left-hander got shelled for six runs on nine hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts over five innings of work.

The Orioles got to Sale right away in their half of the first thanks to a pair of solo shots from Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle. An inning later, Adam Frazier and Ryan O’Hearn both reached base with no outs before being driven in on an RBI double from Jorge Mateo and a two-run single from Kyle Stowers. Mountcastle scored Baltimore’s sixth and final run in the third when Frazier grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

Despite these difficulties early on, Sale was at least able to end his day on a solid note by putting up a pair of zeroes in the fourth and fifth innings. The 33-year-old southpaw retired six of the last seven batters he faced to finish with a final pitch count of 70. He will make one more Grapefruit League start before taking on this same Orioles team at Fenway Park on April 1.

Offensively, Boston’s only two runs of the afternoon came in the middle and right after Sale’s outing came to a close. To lead off the fourth inning, Adam Duvall took Baltimore starter Adam Duvall deep to left field for his fourth ome run of the spring. Duvall struck again in the sixth, this time leading off with a hard-hit double off Irvin and then scoring on another double off the bat of Daniel Palka.

That sequence of events trimmed the Orioles’ lead down to four runs at 6-2. From that point, John Schreiber and Zack Kelly, who both pitched in Monday’s loss to the Pirates, combined for two scoreless frames out of the Red Sox bullpen. Oddanier Mosqueda, who is competing with Ryan Sherriff for a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster, followed suit by stranding one runner in an otherwise clean eighth inning.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, Jorge Alfaro laced a one-out double off O’s reliever Reed Garrett before minor-leaguers Miguel Ugueto and Eddinson Paulino each struck out to put the finishing touches on a 6-2 loss for the Red Sox.

Duvall stays hot

Following a 2-for-3 performance in which he scored his team’s only two runs on Tuesday, Adam Duvall is now batting .278/.386/.667 with four home runs and eight RBIs in 15 games (44 plate appearances) this spring.

In addition to Duvall, Daniel Palka and Niko Goodrum also enjoyed two-hit days at the plate. Goodrum, however, did not have the best of times defensively at shortstop.

Next up: Houck vs. Ryan

The Red Sox will return to Fort Myers on Wednesday to host the Twins in Game 4 of the 2023 Chairman’s Cup. Tanner Houck is slated to get the start for Boston while fellow right-hander Joe Ryan will do the same for Minnesota.

With a two-games-to-one lead already in hand, the Red Sox can take home the Chairman’s Cup with another win on Wednesday evening. First pitch from JetBlue Park is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Adam Duvall: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

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Red Sox reliever Joely Rodríguez likely to start season on injured list

Red Sox reliever Joely Rodriguez will likely start the season on the injured list, manager Alex Cora said Sunday.

Rodriguez suffered a right side injury in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 9-6 win over the Orioles at JetBlue Park. After throwing his 13th pitch, the left-hander grabbed at his side and left the game with a trainer. He was “groaning in pain as he went to the clubhouse,” according to Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe.

When speaking with reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) ahead of Sunday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Phillies in Clearwater, Red Sox manager Alex Cora indicated that Rodriguez was dealing with some sort of oblique injury after initially being diagnosed with right torso pain.

“Sore this morning,” Cora said of Rodriguez. “We feel it’s the oblique area, but he’s going to get imaging tomorrow so we’ll know more. It looks like it’s going to be an IL kind of thing. How long? We’ll know more tomorrow.”

Rodriguez, 31, signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox in November that guarantees $2 million and comes with a $4.25 million club option for 2024. The Dominican-born southpaw was expected to be one of Boston’s top left-handed relief options alongside Richard Bleier.

Now that Rodriguez is slated to miss time, the Red Sox will have to look elsewhere if they intend on adding a second lefty to the bullpen mix. On Sunday, Cora identified 32-year-old Ryan Sherriff and 23-year-old Oddanier Mosqueda, who were both at camp as non-roster invitees, as potential internal candidates.

Sherriff, who has allowed one unearned run in 4 2/3 innings of work this spring, has made 44 career relief appearances at the big-league level between the Cardinals (2017-2018) and Rays (2020-2022). Mosqueda, who has allowed one earned run in 5 1/3 innings, has yet to make his major-league debut, though he is coming off a strong 2022 season with Double-A Portland.

“He throws strikes and has deception,” Cora said of Mosqueda. “Analytics-wise, his stuff is really good. He can go multiple innings, too.”

Additionally, Cora ruled out the possibility of using pitching prospects like Brandon Walter and Chris Murphy out of the bullpen, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. The two talented lefties are instead expected to begin the year in Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation.

If the Red Sox were to look externally for left-handed relief options, then one would have to assume that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. are closely monitoring the trade market and waiver wire as Opening Day approaches.

As noted by Browne, though, the club will have a better idea of where things stand with Rodriguez and his injury timeline in the coming days. That, too, will be worth monitoring.

(Picture of Joely Rodriguez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox option prospect Enmanuel Valdez to Triple-A Worcester as spring training roster cuts continue

Following a 6-2 loss to the Tigers on Tuesday, the Red Sox made their fifth round of spring training roster cuts.

After previously sending down pitching prospect Chris Murphy, Boston also optioned infielder/outfielder Enmanuel Valdez to Triple-A Worcester and reassigned left-hander Oddanier Mosqueda and right-hander Chase Shugart to minor-league camp.

Valdez, 24, has appeared in 14 Grapefruit League games for the Red Sox this spring. The left-handed hitter has gone 5-for-25 (.200) at the plate with one home run, two RBIs, four runs scored, seven walks, and eight strikeouts in that span.

The Red Sox acquired Valdez (and Wilyer Abreu) from the Astros in last August’s Christian Vazquez trade. They then added the native Dominican to the 40-man roster in November in order to prevent him from reaching minor-league free agency.

In 44 games with the WooSox down the stretch last season, Valdez batted ..237/.309/.422 with nine doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 30 RBIs, 26 runs scored, three stolen bases, 19 walks, and 48 strikeouts over 195 plate appearances. On the other side of the ball, the 5-foot-9, 191-pounder saw playing time at second base, third base, and in left field.

Valdez is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He could very well make his major-league debut at some point this season, but he will first return to Worcester to continue with his development.

“Valdez still needs some seasoning, quote-unquote, to get better defensively and offensively,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier). “But you can’t rule him out.”

Mosqueda, 23, has appeared in four Grapefruit League games for the Red Sox this spring. The Venezuelan-born southpaw has allowed just one earned run on five hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over five innings of relief. He needed just 12 pitches (10 strikes) to punch out a pair and toss a scoreless seventh inning against the Tigers on Tuesday.

A member of Boston’s 2015 international signing class, Mosqueda re-signed with the organization he began his professional career with over the winter after posting a 4.30 ERA and and 4.05 FIP with 76 strikeouts to 20 walks across 45 relief appearances (58 2/3 innings) for Double-A Portland last year.

Back in February, The Athletic’s Chad Jennings identified Mosqueda as a potential dark-horse out of the bullpen for Boston in 2023, noting that he “has been singled out by one Red Sox evaluator as a legitimate big-league possibility this season.”

Shugart, meanwhile, was roughed up by the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. The 26-year-old righty was tagged for five runs (four earned) on three hits and two walks. He only managed to record the first out of the eighth inning and was ultimately charged with the losing decision.

Coming into Tuesday’s Grapefruit League action, Shugart had yet to surrender a run in his first four appearances (three innings) of the spring. The University of Texas product split the 2022 campaign between Portland and Worcester. He will more than likely join Mosqueda in the WooSox bullpen to begin the 2023 season.

With these three subtractions made, the Red Sox now have 47 players remaining at major-league camp in Fort Myers. Of those 47 players, 13 are in camp as non-roster invitees. They will have to get down to 26 players before Opening Day on March 30.

(Picture of Enmanuel Valdez: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Masataka Yoshida records sacrifice fly in spring debut as Red Sox top Northeastern, 5-3

The Red Sox opened their spring schedule with a 5-3 win over Northeastern at JetBlue Park on Friday afternoon.

Meeting for the first time in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and the MLB lockout in 2022, Boston moved to 19-0 all-time against the Huskies in exhibition play.

All five of the Red Sox’ runs came in the first inning of this seven-inning contest. Jarren Duran got things started in the bottom of the first with a leadoff double off Northeastern starter James Quinlivan. Rafael Devers followed by plating Duran on an RBI single to right field to give his side an early one-run lead out of the gate.

A pair of wild pitches from Quinlivan allowed Devers to move up to third base. Following an Enrique Hernandez walk, Devers came into score on a sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida. Quinlivan then walked three straight batters in Alex Verdugo, Jorge Alfaro, and Triston Casas, who brought in Hernandez from third by taking ball four.

Trailing by three runs now, the Huskies gave Quinlivan the hook in favor of Patrick Harrington out of the bullpen. Enmanuel Valdez promptly greeted the Northeastern reliever by ripping a two-run double to the gap in right-center field. That pushed across both Verdugo and Alfaro to give the Red Sox a commanding 5-0 lead.

On the other side of things, non-roster invitee Oddanier Mosqueda got the start for Boston on the mound. The left-hander worked his way around a leadoff single off the bat of Spenser Smith by picking off the shortstop at second base to end a scoreless first inning. The two relievers who followed Mosqueda, Durbin Feltman and Taylor Broadway, faced the minimum in the second and third as well thanks to a pair of inning-ending plays.

Chase Shugart, another non-roster invitee, got tagged for two runs in the fourth. The right-hander issued a leadoff walk to Smith and immediately gave up an RBI double to Mike Sirota to put the Huskies on the board. Sirota then stole third base and scored from third on an RBI groundout off the bat of Danny Crossen.

Wyatt Olds took over for Shugart in the fifth and walked two of the first three batters he faced. That first batter, Harrison Feinberg, successfully stole third base with one out and then scored on a throwing error by catcher Elih Marrero. Olds avoided any further damage by getting Sean McGee to ground into another inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.

From there, a pair of lefties wrapped things up out of the Boston bullpen. Rio Gomez, who will soon be pitching for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic, struck out one in a scoreless sixth inning. Brendan Cellucci followed by stranding one runner in the seventh to notch the save and put the finishing touches on a 5-3 victory.

Next up: Grapefruit League play begins

The Red Sox will kick off the Grapefruit League portion of their spring schedule on Saturday afternoon as they travel to North Port, Fla. to take on the Braves at CoolToday Park.

Left-hander Matt Dermody will get the start for Boston opposite fellow southpaw Kolby Allard for Atlanta. Richard Bleier, Kaleb Ort, Wyatt Mills, Ryan Sherriff, Jake Faria, and Norwith Gudino are also scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox.

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

(Picture of Masataka Yoshida: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Oddanier Mosqueda will get start for Red Sox in spring opener against Northeastern on Friday

Left-hander Oddanier Mosqueda will get the start for the Red Sox in their seven-inning exhibition opener against Northeastern at JetBlue Park on Friday, manager Alex Cora announced earlier Tuesday afternoon.

Mosqueda, 23, received an invite to big-league spring training after re-signing with the Red Sox in November. The southpaw is coming off a 2022 season in which he posted a 4.30 ERA and 4.05 FIP with 76 strikeouts to 20 walks over 45 relief appearances (58 2/3 innings) for Double-A Portland.

Among the 99 Eastern League pitchers who tossed 50 or more innings last year, Mosqueda ranked 13th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.66), 11th in strikeout rate (31.4 percent), 22nd in batting average against (.211), 22nd in WHIP (1.12), 22nd in groundball rate (46 percent), 28th in line-drive rate (17.3 percent), 28th in swinging-strike rate (13.8 percent), and eighth in xFIP (3.40), per FanGraphs.

A native of Venezuela, Mosqueda originally signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent in July 2015. The Caracas product is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 48 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 18th among pitchers in the organization.

At 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, Mosqueda throws from a low three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 78-80 mph curveball that features 1-to-7 break, and an 83-84 mph changeup that is on the firm side, according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Earlier this month, Chad Jennings of The Athletic identified Mosqueda as a potential dark-horse to make an impact out of the bullpen in 2023, noting that the lefty “has been singled out by one Red Sox evaluator as a legitimate big league possibility this season.”

As currently constructed, the Red Sox are slated to carry just two left-handed relievers on their Opening Day roster next month in Richard Bleier and Joely Rodriguez. Last year, they carried three, all of whom are no longer with the team in Austin Davis, Jake Diekman, and Matt Strahm. They also traded Josh Taylor (who missed all of 2022 with back issues) to the Royals for infielder Adalberto Mondesi in January.

Given that he has yet to pitch above the Double-A level, it seems likely that the Red Sox would want Mosqueda — who turns 24 in May — to experience the ups-and-downs that Triple-A competition offers before they consider a big-league call-up.

If he is able to find success in Worcester to start the season, though, then perhaps Mosqueda will be on Boston’s radar sooner rather than later.

(Picture of Oddanier Mosqueda: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox re-sign relievers Oddanier Mosqueda, Michael Gettys to minor-league deals

The Red Sox have re-signed relievers Oddanier Mosqueda and Michael Gettys to minor-league deals for the 2023 season, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Mosqueda, 23, spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with Double-A Portland. The Venezuelan-born left-hander posted a 4.30 FIP — but much more respectable 4.05 FIP and 3.40 xFIP — with 76 strikeouts to 20 walks over 45 appearances (58 2/3 innings) for the Sea Dogs.

Among the 99 Eastern League pitchers who tossed at least 50 innings this season, Mosqueda ranked 13th in strikeouts per nine innings (11.66), 11th in strikeout rate (31.4 percent), 28th in swinging-strike rate (13.8 percent), 22nd in batting average against (.211), WHIP (1.12), and groundball rate (46 percent), and eighth in xFIP, per FanGraphs.

A native of Caracas, Mosqueda originally signed with Boston as an international free agent in July 2015. The 5-foot-10, 155-pound southpaw operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 90-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94 mph, a 78-80 mph curveball, and an 83-84 mph changeup, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report. He is projected to make the jump to Triple-A Worcester next spring.

Gettys, meanwhile, split the 2022 season between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland. After posting a 3.34 ERA (4.33 FIP) in 22 outings (29 2/3 innings) with the Drive, the 27-year-old right-hander earned a promotion to Double-A in mid-July. As a member of the Sea Dogs bullpen, he pitched to a 0.48 ERA and 4.00 FIP to go along with eight strikeouts to eight walks over 18 appearances spanning 18 2/3 innings of work.

Unlike Mosqueda, Gettys is not your prototypical relief prospect. The Georgia native was originally selected by the Padres in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Gainesville High School. At that time, Gettys was a highly-touted outfield prospect who quickly rose through the ranks of San Diego’s farm system.

After reaching minor-league free agency for the first time at the conclusion of the 2020 season, Gettys inked a minors pact with the Red Sox that November. The right-handed hitter was used exclusively as an outfielder by the WooSox before being placed on the development list last August. By the end of the month, Gettys was with the rookie-level Florida Complex League Red Sox in Fort Myers making his professional debut as a pitcher.

Boston first re-signed Gettys to a minor-league deal last November. Between last season and this season, the 6-foot-1, 217-pound hurler owns a lifetime 2.36 ERA in 45 relief career appearances (53 1/3 innings) across three different levels. SoxProspects.com notes that his arsenal consists of a 92-94 mph heater that tops out at 95 mph and a 77-82 mph breaking ball that resembles a slider or curveball.

Gettys, who does not turn 28 until next October, is expected to return to Portland for the start of the 2023 minor-league season in April. By bringing back both Gettys and Mosqueda, the Red Sox have reduced their minor-league free agent pool by two.

According to SoxProspects.com, Boston has 14 minor-league free agents who remain unsigned. Notables from that group include Pedro Castellanos, Geoff Hartlieb, Brian Keller, Johan Mieses, Hudson Potts, and Christin Stewart. Minor-league free agency just began on Thursday, so it should be interesting to see which of these players are re-signed or which opt to sign elsewhere.

(Pictures of Oddanier Mosqueda and Michael Gettys: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Who is Oddanier Mosqueda? Red Sox relief prospect made his Grapefruit League debut on Thursday

Red Sox pitching prospect Oddanier Mosqueda made his Grapefruit League debut in Thursday’s 4-3 win over the Twins at JetBlue Park.

The left-hander came on in relief of Michael Wacha in the fifth inning and struck out three of the six batters he faced while working in and out of a bases-loaded jam.

Mosqueda, 22, was originally signed by the Sox as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2015. The Caracas native made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League and progressed as far as Low-A before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the 2020 minor-league season.

After making 10 appearances for Caribes de Anzoategui of the Venezuelan Winter League that off-season, Mosqueda came into 2021 and broke minor-league camp with High-A Greenville.

Spending the entirety of the 2021 campaign with the Drive, Mosqueda posted a 3.61 ERA and 3.43 FIP to go along with 66 strikeouts to 25 walks over 32 relief appearances spanning 47 1/3 innings of work. He spent some time away from the team in late May/early June to pitch for Venezuela in the 2021 Americas Olympic Qualifier.

As of August 10 of last year, Mosqueda’s ERA on the season stood at 5.29. From that point forward, though, the lefty strung together 10 consecutive scoreless outings (15 innings) in which he struck out 21 and walked just four to end his season on a high note.

Among all High-A East pitchers who accrued at least 40 innings on the mound in 2021, Mosqueda ranked 20th in strikeouts per nine innings (12.55), 13th in strikeout rate (33.8%), ninth in batting average against (.182), and 13th in FIP, per FanGraphs.

While his strikeout numbers are undoubtedly impressive, Mosqueda also struggled with his command at times and gave up his fair share of walks as a result. The fact he averaged 4.75 walks per nine innings and walked nearly 13% of the batters he faced last year speaks to this.

At the conclusion of the 2021 minor-league season, Mosqueda returned to his home country to suit up for Caribes de Anzoategui once more, though he struggled to the tune of a 11.05 ERA in 11 outings (7 1/3 innings pitched) with the club.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, Mosqueda operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 92-94 mph fastball, a 79-81 mph curveball, and an 83-84 mph changeup, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Mosqueda, who turns 23 in May, is not regarded by any major publication as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system coming into the 2022 season, including SoxProspects.com.

That being said, the Venezuelan-born southpaw is projected by the site to begin the year with Double-A Portland. Should Mosqueda prove capable of handling a more advanced level of competition, he has the chance rise through the organization’s relief prospect ranks.

(Picture of Oddainier Mosqueda via his Instagram)