#RedSox Pitching Prospect Durbin Feltman Records Third Consecutive Scoreless Outing for Double-A Portland

While the big league club was in the middle of getting stomped by the New York Yankees in an 8-0 rout Tuesday night, Red Sox pitching prospect Durbin Feltman put together another impressive performance for the Double-A level Portland Sea Dogs.

Facing off against the Reading Fightin Phils, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, the 2018 third round pick struck out a pair in a scoreless eighth inning in a 5-2 loss for the Sea Dogs.

Since allowing one run on one hit and two walks in his Double-A debut on April 5th, Feltman has actually retired the last nine hitters he faced dating back to April 7th, lowering his ERA to 2.25 and batting average against to .083 on the Eastern League season.

Ranked as Boston’s 12th best prospect as per MLB.com, the Texas Christian product could very well get a shot in the majors depending on how the rest of the year pans out for the Red Sox.

Feltman even caught the attention of manager Alex Cora earlier this spring.

“He’s a work in progress,” the Red Sox skipper said following a perfect ninth inning from the 21-year-old hurler back on March 21st. “But he’ll be a good one.”

Set to turn 22 on Thursday, Feltman is definitely a prospect you should keep your eye on.

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#RedSox Activate Steve Pearce from Injured List, Option Sam Travis to Triple-A Pawtucket

After starting his first full season with the Red Sox on the 10-Day injured list, Steve Pearce is back, as the club activated him from the IL prior to Thursday’s game against the Oakland Athletics.

As the above tweet reads, to make room on Boston’s 25-man roster, first baseman Sam Travis was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket Wednesday night.

Pearce, 35, strained his left calf while running out a ground ball in the first inning of a Grapefruit League game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 17th.

He was removed from that game seemingly as a precaution, but did not appear in any other big league games for the remainder of the spring.

Now, after getting some work in at the minor-league level down in Fort Myers, the South Carolina native appears ready to make his 2019 debut. He re-joined the club in Oakland Wednesday.

Given his .304/.400/.559 slash line to go along with five home runs and 20 RBI in 120 plate appearances against left-handers last season, it would not be surprising to see Pearce in the three-hole against southpaw Brett Anderson and the Athletics Thursday afternoon.

In Pearce’s place, Sam Travis went 2/7 with two singles in two games played while making Boston’s Opening Day roster for the first time in his career.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 3:37 PM EDT on NESN.

Sandy Leon Clears Waivers, Could Accept Minor League Assignment to Remain with #RedSox

After being placed on waivers by the Red Sox on Sunday, catcher Sandy Leon could remain with the organization following a 48-hour period in which he went unclaimed by other clubs.

Officially clearing waivers on Tuesday, Leon was then outrighted to Triple-A Pawtucket, meaning he is no longer on Boston’s 40-man roster.

The 30-year-old backstop now has an additional 48 hours to accept or reject that assignment to the PawSox.

If he chooses to reject it and thus becomes a free agent, then he will also be losing out on his $2.475 million salary for 2019, so as WEEI’s Evan Drellich notes, “it’s quite possible he remains in the Red Sox organization.”

On the other hands, if Leon accepts the assignment, then his 2019 salary will count towards Boston’s luxury tax.

As of this moment, the Red Sox currently have 37 players on their 40-man roster, so I’m assuming they have to add three more before Thursday.

#RedSox First Baseman Steve Pearce to Start 2019 Season on Injured List

After dealing with tightness in his left calf since March 17th, Steve Pearce will indeed not be ready for his first Opening Day with the Red Sox, as he was placed on the 10-day injured list Monday night.

The 2018 World Series’ Most Valuable Player sustained the injury in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, where he apparently strained his calf while running out a first inning ground ball out.

Pearce, 35, was removed from that game in the middle of that first inning and has not appeared in any big league spring training action since despite getting at-bats in minor league contests.

“Tt just matters how he feels moving around,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora prior to Monday’s game against the Chicago Cubs in Arizona. “You guys know we’re not going to push him. We have to be smart about this because just to push him out there just because it’s Opening Day makes no sense for what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Given the fact that Pearce’s stint on the 10-day injured list is retroactive to March 25th, there is a chance that he could return to the Red Sox in just over a week when the team is in Oakland.

With Pearce heading back to Fort Myers to get more minor league related work in before rejoining the team, Sam Travis appears set to make his first ever Opening Day roster.

The 25-year-old infielder has slashed .250/.306/.357 with one home run and eight RBI in 112 plate appearances over 52 total games since making his major league debut with Boston in 2017.

Rick Porcello Avoids Major Scare as #RedSox Fall to Cubs in Mesa

After wrapping up the Grapefruit League portion of their spring on Saturday, the Red Sox made the trek out to Arizona to take on the Chicago Cubs in a pair of exhibition games before kicking off the regular season up in Seattle later this week.

Facing the Cubs for the first time since 2017, Rick Porcello got the start for Boston on Monday.

Working the first four innings, the right-hander surrendered two runs on four hits, zero walks, and one HBP to go along with three strikeouts on the evening.

More importantly, Porcello avoided a serious scare in the second, when Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras ripped a comebacker that wound up glancing off the hurler’s head and landing all the way in shallow right field.

Fortunately and maybe even surprisingly, Porcello was all smiles afterwards and remained in the game to finish his outing. According to the Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham, “all concussion tests were negative.”

Back to the game, one of the two runs given up by Porcello came on a third inning leadoff home run off the bat of Cubs starter Cole Hamels.

The other came later in the third on an Anthony Rizzo RBI double.

After fanning the final two hitters he faced in the fourth with a pitch count of 53, the New Jersey native headed out to the Red Sox bullpen to get some additional work in and officially cap off his spring.

If I were to guess, I would say we see Porcello make his 2019 regular season debut in Seattle this Saturday.

From the top of the fifth inning on, Eduardo Rodrigez, Hector Velazquez, Matt Barnes, and Ryan Brasier combined to allow one run on two hits, three walks, one HBP, and six strikeouts over the final four in this one.

Rodriguez impressed in a rare relief appearance Monday, punching out the dangerous Cubs trio of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber while feauturing a nasty changeup in two scoreless frames.

Barnes and Brasier, meanwhile, together tossed a perfect eighth inning, with each recording one strikeout.

On the other side of things, as I had previously mentioned, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against Cubs left-hander Cole Hamels to start things out.

Kicking off the scoring for Boston was Andrew Benintendi, who carried over the success he had in Florida spring training with a one out solo shot off Hamels in the top half of the third.

That would put the Red Sox on the board and give them an early lead, but they were not able to do much offensively for the rest of night.

One golden scoring opportunity came in the seventh, after Xander Bogaerts had already plated a run on an Eduardo Nunez RBI single to tie things up at two runs a piece.

With the bases full following a one out Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI single, Blake Swihart, fresh off making Boston’s Opening Day roster, came to the plate with the chance to put his team ahead with some clutch hitting.

A las, the 26-year-old backstop got on top of one from Cubs reliever Randy Rosario and grounded into an inning-ending 5-3 double play, thus killing the rally.

After the Cubs re-took the lead with a run of their own in the seventh, the Red Sox would go on to drop this one by a final score of 3-2 in Arizona.

One note from this loss:

Unrelated to the game, but it was just announced that first baseman Steve Pearce will be opening up the 2019 season on the injured list, presumably due to issues with his left calf. More on that Tuesday.

Next up for the Red Sox, they’ll face the Cubs once again in the last game before they all start to matter on March 28th.

Left-hander David Price will be getting the ball for Boston, while right-hander Kyle Hendricks will be doing the same for Chicago.

First pitch at Sloan Park is scheduled for 3:05 PM EDT Tuesday.

#RedSox Reportedly Place Sandy Leon on Waivers

According to WEEI’s Evan Drellich, the Red Sox have reportedly placed catcher Sandy Leon on waivers.

This news comes as not too big of a surprise, given the fact that Boston was looking to trade or move on from one of Leon, Christian Vazquez, or Blake Swihart since the beginning of the offseason due to them not wanting to carry three catchers on their Opening Day roster this year.

Leon, 30, was initially acquired from the Washington Nationals prior to the start of the 2015 of season in exchange for cash considerations.

In his four years with the Red Sox, the Venezuela native slashed .229/.289/.347 with 19 home runs and 99 RBI over 293 games and exactly 1000 plate appearances.

More recently, he went 7/30 with one home run and five RBI over 37 plate appearances this spring.

A well-respected member of the club and more specifically the pitching staff, Leon’s presence will surely be missed in the Boston clubhouse.

“No disrespect to any other catcher I’ve thrown to, but he’s the best catcher I’ve ever thrown to,” said Rick Porcello after a start in which he allowed one run over seven innings against the Philadelphia Phillies back in August.

“His game-calling, he’s prepared for every start, for every pitcher, starting or bullpen,” Porcello quipped. “He’s kind of the heartbeat of our pitching staff. We rely on him a lot. He’s always on point, he always knows what pitches to throw. Gives guys different looks. He’s as good as it gets as a game-caller and a catcher.”

Regardless of how the players felt, the higher-ups clearly valued Swihart and Vazquez over Leon. That much is evident by the rumors that Boston was shopping the ex-National in trade talks as recently as last week.

Set to earn $2.48 million in 2019, Leon will remain on waivers for the next 48 hours, where he will either be claimed or cleared and then have the choice to remain with the Red Sox organization at Triple-A Pawtucket or become a free agent.

On another note, Drellich also reports that the Red Sox have informed Swihart that he has indeed made the team.

 

Top Pitching Prospect Darwinzon Hernandez Optioned to Double-A Portland in Third Round of #RedSox Roster Cuts

With Opening Day just five days away, the Red Sox made their third round of roster cuts on Saturday, reassigning two players to minor league camp and optioning three to the minors.

Outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and catcher Juan Centeno, both non-roster invites this spring, were the two reassigned to minor league camp. They will, however, remain with the big league club before they head off to Seattle.

Hernandez, 31, slashed .244/.279/.415 with two home runs and five RBI in 43 plate appearances this spring, while Centeno, 29, slashed .294/.368/.294 with three RBI in just 19 plate appearances. Both figure to start the 2019 season with Triple-A Pawtucket.

On the other side of things, the two surprising additions to Boston’s 2018 Opening Day roster did not make the club out of the gate this year, as left-hander Bobby Poyner and right-hander Marcus Walden were both optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Poyner, who is technically still a rookie, surrendered seven earned runs on 10 hits and three walks to go along with eight strikeouts over seven appearances and 9.2 total innings of work this spring.

Walden, meanwhile, had a much better time of things in his second spring with Boston, as he allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits, four walks, and 13 strikeouts over seven appearances (one start) and 12.2 innings.

And finally, top pitching prospect Darwinzon Hernandez was optioned to Double-A Portland.

The 22-year-old southpaw really impressed this spring, posting a miniscule 0.82 ERA over six outings (two starts) and 11 frames pitched.

Despite the rumblings that Hernandez could potentially make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster as reliever, the club ultimately made the decision not to rush things.

Now, the native of Venezuela will have the chance to develop more while in Portland as a starter, presumably.

Following Saturday’s transactions, the Red Sox’ active roster now stands at 30 players.

PITCHERS (13): Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Nathan Eovaldi, Heath Hembree, Brian Johnson, Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Tyler Thornburg, Hector Velázquez, Brandon Workman

CATCHERS (3): Sandy León, Blake Swihart, Christian Vázquez

INFIELDERS (10): Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Marco Hernández, Brock Holt, Tzu-Wei Lin, Mitch Moreland, Eduardo Núñez, Steve Pearce, Dustin Pedroia, Sam Travis

OUTFIELDERS (4): Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez

Assuming that Hernandez and Pedroia start the season on the injured list, while Lin and Travis are optioned, and Leon is either traded or designated for assignment, the Red Sox’ 25-man Opening Day roster is essentially set.