Red Sox reliever Joely Rodríguez leaves game with right side injury

Red Sox reliever Joely Rodriguez suffered a right side injury in the eighth inning of Saturday’s Grapefruit League game against the Orioles at JetBlue Park.

Rodriguez had allowed one run on two hits before facing Colton Cowser with one out in the eighth inning. On his fourth pitch to the Orioles center fielder (and 13th of the appearance), the left-hander threw a ball and immediately grabbed at his right side.

After receiving a visit from Red Sox manager Alex Cora and a team trainer, Rodriguez was immediately taken out of the game. According to Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe, the 31-year-old southpaw was “was groaning in pain as he went to the clubhouse and was holding onto his side.”

Following Boston’s 9-6 win over Baltimore, Cora indicated that Rodriguez — who was initially diagnosed with right torso pain — will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the injury.

“Sore,” Cora said, via’s Ian Browne. “We’ll know more tomorrow how he comes back and probably do some imaging to see where we’re at. He’s in pain, in the right torso area.”

The Red Sox signed Rodriguez to a one-year, $2 million deal that comes with a $4.25 million club option for 2024 back in November. Coming into the year, the Dominican-born hurler was expected to be one of Boston’s primary left-handed relief options this season alongside Richard Bleier.

Saturday marked Rodriguez’s fourth appearance of the spring for the Red Sox. As noted by’s Chris Cotillo, the club has taken things slowly with Rodriguez after he underwent offseason shoulder surgery. Prior to Saturday’s incident, Rodriguez was expected to be ready for Opening Day. It now appears as though he could start the season on the injured list.

If Rodriguez is sidelined to begin the year, the Red Sox could very well look to add another lefty reliever to pair with Bleier before the regular season begins. Internally, non-roster invitees like Matt Dermody, Ryan Sherriff, and Oddanier Mosqueda — who have all been reassigned to minor-league camp — represent a few possibilities.

On the 40-man roster, the Red Sox have a pair of intriguing lefties in Chris Murphy and Brandon Walter, though neither prospect has yet to pitch at the major-league level. They are both slated to begin the year in Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation.

(Picture of Joely Rodriguez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Wyatt Mills records three strikeouts as Red Sox tie Astros, 4-4, in Grapefruit League action

The Red Sox remained unbeaten in Grapefruit League play on Wednesday as their contest against the Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches ended in a 4-4 tie.

Matched up against Houston’s top pitching prospect, Hunter Brown, to begin things, Boston got off to a quick start in the top of the first inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Reese McGuire reached base via catcher’s interference. Brown then issued a bases-loaded walk to Niko Goodrum before plunking fellow non-roster invitee Greg Allen to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

On the other side of things, Richard Bleier served as an opener in what was a bullpen game for the Boston pitching staff. The veteran left-hander allowed one run on two hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with one strikeout over two innings of work.

After stranding Jose Altuve at second base in a scoreless bottom of the first, Bleier issued a leadoff walk to Kennedy Corona to kick off the second. Corona moved up to second on a J.J. Matijevic single and to third on a 6-4-3 double play before scoring his side’s first run on an RBI single off the bat of of Quincy Hamilton. Bleier then retired the final batter he faced to limit the damage to one run.

From there, Boston and Houston exchanged zeroes over the next three innings. Wyatt Mills struck out three across two scoreless frames before Kaleb Ort kept the Astros off the board in the fifth. To kick off the top half of the sixth inning, the speedy Ceddanne Rafaela led off by reaching base on a pop-up single and advancing to second on a Mauricio Dubon throwing error. A Wilyer Abreu walk and Enmanuel Valdez single loaded the bases with one out for Triston Casas, who plated Rafaela with an RBI groundout to third base. Abreu then scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-1 game in favor of Boston.

Taking a three-run lead into the latter half of the sixth, Ort issued a leadoff walk to Migeul Palma before recording the first two outs of the inning. Rather than getting out of the frame unscathed, though, the righty served up a two-run home run to 2022 second-round draft pick Jacob Melton, which brought the Astros back to within one run at 4-3.

Joe Jacques could not preserve that slim one-run lead in the seventh. The lefty was greeted by back-to-back hits from Marty Costes and Dubon to put runners at second and third with no outs for Houston. Palma then drove in Costes from third on a game-tying sacrifice fly to center field.

That is where the score would remain. While the Red Sox lineup could not muster anything else offensively, Rio Gomez and Luis Guerrero each sat down the side in order in the eighth and ninth. As such, this contest ended in a 4-4 draw that took two hours and 23 hours to complete.

Other notable numbers:

Through two appearances this spring, Mills has yet to allow a run or hit in the process of striking out five of the 10 batters he has faced over three scoreless innings of relief.

McGuire and Raimel Tapia (2-for-3) accounted for both of Boston’s extra-base hits on Wednesday. Valdez, who went 1-for-2 with a walk, was thrown out at home plate to end the top of the second while trying to score on a Christian Arroyo single.

Next up: Back to Fort Myers

At 3-0-2, the Red Sox will return to Fort Myers on Thursday afternoon to take on the reigning National League champion Phillies. Right-hander Tanner Houck is slated to make his first start of the spring for Boston opposite Philadelphia left-hander Bailey Falter.

First pitch from JetBlue Park is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Wyatt Mills: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Matt Barnes takes apparent shot at Chaim Bloom when reflecting on time with Red Sox: ‘That organization represents so much more than who’s currently running it’

Former Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes had the opportunity to watch his old team take on his new team in Grapefruit League action on Tuesday night. The Marlins right-hander decided against it.

Barnes pitched in Miami’s 4-3 win over the Astros on Monday. As such, the righty was not required to in attendance for Tuesday’s tilt against Boston. He instead left Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium for his apartment after lunch, well before the Red Sox defeated the Marlins, 7-2, to remain unbeaten this spring.

It has now been a little over a month since the Red Sox designated Barnes for assignment and subsequently traded him to the Marlins for left-handed reliever Richard Bleier. At that time, the 32-year-old described the decision as “a complete blindside.”

Though four-plus weeks have passed since he was moved, Barnes told Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe that while he holds no grudge against the organization he spent the first 12 years of his professional career with, he does take issue with who is running the club at present.

“I’m not mad and I don’t have any animosity toward the Red Sox organization because that organization represents so much more than who’s currently running it,” Barnes said. “The people at the top were so great to me.”

According to Abraham, Barnes “mentioned being grateful” to Red Sox ownership, general manager Brian O’Halloran, and assistant general managers Eddie Romero and Raquel Ferreira. He did not make any mention of chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, however.

Bloom, of course, made the decision to give Barnes a two-year, $18.75 million contract extension in July 2021. At that point in time, Barnes was among the top relievers in the American League and had just been named to his first All-Star Game.

After posting a 2.61 ERA during the first half of the 2021 campaign, though, Barnes struggled to a 6.48 ERA in 22 appearances (16 2/3 innings) down the stretch. He only made Boston’s ALDS roster as an injury replacement that October and was left off the ALCS roster entirely.

Last year, Barnes got off a rough start in which he produced a 7.94 ERA in 20 games before hitting the injured list with right shoulder inflammation in early June. He returned to action two months later and ended his season on a strong note by forging a 1.59 ERA in his final 24 outings. The Red Sox, however, were convinced that those numbers did not reflect Barnes’ true performance.

“They told me I was lucky,” said Barnes. “Unfortunately, a lot of people in this game make decisions based on a spreadsheet.”

This appears to be another indirect shot at Bloom, who explained in January that while he holds Barnes in high regard, the decision to move on from him had more to do with giving other relievers in the organization — especially those who still have minor-league options — an extended look in 2023.

“This was not an easy move. But one that we felt was the right one,” Bloom told reporters (including’s Chris Cotillo) on Jan. 24. “It wasn’t anything bad about Matt, who I’m sure is going to continue to have success in his career. It was a reflection of where we thought we were and how we saw the pen coming together and what those other guys have a chance to do for us.”

Cotillo also reported on Tuesday that he was always told Bloom was one of Barnes’ “biggest fans (if not the biggest) in the organization. There was not a lot of surprise when it was Barnes who got the rare in-season extension.”

In trading Barnes to the Marlins, the Red Sox agreed to send Miami $5.5 million in cash considerations as part of the deal. Barnes, who turns 33 in June, can become a free agent for the first time next winter if his $8 million club option for 2024 is not picked up at the end of the year. He told Abraham that he is looking forward to a fresh start with a new team.

“It’s been great here so far. The guys are awesome; the staff is awesome,” Barnes said. “We have some really good talent on this team. I’ve seen that in a few weeks. As weird as it’s been, the adjustment has been pretty good. But it’s hard when you go from knowing everybody to knowing nobody.”

Following Tuesday’s exhibition contest in Jupiter, the Red Sox will not see the Marlins again until they host them in a three-game series from June 27-29. Barnes said he will save being “buddy-buddy” with his former teammates and coaches until he steps into Fenway Park as a visitor for the first time in his big-league career.

“I know I was fortunate to play as long as I did in Boston,” he added. “But I’ve got some good years left in me. We have a lot of talent in this clubhouse and we’re here to win.”

(Picture of Matt Barnes: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers, Masataka Yoshida among 12 Red Sox players who will take part in 2023 World Baseball Classic

The Red Sox will have 12 major- and minor-leaguers representing their respective countries/territories in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, which gets underway next month.

Rafael Devers (Dominican Republic), Masataka Yoshida (Japan), Enrique Hernandez (Puerto Rico), Alex Verdugo and Jarren Duran (Mexico), Nick Pivetta (Canada), Richard Bleier (Israel) and Kenley Jansen (Netherlands) make up 20 percent of Boston’s current 40-man roster.

Jansen, who signed a two-year, $32 million deal with the Red Sox in December, is on Netherlands’ roster but only as a member of their designated pitcher pool, meaning the veteran reliever will not be eligible to join the team during pool play.

Ceddanne Rafaela, one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system, was expected to play for the Netherlands, but the 22-year-old out of Curacao was instead omitted from the team’s final roster.

Trevor Story originally committed to play for the United States last July but took himself out of consideration for a roster spot by undergoing an internal bracing procedure on his right elbow last month. As a result, the Red Sox have no representation on Team USA. It should be noted that while both Verdugo and Duran were born in the United States, they are of Mexican-American descent.

Turning to the minor-league side of things, Jorge Alfaro and Rio Gomez will both play for Colombia. Alfaro signed a minors pact with the Red Sox last month and received an invite to big-league spring training. Gomez, on the other hand has been in the organization since being taken in the 36th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of the University of Arizona.

Edwin Diaz will join Hernandez in representing Puerto Rico after signing a minor-league deal with Boston in January. The 27-year-old infielder had been playing for Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series before they were eliminated by Mexico on Wednesday.

Norwith Gudino is the Sox’ lone representative from Venezuela. The 27-year-old right-hander inked a minor-league contract with the Red Sox in December and — in similar fashion to Jansen — is part of his country’s player pool.

The 2023 World Baseball Classic begins on March 8. Pool play runs through March 15 and the quarterfinals take place from March 15-18. The semifinals run from March 19-20 and the championship game will be held at loanDepot Park in Miami on March 21.

Before that all happens, the Red Sox will take on Puerto Rico in an exhibition game at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers on March 8. Team Puerto Rico will also train at the Fenway South complex prior to the start of the tournament.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)