Red Sox’ Danny Santana ‘in a good place physically’ while recovering from foot infection, Alex Cora says

Danny Santana has recently returned to full baseball activities in Fort Myers, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Monday.

Santana, who signed a minor-league deal with the Sox last month, had been sidelined since the middle of March due to a right foot infection, which required a stay in the hospital.

“Danny started his whole baseball stuff like a week ago,” Cora said during his pregame media availability. “He’s down there in Fort Myers… He feels good. We’ve been texting a lot the last few days. He’s in a good place physically. Just going through his spring training. Hopefully, he can get some at-bats soon and see where he’s at.”

Prior to signing with Boston earlier this spring, Santana had spent the first seven years of his big-league career with the Twins, Braves, and Rangers.

Most recently with the Rangers, the 30-year-old utilityman mashed 28 home runs and collected 81 RBI while posting an .857 OPS in 2019, but struggled to the tune of a .511 OPS over 15 games last season.

Texas non-tendered and effectively made Santana a free-agent in December.

While he has proven to be inconsistent at times throughout his career, the Dominican native has also proven to be quite versatile, as he has major-league experience at every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher.

This aspect of his game, as well as the fact that he is a switch-hitter, likely made Santana appealing to the Sox. So much so that it appeared as though the 5-foot-11, 2013 pounder had the inside track on making Boston’s Opening Day roster prior to going down with that foot infection.

Now that Santana is working his way back to full strength, though, the Red Sox could consider a change in their roster construction sometime in the not so distant future.

Boston is currently carrying 14 pitchers and 12 position players on its 26-man major-league roster, but Cora seemed to leave the door open to carrying 13 pitchers and 13 position players somewhere down the line depending on how the starting rotation holds up.

“As of now, we feel comfortable with where we’re at having one extra arm, because it helps us” said the Sox skipper. “Having Garrett [Whitlock] and Matt [Andriese] that can give us multiple innings in high-leverage situations or close games is good for the staff. So we’ll talk about it. We’ll talk about it and see what we decide.”

(Picture of Danny Santana: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt makes Rangers’ Opening Day roster

Former Red Sox utility man Brock Holt has made the Rangers’ Opening Day roster, per the Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant.

Holt, 32, initially signed a minor-league deal with Texas last month and had the ability to opt out of said deal on Wednesday of this week if he was not added to the Rangers’ 40-man roster.

At the time of his signing in February, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Holt “had major-league offers but chose the Rangers because of the opportunity at third base.”

Since then, the native Texan has appeared in 10 games for the Rangers in Cactus League play thus far and is currently slashing .273/.407/.455 with four doubles, two RBI, five walks, and two stolen bases through his first 27 trips to the plate. He has primarily played third base with a little bit of second base and shortstop mixed in there as well.

A former ninth-round draft pick of the Pirates back in 2009, the left-handed hitting Holt spent 2013-2019 with the Red Sox after being part of the trade that sent reliever Joel Hanrahan to Boston in December in 2012.

In his time with the Sox, Holt emerged as a fan favorite who took on a variety of roles both in the lineup and on the field. He played every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher in his seven seasons in Boston and even earned a trip to the All-Star Game in 2015.

Because of his versatility, the 5-foot-10, 180 pounder proved to be a valuable member of the Red Sox during the club’s historic run to a World Series in 2018. He became the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to hit for the cycle in the postseason in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Yankees that year.

The success Holt enjoyed in 2018 carried over into 2019 — the final season leading up to his free agency– as well, as he posted career-highs in batting average (.297) and on-base percentage (.369) over 87 games played.

Off the field, you can argue that Holt’s impact was even greater. He served as Jimmy Fund captain in each of his final five seasons with the Sox and was the team’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award on four separate occasions.

Despite putting up impressive numbers in his walk year, Holt struggled to latch on with a team last winter before eventually signing a one-year deal with the Brewers last February.

Holt’s time in Milwaukee did not last long, though, as he was cut loose in late August after getting off to a rough 3-for-30 (.100) start at the plate with his new club.

Signing on with the Nationals for the remainder of the year on August 29, Holt bounced back to the tune of a .262/.314/.354 slash line over the course of 20 games and 70 plate appearances before hitting the open market once again in October.

Even while looking to add several versatile left-handed bats who could play multiple positions this winter, the Red Sox never seemed like serious suitors to reunite with Holt.

The former All-Star, now donning the No. 16, instead returns to his hometown team in the Rangers and will look to make an impact down in Arlington as he prepares to embark upon his age-33 season.

As of now, the Red Sox are scheduled to play a four-game weekend series against the Rangers at Globe Life Field from April 29 through May 2, while the Rangers are scheduled to travel to Boston for a three-game weekend series at Fenway Park from August 20 through August 22.

(Picture of Brock Holt: Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Danny Santana hospitalized with right foot infection

Red Sox minor-leaguer Danny Santana has been hospitalized for the last two days after suffering an apparent right foot infection, manager Alex Cora announced Monday morning.

Santana, 30, originally signed a minor-league pact with Boston earlier this month and even got into one Grapefruit League game before being sent to the hospital.

“Danny had a foot infection,” Cora said earlier Monday. “He’s actually right now in the hospital. It got bad two days ago. Hopefully, they’re going to do something today with him him, drain him or something like that. I got to check with Brad [Pearson].

“But it’s going to take a while now for him to get going,” added Cora. “He’s been in the hospital for the last two days with IV and antibiotics. So let’s hope that this is controllable and he’s going to be back with us hopefully sooner rather than later.”

The Dominican native came off the bench as a designated hitter for Boston in this past Friday’s 8-2 victory over the Rays at JetBlue Park. He went 1-for-2 with a single in the fifth inning and was not bothered by his right foot at that time.

“He showed up two days ago and it looked pretty bad,” said Cora. “Right away we sent him to the hospital and they’re taking care of that. There had to be something there before when he played but he didn’t feel anything. He wasn’t in pain. You saw him move around. He moved well and then the next day he showed up with it.”

Prior to signing with the Sox, the switch-hitting Santana had spent the past two seasons with the Rangers. He had been non-tendered by Texas in December after appearing in just 15 games in 2020 on account of multiple stints on the injured list

In 2019, though, Santana enjoyed great success, as he slashed a robust .283/.324/.534 to go along with a career-best 28 home runs and 81 RBI over 130 games played en route to being named the Rangers’ Most Valuable Player.

The fact that the 5-foot-11, 195 pounder is less than two full years removed from that solid of a campaign surely made him an appealing, buy-low candidate for the Red Sox.

It also doesn’t hurt that over the course of his seven-year major-league career with Texas, Atlanta, and Minnesota, Santana has played every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher, so he is versatile.

Taking those factors into consideration, it seemed like Santana had a legitimate shot at cracking Boston’s Opening Day roster since he provides more bench flexibility as a switch-hitter, but that now seems unlikely to happen.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, not only is Santana now dealing with a right foot infection, but he also came into camp behind in his throwing after undergoing an ulnar collateral ligament repair and augmentation procedure last September.

“We want him to be healthy,” Cora said of Santana. “Let’s take care of this thing and hopefully he can be with us sooner rather than later.”

(Picture of Danny Santana: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Red Sox add utilityman Danny Santana on minor-league deal, per report

The Red Sox have signed utilityman Danny Santana to a minor-league deal with an invite to major-league spring training, according to The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams.

Santana, 30, had worked out for teams in Miami this month and the Red Sox were obviously among the teams who were interested.

The Dominican native became a free-agent this winter after getting non-tendered by the Rangers — who he had spent the last two seasons with — in December.

In his time with Texas, Santana truly experienced the ups-and-downs of being a major-leaguer.

Across 130 games in 2019, he slashed .283/.324/.534 to go along with a career-best 28 home runs and 81 RBI over a career-high 511 plate appearances en route to being named the Rangers’ player of the year.

Following up that successful campaign, Santana fell back down to earth in 2020, as he appeared in just 15 games and posted a .511 OPS before going down with a season-ending right elbow sprain in late August.

Rather than pay Santana the $3.6 million he was projected to earn in his final year of salary arbitration, the Rangers cut the veteran switch-hitter loose over the winter.

Originally signed by the Twins as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, Santana has proven capable of playing multiple defensive positions since making his big-league debut in 2014.

With the Rangers alone, the 5-foot-11, 195 pounder played 53 games at first base, 17 at second base, eight at third base, nine at shortstop, 17 in left field, 31 in center field, and 15 in right field.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Red Sox were ‘in the final mix’ for Santana’s services.

As Heyman notes, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom clearly values versatility given the fact he has brought in the likes of Santana, Enrique Hernandez, and Marwin Gonzalez this offseason.

Heyman also tweeted that Santana’s deal with Boston consists of $1.75 million in a base salary, $1 million in potential incentives, a $100,000 bonus if he starts the year in Triple-A, and an opt out if he is not promoted by a certain date.

With the addition of Santana, Boston will now have approximately 34 non-roster invitees at camp, which pushes the size of their major-league spring training roster to 74 players. The maximum number of players teams can carry this spring is 75.

That means that the club will have to clear at least one spot on their spring training roster when catcher Kevin Plawecki and outfielder Franchy Cordero are ready to be activated from the COVID-19 related injured list.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland agrees to one-year deal with Athletics, per report

Former Red Sox first baseman has reportedly agreed to a one-year, major-league deal with the Athletics, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo adds that Moreland will earn $2.25 million with Oakland with the chance to earn an additional $250,000 in performance bonuses.

The 35-year-old is coming off a 2020 season split between the Sox and Padres in which he slashed .265/.342/.551 to go along with 10 home runs and 29 RBI over 42 total games played.

Starting off the campaign as Boston’s primary first base option, Moreland enjoyed great success and got off to a hot start by clubbing eight homers and posting a 1.177 OPS through his first 22 contests of the year.

That strong showing surely helped the Sox flip Moreland to the Padres in exchange for infield prospect Hudson Potts and outfield prospect Jeisson Rosario — both of whom are now on Boston’s 40-man roster and are regarded by MLB Pipeline as top-20 prospects within the club’s farm system — in late August.

Upon arriving in San Diego, though, Moreland cooled off significantly (.609 OPS in 73 plate appearances) and ultimately had his $3 million club option declined by the Friars in the fall, which led to him becoming a free agent in the first place.

While the Mississippi native was on the open market, Cotillo noted that the Sox ‘had some interest in a reunion’ with Moreland and even ‘engaged in talks with Moreland’s camp.’

Alas, the two sides could not reach an agreement on terms, and Boston ultimately went in the direction of agreeing to sign veteran utilityman Marwin Gonzalez, a switch-hitter, to a one-year, $3.1 million pact for 2021 that includes up to $1.1 million in additional incentives.

As much as Moreland may have wanted to return to Boston, he now has an opportunity with Oakland to serve as the club’s primary designated hitter while also spelling fellow Gold Glover Matt Olson at first base when necessary.

In 53 career games at the Oakland Coliseum — a majority of which came when he was a member of the Texas Rangers from 2010-2016 — Moreland owns a lifetime .275/.340/.561 slash line to go along with 15 home runs and 36 RBI over 192 total plate appearances.

(Picture of Mitch Moreland: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Hirokazu Sawamura signing official, designate Jeffrey Springs for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura to a two-year contract that includes a dual club/player option for the 2023 season, the team announced Tuesday.

In order to make room for Sawamura on their 40-man roster, Boston also designated left-hander Jeffrey Springs for assignment.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Sawamura will earn $3 million over the next two seasons with the chance to earn a total of $7.65 million over the next three years if he “hits every performance bonus and escalator.”

Rosenthal also described Sawamura’s option as “conditional and complex,” and seeing how it is a dual club/player option, that would fit said description.

Expanding on that, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo tweets that Sawamura will earn a base salary of $1.2 million in 2021 and a base salary of $1.2 million in 2022 that can escalate up to $1.7 million.

As for Sawamura’s dual option for 2023, Cotillo adds that if its a club option, it’s worth anywhere between $3 and $4 million depending on escalators. If the Red Sox decline that, the option then becomes a player option worth anywhere between $600,000 and $2.2 million depending on escalators.

For this year alone, Sawamura will count as a $1.2 million hit against Boston’s competitive balance tax threshold.

The soon-to-be 33-year-old hurler had been pitching in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball Organization since 2011, mostly for the Yomiuri Giants.

This past season, Sawamura got off to a tough start with Yomiuri and was ultimately dealt to the Chiba Lotte Marines as part of a midseason trade between the clubs.

Once he arrived in Chiba City though, things turned around for the better for the Japanese-born righty.

Across 22 relief appearances spanning 21 total innings of work, Sawamura posted a dazzling 1.71 ERA and 0.95 WHIP to go along with 29 strikeouts and just 10 walks.

Sawamura’s pitch arsenal consists of a 94-99 mph four-seam fastball, a swing-inducing splitter, and a below-average slider.

With his new club, Sawamura figures to slide into a late-inning role alongside the likes of Matt Barnes, Adam Ottavino, Ryan Brasier, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor.

As for Springs, the 28-year-old southpaw was designated for assignment 13 months after the Red Sox acquired him from the Texas Rangers in exchange for infielder Sam Travis.

In his debut season with Boston, Springs produced a 7.08 ERA and 4.81 FIP over 16 relief outings and 20 1/3 innings of work in two stints with the club.

That being said, there was a stretch from August 31 through September 23 of last season in which the North Carolina native thoroughly impressed to the tune of a 2.53 ERA and 2.39 xFIP over nine appearances out of the Sox’ bullpen.

Considering the fact he still has three minor-league options remaining, it would not be all that surprising to see another team take a chance on Springs through waivers.

Having said that, the Red Sox will have seven days to either trade Springs, release him, or try to sneak him through waivers themselves.

On another note, Boston’s 40-man roster is back at full capacity, so there will be another move to make in order to accommodate the signing of Marwin Gonzalez, which should be made official in the coming days.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Sports Nippon/Getty Images)

Newest Red Sox prospect Tyreque Reed someone club had ‘kept an eye on’ even before selecting him in minor-league phase of 2020 Rule 5 Draft

Even before selecting him in the minor-league phase of last week’s Rule 5 Draft, the Red Sox had been interested in former Texas Rangers first base prospect Tyreque Reed for quite a while, according to the club’s vice president of pro scouting Gus Quattlebaum.

“With Tyreque — a power bat — he’s going to enter his 24-year-old season. [He’s] currently 23,” Quattlebaum said of Reed when speaking with reporters via Zoom this past Thursday. “Big, physical right-handed hitting first baseman with big, big power that you see not only with the scouts’ naked eye, but also with the batted-ball data.”

A former eighth-round draft selection of the Rangers back in 2017 who was previously committed to Mississippi State, Reed has proven that his power tool has plenty of potential in his short time as a professional. The Itawamba Community College (MS) product hit exactly 18 home runs in each of his first two full minor-league seasons.

Before the 2019 campaign even began, Reed entered the year as Texas’ No. 21 prospect, per Baseball America.

In addition to the 18 home runs he belted, the Mississippi native also racked up 24 doubles and 67 RBI while slashing .270/.365/.487 over exactly 100 games played between three minor-league levels.

Despite posting a solid .852 OPS in 2019, Reed also dealt with his fair share of strikeouts, as he punched out in 28.6% of his 126 plate appearances with High-A Hickory. That aspect of his offensive approach is certainly something the Red Sox are aware of.

“There’s some prepotency for some strikeouts,” Quattlebaum added. “We know he’s not immune to that. But, we really believe in the power potential, so we’re excited to bring him into the organization. He’s been someone we’ve kept an eye on even outside of the Rule 5 context.”

A former three-sport athlete in high school, Reed initially played some corner outfield in his debut season upon signing with Texas in 2017, but he has since reverted to becoming a full-time first baseman due to a limited defensive profile.

As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall, Reed, who was not included in the Rangers’ 60-man player pool at any point this past year, is projected to begin the 2021 season with either Low-A Salem or High-A Greenville.

And although he was selected in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the 6-foot-1, 250 lb. infielder does not face any kind of roster restrictions moving forward now that he is a member of the Red Sox organization.

Red Sox free agency: right-hander Keone Kela comments that he would ‘love’ to play in Boston

Former Pirates reliever and current free-agent right-hander Keone Kela recently expressed an interest to play with the Red Sox through social media.

Early Friday night, Major League Baseball’s official Instagram account posted an update pertaining to the Red Sox’ rehiring of Alex Cora to be their next manager.

Within minutes of the post going live, Kela took to the comment section, tagged the Sox’ official Instagram handle (@redsox) and simply expressed his thoughts through the use of the ‘100’ emoji (💯).

According to Dictionary.com, the ‘100’ emoji is “used in digital communication to express or emphasize achievement, support, approval, and motivation. It also generally means ‘absolutely’ or ‘keep it 100’ (keep it real), so it would appear that Kela approves of the move by the Red Sox to bring Cora back.

On top of that, when urged by a fellow commenter to ‘come on down [to Boston], Kela replied, “I’d love to” followed by a heart emoji. The full exchange can be seen in this accompanying screenshot, courtesy of Reddit user u/williamsw21.

Kela, 27, has spent the last 2 1/2 seasons with the Pirates after beginning his big-league career with the Rangers in 2015.

In his time with Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles native posted a 2.49 ERA and 3.54 FIP over 51 total appearances and 47 innings pitched going back to July 2018.

Most recently, in what was already a truncated 2020 campaign, Kela managed to appear in just three games for the Pirates on account of testing positive for COVID-19 in July and going down with right forearm tightness in late August.

Seeing how he is still relatively young as he enters free agency for the first time, Kela could look to take a short-term deal this offseason in order to better establish his value next winter if he can stay healthy.

According to Statcast, the righty has in his arsenal a curveball that hovers around 82-83 mph, a four-seam fastball that hovers around 96 mph and can top out at 98 mph, and a changeup that hovers around 90-91 mph.

Taking that into consideration, the Red Sox could perhaps benefit from adding someone of Kela’s caliber to the mix in their bullpen. The club is coming off a 2020 season in which it owned the second-worst bullpen ERA (5.72) in the American League.

There are certainly other free-agent relievers the Red Sox could target here, such as Liam Hendriks, Trevor May, or Blake Treinen, but seeing how Kela, or whoever runs his Instagram account, has expressed an interest in signing with Boston, this may very well be an avenue worth exploring for chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co.

On another note, Cora’s return makes it seem as though the Red Sox could become a more popular destination for free-agents since the Sox skipper is so well regarded by players. That should be something worth paying attention to as the offseason progresses.

Red Sox Reliever Phillips Valdez Pitching Himself ‘Into Bigger Role,’ Ron Roenicke Says

One week into the 2020 season, Red Sox relievers own the 15th-best ERA (4.54), the 15th-best FIP (4.21), and the 20th-best fWAR (0.0) in baseball. Put simply, the Boston bullpen has been rather mediocre to begin things this year, which is understandable given the current state the starting rotation is in.

Despite that ‘mediocire’ notion, there have been a handful of Sox relievers who have stuck out in a positive way thus far, and one of them worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings against the Yankees on Friday night. His name? Phillips Valdez.

Yes, the right-hander scattered three hits and struck out three batters in relief of Ryan Weber in Friday’s series-opening loss to New York. With that outing in mind, Valdez has yet to give up a run through his first three appearances and 5 2/3 innings pitched as a member of the Red Sox.

Originally claimed off waivers by Boston from the Seattle Mariners back in February, the 29-year-old hurler has struck out more than 27% of the 22 hitters he has faced so far this season while holding them to a .200 clip.

Because of his strong first impression, Valdez could find himself in more high-leverage spots out of the Red Sox bullpen in the near future. His manager, Ron Roenicke, said as much when speaking with reporters Friday night.

“He’s pitching himself maybe into a bigger role,” Roenicke explained. “That’s why we stuck with him today because he’s been throwing the ball well when he starts going through some of these really good hitters and getting them out.”

Some of those “really good hitters” Valdez has gotten out thus far include Aaron Judge and Luke Voit, who both fell victim to 84 mph changeups from the Dominican Republic national on Friday.

Signed by the Indians as a 17-year-old out of the DR back in 2008, Valdez made his major-league debut with the Texas Rangers last June and is under team control with Boston through the end of the 2025 season.

Per Statcast, the slender 6-foot-2, 160 lb. righty primarily works with a changeup and sinker, while his slider and four-seam fastball lean more towards secondary pitches.

At the time he joined the Sox during the first version of spring training earlier this year, Valdez seemed like a long shot to make Boston’s Opening Day roster. But, coming out of the pandemic-induced layoff, the club obviously liked what they saw during Summer Camp and he was in there pitching against the Orioles last Friday.

Now, after getting off to a hot start with his new team, Valdez could become a legitimate weapon out of the Red Sox bullpen if he continues to prove that he can handle tougher situations as a reliever.

Red Sox Claim Right-Hander Phillips Valdez off Waivers From Mariners, Place Dustin Pedroia on 60-Day Injured List

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Phillips Valdez off waivers from the Seattle Mariners, the club announced Sunday. In order to make room for Valdez on Boston’s 40-man roster, second baseman Dustin Pedroia was placed on the 60-day injured list.

Valdez, 28, was claimed off waivers by Seattle back in November and designated for assignment on Friday.

The Dominican Republic native spent the 2019 campaign with the Texas Rangers organization, where he made his major-league debut in June and posted an ERA of 3.94 and xFIP of 4.64 over 11 relief appearances and 16 innings of work.

While in the minors in 2019, Valdez worked as both a starter and reliever, and owned an ERA of 4.92 over 26 outings (14 starts) for the Rangers’ Triple-A club in Nashville.

An original international signee of the Indians back in 2009, Valdez’s pitch mix includes a sinker, changeup, slider, and four-seam fastball, per Statcast.

The Red Sox will be Valdez’s sixth organization, as the righty rounds out Boston’s 40-man roster for the time being.

As for Pedroia, the 36-year-old veteran suffered a setback with his surgically-repaired left knee last month and has yet to report to big-league camp.

The move to put him on the 60-day injured list is probably more of a formality than anything at this point, but it is still not great nonetheless.

As things stand right now, the Red Sox should have 67 players at major-league camp once Valdez and outfielder Cesar Puello arrive. That clubhouse is going to be crowded.