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’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)


Greg Allen hits grand slam, Brayan Bello fans 3 in spring debut as Red Sox come back to defeat Phillies, 9-5

The Red Sox closed out the weekend by mounting a comeback victory over the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla. on Sunday. Boston defeated Philadelphia by a final score of 9-5 at BayCare Ballpark to improve to 12-7-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Nick Pivetta, making his fourth start of the spring for Boston, allowed four earned runs on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over four-plus innings of work. The right-hander ran into trouble right away in the bottom of the first, as he gave up a one-out solo shot to former teammate Rhys Hoskins.

Despite facing an early deficit, though, the Red Sox quickly got that run back in the second. Christian Koss led off the inning by ripping a double to left field. He then moved up to third base on a Ryan Fitzgerald grounder before Nick Sogard plated him with an RBI single off Phillies starter Luis Ortiz.

With things tied back up at one run apiece, Pivetta appeared to settle down by striking out two in a scoreless bottom of the second. But he yielded a leadoff double to Max McDowell in the third and followed that by serving up a two-run home run to Cody Roberts that gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead.

Again, Boston responded in the fourth by trimming that two-run deficit in half. With new reliever Ben Bowden now in the game for the Phillies, Fitzgerald greeted the left-hander by belting a 419-foot leadoff home run to deep right field for his first big fly of the spring.

Pivetta worked his way around a leadoff single in the fourth and came back out for the fifth. But he began the inning by issuing a leadoff walk to McDowell. With his pitch count already sitting at 84 (50 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler was given the hook in favor of minor-league left-hander Brendan Cellucci.

Cellucci, a Philadelphia-area native, allowed the lone runner he inherited to move up to third on a pair of walks, thus loading the bases for the Phillies. Nick Castellanos promptly drove in two of those runners by lacing a wind-aided, two-run double to center field. Cellucci gave up his third free pass of the inning and was relieved by the flame-throwing Luis Guerrero, who topped out at 98.3 mph with his fastball in the process of fanning the only two batters he faced.

Having just seen a one-run deficit increase to three, the Red Sox wasted no time in rallying in the sixth. After Jakob Hernandez filled the bases with only one out in the inning, Greg Allen came through with a go-ahead grand slam that cleared the right-center field fence in just 4.5 seconds. Allen’s first home run of the spring gave Boston its first lead of the afternoon at 6-5.

Given that brand-new one-run lead to protect, Brayan Bello came on for his spring debut in the latter half of the sixth. After being slowed by right forearm tightness last month, the 23-year-old rookie punched out three of the six Phillies batters he faced over two perfect frames of relief. Of the 25 pitches he threw, 18 went for strikes.

Following a 1-2-3 eighth inning from Ryan Brasier, the Red Sox tacked on three more runs in the top of the ninth. Blaze Jordan brought in one of those runs with a broken-bat single while Nick Decker drew a bases-loaded walk and Matthew Lugo drove in Stephen Scott with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Rio Gomez, fresh off representing Colombia in the World Baseball Classic, needed just 14 pitches (9 strikes) to strike out the side in the bottom of the ninth and secure a 9-5 win for the Red Sox.

Ravelo exits with knee contusion

During Boston’s ninth-inning rally, minor-leaguer Luis Ravelo suffered a left knee contusion. It happened after Ravelo had reached base on a fielding error and moved up to second on a walk.

On Jordan’s single, part of the first baseman’s shattered bat wound up hitting Ravelo in the knee as he ran towards third. The 19-year-old was immediately removed from the game after a brief visit from Red Sox manager Alex Cora and a member of the team’s training staff.

Next up: Whitlock makes first start of spring

The Red Sox will return to Fort Myers on Monday afternoon to host the Pirates. Garrett Whitlock is slated to make his first start of the spring for Boston while fellow right-hander Luis Ortiz will take the mound for Pittsburgh.

First pitch from JetBlue Park is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Greg Allen: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox outfield prospect Gilberto Jiménez homers off Rays ace Shane McClanahan

Red Sox outfield prospect Gilberto Jimenez made his first official hit of the spring count on Monday afternoon.

As part of a split-squad doubleheader, Jimenez made the trip to St. Petersburg with several other minor-leaguers to take on the Rays at Tropicana Field in some Grapefruit League action.

Starting in right field and batting ninth, Jimenez was tasked with going up against left-hander Shane McClanahan, who finished sixth in American League Cy Young Award voting last year, to begin things on Monday.

McClanahan, making his third start of the spring for the Rays, took a no-hitter into the third inning by retiring seven of the first eight Red Sox batters he faced. With one out in the third, Jimenez stepped up to the plate for the first time. Hitting from the right side, the switch-hitter fouled off a first-pitch slider but did not extend the at-bat any further.

On the very next pitch he saw, Jimenez took an 87 mph changeup on the outer half of the plate and promptly deposited it 367 feet over the left field fence. The solo shot left his bat at 100.9 mph and later proved to be the only offense the Red Sox could muster off McClanahan and four different Rays relievers.

Jimenez, who went 1-for-2 in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay, is now batting .143 in Grapefruit League play with one RBI, one run scored, one stolen base, and four strikeouts across seven trips to the plate this spring.

The Red Sox originally signed the 22-year-old Jimenez for just $10,000 as an international free agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in August 2017. After bursting onto the scene and rising through the ranks as a teenager, the San Cristobal native has seen his prospect stock take a hit recently.

Coming into the 2023 campaign, for instance, Jimenez is no longer regarded by Baseball America as one of the top 30 prospects in Boston’s farm system. After peaking at No. 7 in 2021, Jimenez fell all the way to No. 23 last year after slashing just .268/.306/.366 (84 wRC+) with 18 doubles, two triples, five home runs, 34 RBIs, 49 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 18 walks, and 100 strikeouts over 99 games (407 plate appearances) with High-A Greenville.

Among the 54 hitters who qualified as league leaders in the South Atlantic League last season, Jimenez posted the lowest walk rate (4.4 percent) and the 26th-worst strikeout rate (24.4 percent). He also ranked 45th in on-base percentage, 37th in slugging percentage, 40th in OPS (.672), 49th in isolated power (.097), 53rd in swinging-strike rate (18.4 percent), 53rd in groundball rate (58.7 percent), and 50th in line-drive rate (15.9 percent), per FanGraphs.

On the other side of the ball, Jimenez saw playing time at all three outfield positions while with the Drive in 2022. The 5-foot-11, 212-pounder logged 70 innings in left field, 336 innings in center field, and 403 2/3 innings in right field while leading the team in both outfield assists (11) and errors (10).

Jimenez’s 20 stolen bases (in 29 attempts) ranked second on the Drive behind only Tyler McDonough, who swiped 21 bags. Speed remains one of Jimenez’s top tools, as indicated by his above-average speed score of 6.0 last year. He is also still considered by Baseball America to have the best arm of any Red Sox outfield prospect.

Jimenez, who turns 23 in July, is expected to make the jump to Double-A Portland for the start of the 2023 minor-league season, which begins on April 6 for the Sea Dogs. In certain respects, these next few months could be important for Jimenez when you consider the fact that he can once again become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter.

If Jimenez can show signs of improvement both at the plate and in the outfield in Portland, he could emerge as a potential trade candidate or even a candidate to be added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the end of the year.

(Picture of Gilberto Jimenez: Kelly O’Connor/

Kutter Crawford, Josh Winckowski impress in respective starts as Red Sox top Orioles, fall to Rays in split-squad doubleheader

As part of a split-squad doubleheader on Saturday, the Red Sox beat the Orioles at home and lost to the Rays on the road. In Fort Myers, Boston defeated Baltimore by a final score of 9-6. Up the road in St. Petersburg, Boston fell to Tampa Bay by a final score of 3-1.

At JetBlue Park, Kutter Crawford made his third start and fourth overall appearance of the spring for the Red Sox. The right-hander pitched well, scattering just three hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over 4 2/3 scoreless innings of work.

Crawford dealt with traffic on the basepaths in every inning except the fourth. But he managed to avoid any serious damage and retired six of the last seven hitters he faced to finish with a final pitch count of 83. With two outs in the fifth, the 26-year-old righty was given the hook in favor of left-hander Oddanier Mosqueda, who walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases before punching out Ryan Mountcastle on a foul tip.

At the midway point, the Red Sox had already jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the Orioles. All five of those runs came off Baltimore starter Grayson Rodriguez, who is considered to be one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball.

Boston first got to Rodriguez in the bottom half of the third. After Rafael Devers reached base via a one-out double, Adam Duvall followed by crushing a two-run home run over the faux Green Monster for his third homer of the spring. An inning later, Bobby Dalbec drew a leadoff walk off Rodriguez and was able to move up to third with two outs before scoring on a wild pitch.

Greg Allen, who was at the plate when Dalbec scored, drew a walk himself and wasted no time in showing off his speed by scoring all the way from first on an RBI double off the bat of Christian Arroyo. Following an Orioles pitching change that saw old friend Eduard Bazardo replace Rodriguez, Devers greeted his former teammate by ripping an RBI single to right field that brought in Arroyo to make it a 5-0 contest in favor of the Red Sox.

The Red Sox and Orioles then exchanged zeroes for the next three innings. After Crawford and Mosqueda got through the fifth, Chris Martin retired the side in order in the sixth before Richard Bleier faced the minimum by inducing an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play in the seventh.

Picking things up in the eighth, the Sox saw their combined shutout bid come to an end when Heston Kjerstad drove in Jordan Westburg with an RBI groundout off Joely Rodriguez. Rodriguez gave up a single to the next batter he faced in Maverick Handley before being removed from the game with a right side injury. The veteran lefty was replaced by minor-leaguer Jake Thompson, who issued a leadoff walk to Colton Cowser and then surrendered three consecutive run-scoring hits to Shayne Fontana, Franchy Cordero, and Mark Kolozsvary.

Just like that, Boston’s commanding five-run lead had been cut down to just one. The Red Sox, however, wasted little time in getting all four of those runs back in the latter half of the eighth. After Niko Goodrum reached on a fielding error, Jorge Alfaro came through by demolishing a two-run home run off Orioles reliever Austin Voth.

Nick Decker and Nick Sogard followed suit by hitting back-to-back singles. With two outs in the eighth, the speedy Tyler McDonough delivered the finishing blow in the form of a two-run triple into the triangle in deep center field. Both Decker and Sogard scored on the play, giving the Red Sox a 9-4 advantage heading into the final frame.

Though he made things interesting by yielding two runs on three hits, John Schreiber was ultimately able to slam the door on the Orioles in the ninth to wrap up a high-scoring victory for Boston.

At Tropicana Field, Josh Winckowski made his second start and third overall appearance of the spring for the visiting Red Sox. Like Crawford, the right-hander pitched well by allowing two unearned runs on just one hit and one walk to go along with three strikeouts over five innings of work.

Both runs scored off Winckowski came in the bottom of the second. There, the righty got the first two outs of the inning before Jose Siri reached base on a fielding error committed by third baseman Matthew Lugo. Siri, ever the speedster, promptly stole second base and was prepared to swipe third as well. Caleb Hamilton attempted to pick Siri off at third base, but his throw wound up in left field, which allowed Siri to easily score the first run of the game.

Winckowski then issued his one and only walk to Rene Pinto before serving up an RBI double to Ben Gamel, thus giving the Rays an early 2-0 lead. Despite that adversity, though, Winckowski settled in nicely and retired the last 10 batters he faced in order. The 24-year-old needed 62 pitches (41 strikes) to get through five one-run frames.

Boston’s lone run off Tampa Bay on Saturday came in somewhat surprising fashion. With one out in the bottom of the third, Red Sox outfield prospect Gilberto Jimenez belted a 367-foot solo shot off Rays All-Star lefty Shane McClanahan for his first home run of the spring.

Outside of that one big fly, though, a Red Sox lineup that mainly featured prospects minor-leaguers was limited to just five hits off McClanahan and the rest of the Rays pitching staff.

Out of the Red Sox bullpen, Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort combined for two scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh before Chase Shugart ran into some trouble in the eighth. There, Shugart gave up back-to-back singles to Ronny Simon (who stole second base) and Kyle Manzardo (who drove in Simon from second). He then got the first out of the inning before getting Niko Hulsizer to fly out to right for the second out.

Manzardo, who had moved up to third, attempted to tag up and score, but he was instead gunned down at home plate by 20-year-old right fielder Jhostynxon Garcia. With that run off the board, the Red Sox still found themselves trailing by two going into the ninth.

Blaze Jordan brought the tying run to the plate by reaching base on an infield single. But Max Ferguson struck out swinging on three straight cutters from Rays reliever Kevin Kelly to put the finishing touches on a 3-1 defeat.

With a win over the Orioles and a loss to the Rays, the Red Sox are now 11-7-4 in Grapefruit League play with 10 more exhibition games remaining before Opening Day on March 30.

Next up: Pivetta takes on former team

The Red Sox will travel to Clearwater to take on the reigning National League champion Phillies on Sunday afternoon. Former Phillies hurler Nick Pivetta will get the start for Boston while fellow righty Luis Ortiz will do the same for Philadelphia.

First pitch from BayCare Ballpark is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN+.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Justin Turner steps into batter’s box for first time since being hit in face by pitch

On Friday, Red Sox designated hitter/infielder Justin Turner stepped into a batter’s box for the first time since frighteningly being hit in the face by a pitch on March 6.

Turner, donning a C-flap batting helmet, tracked pitches from teammates Nick Pivetta and Garrett Whitlock during their respective bullpen sessions at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers.

Though his bat remained on his shoulders the entire time, Friday still marked an important step forward for Turner, who required 16 pitches after taking a Matt Manning fastball to the left side of his face in a Grapefruit League game against the Tigers at JetBlue Park.

Remarkably, Turner did not suffer a concussion or any facial fractures. The 38-year-old only spent a few hours in the hospital and briefly rested at home before rejoining the Red Sox last week. Leading up to Friday’s milestone, he had already resumed light cardio activities (such as running on a treadmill) and is now gearing up for on-field batting practice on Saturday.

“Obviously I want to get out there as soon as I can,” Turner told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier). “So, just making sure I check all the boxes with the staff, the training staff, and the strength guys. As soon as they say go, I’ll be ready to get back out there.”

The Red Sox, as noted by Speier, had wanted Turner to stay out of the sun for extended periods of time to allow the scar on his lip to heal properly.

“Essentially, what I was told is the biggest effect on long-term scarring is being in the sun for many hours,” said Turner, who is also sporting a black eye. “So that’s what I’m trying to avoid and they’re also trying to make sure it fully closes and heals up before I get extended exposure. But I’m sure I’ll have something on it, something covering it up. I’ll look like a lifeguard maybe”

If all goes well on Saturday, Turner could be in line to return to Boston’s starting lineup on Monday — exactly two weeks after he was hit. The Red Sox remain confident that the two-time All-Star will be ready for Opening Day against the Orioles on March 30.

Turner, who signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox in January that comes with $15 million in guaranteed money and a player option for 2024, is not necessarily a fan of the protective C-flap he wore on his helmet while tracking pitches on Friday.

“I don’t like having the visual of it in my sightline,” he explained. “We’re going to find out soon if I really like it or I really don’t like it.”

(Picture of Justin Turner: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Tanner Houck gives up pair of home runs to Matt Olson as Red Sox get shut out by Braves, 8-0

The Red Sox were held to just six hits in the process of getting shut out by the Braves on Friday afternoon. Boston fell to Atlanta by a final score of 8-0 at JetBlue Park to drop to 10-6-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Tanner Houck, making his fourth start of the spring for the Sox, allowed four earned runs on five hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with five strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work. The right-hander ran into trouble right away in the top of the first when he served up a towering solo shot to Braves first baseman Matt Olson.

After settling in and holding Atlanta to just that one run through four innings of play, Houck experienced additional struggles in the fifth when he gave up a leadoff double to old friend Kevin Pillar. Ozzie Albies then drove in Pillar with a one-out single before Olson doubled his side’s lead with a mammoth two-run blast to deep right field.

Olson’s second homer of the afternoon put the Braves up, 4-0. Houck retired the next batter he faced in Austin Riley for the second out of the fifth, and that is how his day would come to a close. The 26-year-old finished with 81 pitches and now owns a 5.68 ERA across 12 2/3 innings this spring.

In relief of Houck, minor-leaguer Aaron Perry received the first call out of the Boston bullpen. Perry allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base before ending things in the fifth. Kenley Jansen, who was responsible for the sixth inning, yielded a leadoff single to Braden Shewmake but left him on base by retiring the next three batters he faced.

Ryan Brasier took over for Jansen in the seventh and surrendered one run on three hits. In the eighth, Kaleb Ort only managed to record one out while getting shelled for three runs on five hits — the first two of which were back-to-back home runs. Skylar Arias sat down the only two Braves he faced in the eighth before Ryan Sherriff struck out two in a scoreless top of the ninth.

To that point in the contest, the Red Sox lineup had been completely held in check. Braves starter Jared Shuster got himself out of a bases loaded jam in the first by punching out Bobby Dalbec. Shuster put up three more zeroes before giving up a leadoff single to Greg Allen in the fifth. The New Bedford native was then given the hook in favor of Nick Anderson, who immediately got Niko Goodrum to ground into a 4-6-3 double play and followed that up by retiring Christian Arroyo.

Fast forward to the seventh, Dalbec reached base on a one-out triple off Michael Tonkin but was left there after Reese McGuire flew out and Allen grounded out. A similar situation arose in the eighth, as Nick Sogard reached on a leadoff single off Jackson Stephens before advancing to third on a two-out double from Corey Rosier. Both Sogard and Rosier, however, were stranded in scoring position after Narciso Crook struck out swinging.

Down to their final three outs in the latter half of the ninth, Rob Refsnyder was hit by a pitch, Marcelo Mayer lined out to deep center field, Caleb Hamilton grounded into a force out at second base, and Tyler Dearden flew out to center to put the finishing touches on an 8-0 loss.

Next up: Split-squad action

The Red Sox will have a split squad on Saturday as they host the Orioles at JetBlue Park and travel to St. Petersburg to take on the Rays at Tropicana Field.

At home, Kutter Crawford will get the start for Boston opposite fellow right-hander Grayson Rodriguez for Baltimore. On the road, righty Josh Winckowski will get the ball for Boston while left-hander Shane McClanahan will do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch for each contest is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time. The game at JetBlue Park will be broadcasted on NESN+ while the game at Tropicana Field will be broadcasted on Bally Sports Sun.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Christian Koss turning heads with his defense this spring: ‘He’s a good one,’ Alex Cora says

Red Sox infield prospect Christian Koss picked up his first hit of the spring in Wednesday’s Grapefruit League win over the Rays at JetBlue Park.

After replacing Bobby Dalbec at shortstop in the top half of the seventh, Koss made his one and only plate appearance of the afternoon count in the latter half of the seventh.

With one out and the bases loaded, Koss worked a 2-2 count against Rays reliever Anthony Molina before ripping a groundball single through the right side of the infield. Both Daniel Palka and Matthew Lugo scored on the play to give the Red Sox a 9-1 lead, which would go on to be Wednesday’s final score.

Koss broke out of an 0-for-10 rut to begin his spring and is now batting .091 in eight Grapefruit League games. More importantly, however, is the defense the 25-year-old has provided around the spring.

On Wednesday, for instance, Koss showed off his athleticism by robbing Gavin Collins of a potential base hit in the eighth inning. The 6-foot-1, 182-pounder laid out to his right to corral a sharply-hit grounder. He then quickly got back to his feet and made an accurate throw across the diamond in plenty of time to record the out at first base.

As was recently highlighted by The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams, Koss has been turning heads at Red Sox camp thanks to his defensive prowess at short. Though he was a late arrival in Fort Myers due to the birth of his first child, Koss has impressed with his range and arm strength.

“He loves to play the game,” manager Alex Cora said of Koss last week. “He’s made some great plays at shortstop, very athletic, versatile. He’s a good one.”

Koss is entering his third season in the Red Sox organization after originally being acquired from the Rockies in December 2020. The right-handed hitter is coming off a 2022 campaign in which he batted .260/.309/.430 with 22 doubles, five triples, 17 home runs, 84 RBIs, 69 runs scored, 16 stolen bases, 25 walks, and 137 strikeouts in 125 games (532 plate appearances) for Double-A Portland. He also saw playing time at five different positions (second base, third base, shortstop, left field, and right field) and was named the Sea Dogs’ Most Valuable Player.

The Red Sox could have added Koss to their 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft but they elected not to. Koss, in turn, spent part of his winter in Puerto Rico playing for the Criollos de Caguas, where he logged innings at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and left field over the course of 29 games.

According to Cora, the Red Sox view Koss as one of the best defenders in not only their system, but the entire minor-leagues as a whole. That can be attributed to Koss’ baseball IQ, which he first developed as an undersized high schooler and continued to work on during his three years at UC Irvine.

“A lot of my stuff goes into the mental side of it,” Koss told McWilliams. “So a lot of anticipation, a lot of game prep, stuff like that. As far as the defensive aspect, I think a lot of it has to do with positioning, where coaches put me. But it’s a lot of anticipation and just getting good jumps on balls.

“Being that small kind of player, that’s where I had to stand out,” he added. “I had to know more about the game, about the situation.”

Koss, who just turned 25 in January, is currently regarded by as the No. 33 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is projected to start the 2023 season with Triple-A Worcester and, as things stand now, is one of just 12 non-roster invitees remaining at big-league camp.

As he prepares to make the jump to Double-A to Triple-A, Koss is looking to refine his plate discipline after watching his walk rate (6.6 to 4.7 percent) drop and his strikeout rate (21.4 to 25.8 percent) last year.

“I think last year I just caught myself edging on the shadow with the pitcher more, and it gave them more power to get me to chase off the plate,” said Koss. “A lot of the spring is just trying to dial it back in over the plate and get good swings off.”

Red Sox reassign left-hander Matt Dermody to minor-league camp

The Red Sox have reassigned left-hander Matt Dermody to minor-league camp, the club announced earlier Wednesday morning.

Dermody originally signed a minor-league contract with Boston in January. The deal came with an invite to major-league spring training in Fort Myers.

In four Grapefruit League appearances (one start) for the Red Sox this spring, Dermody allowed just three hits and zero walks to go along with 10 strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings of work. The 32-year-old southpaw held opposing hitters to a .103 batting average against.

Despite those relatively strong numbers, Dermody will not break camp with the Red Sox and will more than likely report to Triple-A Worcester for the start of the 2023 season.

Dermody, who has past big-league experience with the Blue Jays (2016-2017) and Cubs (2020, 2022), spent most of the 2022 season with Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate in Iowa. There, he posted a 3.74 ERA with 70 strikeouts to 18 walks in 20 appearances (13 starts) spanning 79 1/3 innings before getting called up in August. He made one appearance for the North Siders and was then granted his release so that he could pitch for NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization.

Listed at 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, Dermody operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, a changeup, a sinker, and a curveball, per Baseball Savant. He should provide the WooSox with some left-handed bullpen depth alongside the likes of Oddanier Mosqueda, Ryan Sherriff, and Joe Jacques.

By reassigning Dermody, the Red Sox now have 46 players remaining at major-league camp. Of those 46 players, 12 are in camp as non-roster invitees. They will have to get down to 26 players before Opening Day on March 30.

(Picture of Matt Dermody: Elsa/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock tosses 2 scoreless innings in spring debut as Red Sox snap skid with 9-1 win over Rays

The Red Sox put an end to their six-game winless streak by coming out on top against the Rays 0n Wednesday. Boston defeated Tampa Bay a final score of 9-1 at JetBlue Park to improve to 10-5-4 in Grapefruit League play.

Fresh off being named the Red Sox’ Opening Day starter, Corey Kluber put together his best outing of the spring on Wednesday. The veteran right-hander allowed just one earned run on four hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with six strikeouts over five solid innings of work.

Kluber began his afternoon by striking out the side in the first inning. He then stranded one runner in the second and faced the minimum in the third before running into some trouble in the fourth.

To that point, the Red Sox were already in possession of a four-run lead. Rob Refsnyder got his side on the board first with a bases-clearing, three-run double off Rays starter Evan McKendry in the bottom of the first. Two innings later, Adam Duvall crushed a leadoff home run — his second of the spring — off Colin Poche to make it a 4-0 game.

Kluber, meanwhile, gave up a leadoff double to Rene Pinto to begin things in the fourth. Pinto then advanced to third base on a Ben Gamel groundout before scoring Tampa Bay’s first run on an RBI double off the bat of Daniel Robertson that eluded Rob Refsnyder in right field. After issuing a walk to Kameron Misner, Kluber found himself in a bases-loaded jam with two outs still to get in the inning. But he got out of the jam by striking out the next two batters he faced and ended his day by picking off Vidal Brujan for the third and final out of the fifth.

All told, Kluber needed 78 pitches to get through five one-run innings. The 26-year-old hurler will likely make two more Grapefruit League starts before taking the mound against the Orioles on March 30.

In relief of Kluber, fellow righty Garrett Whitlock got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the sixth inning. Whitlock, facing opposing hitters for the first time since undergoing hip surgery last September, worked a 1-2-3 frame in the sixth and maneuvered his way around a two-out walk in a scoreless top of the seventh. Altogether, he punched out three of the seven Rays hitters he faced.

While Whitlock was in the middle of his 2023 debut, Boston continued to pile on the runs. In the sixth, Raimel Tapia led off by reaching on a fielding error. He then scored all the way from first when Bobby Dalbec laced a one-out RBI triple to left-center field. Moments later, Dalbec scored from third on a Reese McGuire sacrifice fly.

In the seventh, Matthew Lugo loaded the bases with an infield single off Anthony Molina. Molina then issued a bases-loaded walk to Narciso Crook before yielding a two-run single to Christian Koss. That sequence of events gave the Red Sox a commanding eight-run lead heading into the eighth.

From there, Chris Martin fanned a pair in a scoreless eighth inning and left-hander Joely Rodriguez struck out two more in the ninth to put the finishing touches on a 9-1 victory for the Red Sox.

Other worthwhile observations:

In his last five Grapefruit League games, Duvall has gone 4-for-13 (.308) with two home runs and three RBIs.

Dalbec, Boston’s starting shortstop on Wednesday, went 1-for-2 with an RBI triple, a run scored, and a walk. The 27-year-old is now batting .323 (10-for-31) this spring.

Next up: Off day

The Red Sox will enjoy their first and only scheduled off day of the spring on Thursday. They will then return to JetBlue Park on Friday to host the Braves. Right-hander Tanner Houck is scheduled to start for Boston while Atlanta has yet to name a starter.

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

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/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)