Connor Seabold will start for Red Sox in Monday’s series opener against Blue Jays

In addition to Yolmer Sanchez, the Red Sox will also be calling up right-hander Connor Seabold from Triple-A Worcester ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto, according to manager Alex Cora.

Seabold, who joined the Red Sox in Cleveland as a member of their taxi squad, will make the second start of his major-league career opposite Blue Jays hurler Kevin Gausman at Rogers Centre on Monday night.

While Sanchez is expected to take the place of outfielder Jarren Duran on Boston’s roster, it’s likely that Seabold will take the place of fellow right-hander Tanner Houck, who will also be placed on the restricted list since he, too, is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and therefore cannot travel to Canada.

The Red Sox originally hoped that Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) would be able to return from the 15-day injured list in time to start on Monday. That is no longer the case as that responsibility will now fall to a rookie in Seabold.

In 11 starts for the WooSox this season, the 26-year-old has posted a 2.09 ERA and 2.99 FIP with 51 strikeouts to 14 walks over 51 2/3 innings of work. He was limited to just one inning in his most-recent outing at Polar Park on Friday so that he would be ready to go in case the Red Sox needed him.

Originally acquired from the Phillies with Nick Pivetta in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree in August 2020, Seabold is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 10th among pitchers in the organization.

Last September, Seabold made big-league debut against the White Sox under somewhat similar COVID-related circumstances. The California-born righty allowed two runs in three innings at Guaranted Rate Field on Sept. 11 and was optioned back down to Worcester the following day.

Since he pitched in the Arizona Fall League last year, it is already known that Seabold is vaccinated against COVID-19. The 6-foot-3, 200 pounder is already on Boston’s 40-man roster as well. On the mound, he works with a four-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s fastball, a mid-80s slider, a low-80s changeup, and a mid-70s curveball.

Seabold will become the 10th (9th if you exclude Austin Davis) different pitcher to start a game for the Red Sox this season. He will be followed by Michael Wacha on Tuesday and Nick Pivetta on Wednesday.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold joins team in Cleveland, is likely to make 2022 debut in Toronto on Monday

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold has joined the team in Cleveland as a member of their taxi squad.

While Rich Hill will start Sunday’s series finale against the Guardians, the expectation is that Seabold will either start or pitch after an opener in Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

Seabold was limited to just one inning for this very reason in his latest start for Triple-A Worcester on Friday night at Polar Park. The right-hander allowed one run on two hits and now owns a 2.09 ERA with 51 strikeouts to 14 walks in 11 outings (51 2/3 innings) with the WooSox this season.

Originally acquired from the Phillies with fellow righty Nick Pivetta in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree in August 2020, Seabold is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in the Sox’ farm system, which ranks 10th among pitchers in the organization.

Boston finds itself in need of starting pitchers for its upcoming series at Rogers Centre as Nathan Eovaldi (low back inflammation) and Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) remain out on the 15-day injured list.

Tanner Houck would seemingly be an option to fill in against the Jays, but he is not eligible to pitch in Toronto since he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. Houck, as well as outfielder Jarren Duran, will therefore be placed on the restricted list.

Seabold, who is vaccinated, made his major-league debut against the White Sox under somewhat circumstances last September while filling in for the COVID-stricken Pivetta. The then-25-year-old yielded two runs in three innings at Guaranteed Rate Field on Sept. 11 and was optioned back down to Worcester the following day.

Now 26, Seabold is looing forward to the challenges his second big-league outing — and first north of the border — will present.

“I’m stoked,” Seabold told NESN’s Jahmai Webster at Progressive Field on Saturday. “I mean, getting another opportunity to come back up and prove what I can do, that’s what you look for.”

Equipped with a four-seam fastball, slider, changeup, and curveball, Seabold is already a member of Boston’s 40-man roster. So, in theory, the Red Sox could add the California-born hurler to their major-league roster on Monday when Houck goes on the restricted list.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Barring setback, Red Sox’ Michael Wacha will return from injured list and start against Mariners on Friday

Barring any sort of setback, Michael Wacha will come off the injured list and start for the Red Sox on Friday, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) before Wednesday’s game against the Astros at Fenway Park.

Assuming Wacha does return from the injured list for Friday’s bout with the Mariners, it will be his first outing since May 3. The right-hander was slated to start against the White Sox on May 8, but was scratched shortly before first pitch and was later placed on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to May 5) due to left intercostal irritation.

In the time since then, Wacha has cleared the necessary hurdles to return to the mound, such as throwing a 35-pitch simulated game on Monday and a short bullpen session earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Wacha’s return to Boston’s starting rotation will be a welcomed one. The 30-year-old hurler has impressed so far this season by posting a 1.38 ERA and 3.89 FIP with 19 strikeouts to 11 walks over five starts spanning 26 innings of work. The Red Sox went 4-1 in those outings.

Wacha, who turns 31 in July, is slated to become a free-agent this winter after signing a one-year, $7 million deal with the Sox last November.

With Wacha more than likely coming back on Friday, the Red Sox will be rolling with Rich Hill, Wacha, Garrett Whitlock, and Nathan Eovaldi in their upcoming four-game series against the Mariners that begins Thursday night.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

On a day Red Sox could have used him, pitching prospect Connor Seabold dominates in latest start for Triple-A Worcester

While the Red Sox dropped Sunday’s series finale to the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, pitching prospect Connor Seabold put together another impressive performance on the mound about 1,700 miles away in Worcester, Mass.

Making his seventh start of the season — and second straight against the Rochester Red Wings — for Triple-A Worcester, Seabold allowed just one hit and one walk to go along with a season-high 11 strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work at Polar Park.

It was a bounce back effort for Seabold, who got rocked for six runs (five earned) across just three innings in his last time out against Rochester on May 4.

Of the 92 pitches Seabold threw on Sunday, 66 went for strikes. The right-hander now owns an ERA of 2.45 and WHIP of 0.93 with 37 strikeouts to 10 walks through his first seven starts (36 2/3 innings) of the 2022 campaign for the WooSox. He is also holding opposing hitters to a .179/.252/.246 slash line against.

Seabold, 26, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks 10th among pitchers in the organization. He made his major-league debut for the Red Sox against the White Sox last September.

Given the fact that he has been dominating in Worcester and has already gotten a taste of the big-leagues, it was somewhat surprising to see the Red Sox not call up Seabold to start against the Rangers at Globe Life Field on Sunday.

Instead, after pushing Garrett Whitlock back one day so he could start against the Astros in Boston on Monday, Alex Cora and Co. elected to go in the direction of a bullpen game, which did not go well since it ultimately resulted in a loss.

When speaking with reporters following Sunday’s 7-1 defeat, Cora explained why the Sox decided against calling up Seabold and kept things in-house with Austin Davis, Tanner Houck, Ryan Brasier, and Tyler Danish.

“I think roster-wise it was going to get complicated,” Cora said. “We got the guys that we have here and then we actually, we got what we wanted, you know? Five innings and we had it set up for the rest of the day. We didn’t make pitches in that sixth inning and we weren’t able to get to the next level, to the last part of the game.”

It’s an interesting statement from Cora. As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield on Twitter, the Red Sox could have optioned Brasier, Danish, or Hirokazau Sawamura to Worcester in order to call up Seabold, who is already on the 40-man roster. They also could have had Seabold start on short rest on Saturday and then activated Rich Hill from the COVID-19 related injured list so he could start on Sunday.

These sorts of things usually receive more attention in losses than they do wins. The Red Sox may not have used Seabold on Sunday for roster-related purposes, but they soon might have no other choice but to promote the righty in some capacity (as a starter or reliever) if he continues to shine for the WooSox.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Red Sox’ Michael Wacha will throw simulated game on Monday, is likely to return from injured list later this week

Injured Red Sox starter Michael Wacha threw a bullpen session at Globe Life Field on Saturday. The right-hander is now slated to throw a simulated game back at Fenway Park on Monday.

Wacha was slated to make his sixth start of the season for Boston against the White Sox last Sunday, but was scratched shortly before first pitch and was later placed on the 15-day injured list due to left intercostal irritation.

Since his stint on the injured list was backdated to May 5, the Red Sox are hopeful they can get Wacha back after the minimum 15 days are over. That would line up the 30-year-old to take the mound against the Mariners this coming Friday, May 20.

When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Sunday morning, Sox manager Alex Cora said Wacha “feels good” and added that “everything looks like he’ll be OK” in regards to his anticipated return date.

Through his first five outings of the year, Wacha has impressed in the back-end of Boston’s starting rotation. The veteran righty has posted a 1.38 ERA and 3.93 FIP to go along with 19 strikeouts to 11 walks over 26 innings of work.

Wacha, who turns 31 in July, signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Red Sox last November, so the 6-foot-6, 215-pound hurler can become a free-agent again this winter.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Kutter Crawford will eventually join Triple-A Worcester’s starting rotation after getting sent down on Saturday

In a series of roster moves made on Saturday, the Red Sox optioned right-hander Kutter Crawford to Triple-A Worcester.

Crawford, 26, was a surprising addition to Boston’s Opening Day roster after striking out 10 of the 20 batters he faced during spring training. Traditionally a starter since being selected by the Sox in the 16th round of the 2017 amateur draft, the Florida Gulf Coast University product earned a spot on the big-league club as a reliever.

In eight appearances out of the Red Sox bullpen, Crawford posted an 8.44 ERA and 5.20 FIP to go along with 14 strikeouts to eight walks over 10 2/3 total innings of work. The righty had pitched just three times this month, so he was an obvious candidate to get sent down on Saturday with Rich Hill getting activated from the COVID-19 related injured list.

By sending him down to Worcester, the Sox are not only allowing Crawford to pitch on a more frequent basis; they also want him to get back into the swing of things as a starting pitcher.

“This is a kid we really like and he needs to pitch,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Saturday afternoon. “Obviously where we’re at right now roster-wise, we are where we’re at. I’m not sure if he’s going to start this week but we’ll make sure he goes multiple innings. At one point he’s going to start and we’re going to let him start and keep developing him.”

Before the 2022 season began, all but one of Crawford’s 67 appearances in the minor-leagues went for starts. He also made his major-league debut as a starter against the Cleveland Guardians at Fenway Park last September.

Upon earning a promotion from Double-A Portland to Worcester last July, Crawford made 10 appearances (nine starts) for the WooSox while fanning 32.1% and walking 7.2% of the opposing hitters he faced at the Triple-A level.

So far this year at the big-league level, Crawford has seen his strikeout rate dip to 25.5% and his walk rate rise to 14.5%. This is something the Red Sox would like to see the 6-foot-1, 209 pound hurler work on in his second stint with the WooSox.

“Out of character are the walks,” said Cora. “This kid, he’s been a strike thrower his whole career. And that’s what everybody was talking about in spring training. It wasn’t easy to get him innings. Obviously you see the games we have played the whole season. They’re close games. I know he can do the job but we wanted him to go multiple innings and it wasn’t easy to get him the innings. So I do believe for now and obviously the future, it’s the best move.”

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Rich Hill to start for Red Sox against Rangers on Saturday

Rich Hill has rejoined the Red Sox in Texas and will start against the Rangers on Saturday night, he told reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams) at Globe Life Field earlier Friday afternoon.

Hill has been sidelined since May 6 after being placed on the COVID-19 related injured list. It was revealed the following day that the 42-year-old had indeed tested positive for the virus.

Because he is vaccinated, Hill is eligible to be activated from the COVID IL in sooner than 10 days as long as he clears MLB protocols, which includes returning two negative tests.

As of this past Tuesday, Hill was no longer exhibiting virus-like symptoms and had been throwing on his own. The veteran left-hander will be making his sixth start of the season on Saturday and has thus far posted a 2.86 ERA and 3.85 FIP with 17 strikeouts to seven walks over 22 innings of work.

In order to make room for Hill, the Red Sox will have to return right-handed reliever John Schreiber to Triple-A Worcester since he has been serving as Hill’s COVID-related fill-in and does not currently count against the 40-man roster.

That being said, Schreiber has impressed out of the bullpen (1.83 FIP in 7 IP) and the Sox could look to keep him up in the majors on a more permanent basis. In order to do that, though, Boston would need to add Schreiber to its 40-man roster and remove someone else, likely by designating a player for assignment.

(Picture of Rich Hill: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock to make third start of season for Red Sox against Angels on Wednesday

Garrett Whitlock will make his third start of the season for the Red Sox in Wednesday night’s game against the Angels at Fenway Park, manager Alex Cora said Saturday.

After opening the year in Boston’s bullpen as a multi-inning reliever, Whitlock moved into the starting rotation on April 23 and has made two starts against the Rays and Blue Jays on the road. Over 16 2/3 total innings of work, the right-hander has posted a miniscule 0.54 ERA and 2.20 FIP to go along with four walks and 20 strikeouts.

While Whitlock will remain in the Sox’ rotation for the time being, Cora would not commit to the 25-year-old as a starter beyond Wednesday since the club has three off days within the next two weeks.

“Let’s see how it goes,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). “We’ve got the off day on Monday. Obviously, we’ve got another off day a week from Monday. He’ll start on Wednesday and then we’ll keep making decisions.”

Cora also indicated that Whitlock’s pitch count on Wednesday will surpass the career-high of 61 he threw in Toronto this past Thursday. In his first time out as a starter in St. Petersburg last Saturday, the righty needed just 48 pitches (33 strikes) to toss four scoreless, one-hit innings.

With Whitlock sticking as a starter for now, Tanner Houck is expected to remain in the bullpen. Houck began the season as a member of Boston’s starting rotation but his last two appearances have come in relief after missing the team’s four-game series in Toronto on account of not being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Between the two, the Sox can mix and match with Houck and Whitlock if they so choose when it comes to their respective roles. Also, as noted by Cotillo, the impending returns of left-handers James Paxton and Chris Sale at some point this summer will further shake up the club’s rotation mix in the coming months.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock to start for Red Sox in Thursday’s series finale against Blue Jays

Garrett Whitlock will start for the Red Sox in Thursday’s series finale against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, the team announced earlier Monday evening.

The Sox are without one of their starters for this four-game set in Toronto after placing Tanner Houck on the restricted list due to his unvaccinated status. Houck was in line to start on Thursday, but is not eligible to travel to Canada on account of the country’s rules for entry.

Because of this, a spot in Boston’s rotation opened up and it unsurprisingly goes to Whitlock, who will follow Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, and Michael Wacha by taking the mound on Thursday.

Whitlock was absolutely dominant in the first start of his big-league career against the Rays on Saturday. Working on three days rest, the right-hander allowed just one hit and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts across four scoreless innings at Tropicana Field. 33 of the 48 pitches he threw went for strikes.

Although the Red Sox have primarily used Whitlock as a reliever since acquiring him from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, it is quite apparent that the club views the 25-year-old hurler as a starter in the long-term.

The four-year, $18.75 million contract extension Whitlock signed with Boston earlier this month includes escalators based on the number of innings he pitches in the future. It can also max out at $44.5 million over six years beginning in 2023.

Including Saturday’s start, Whitlock has posted a miniscule 0.66 ERA and 1.84 FIP with 18 strikeouts to two walks through his first five appearances (13 2/3 innings pitched) of the season. Last year, the righty made one appearance in Toronto on August 7 and struck out three over two scoreless frames of relief.

Considering that he will be pitching on a conventional four days rest come Thursday afternoon, it should be interesting to see how deep the Red Sox allow Whitlock to pitch into the game if he is as effective as he was over the weekend.

On the other side of things, Alek Manoah — who also made his major-league debut last season — is slated to oppose Whitlock and make his fourth start of 2022 for the Blue Jays.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Garrett Whitlock dazzles in first career start for Red Sox

Garrett Whitlock was absolutely sensational in his first career major-league start for the Red Sox on Saturday night.

Working on three days rest and in front of his family against the Rays at Tropicana Field, the right-hander yielded just one hit and no walks to go along with seven strikeouts over four scoreless innings.

After retiring each of the first nine batters he faced, Whitlock took a perfect game into the fourth inning before giving up a leadoff double to Brandon Lowe. He then stranded Lowe at second base by sitting down the likes of Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena, and Ji-Man Choi in order to get through four shutout frames.

Of the 48 pitches Whitlock threw on Saturday, 33 went for strikes. The 25-year-old threw 28 sinkers, 12 changeups, and eight sliders. He induced a total of seven swings-and-misses while topping out at 97.8 mph with his sinking fastball.

The Red Sox elected to have Whitlock start on Saturday in order to fill in for Rich Hill, who had his start pushed back to Sunday after spending time away from the team while on the bereavement list.

Since his last outing came on April 19, Whitlock was stretched out to throw three to four innings and he certainly did his job in an efficient manner there by averaging 12 pitches per inning.

While Boston has mainly used Whitlock as a reliever since acquiring him from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, the club undoubtedly views the righty as a starting pitcher in the long-term.

When the Sox signed Whitlock to a four-year, $18.75 million contract extension earlier this month, they did so while including escalators based on the number of innings he pitches in the future.

As far as when Whitlock’s next start will come, that much remains unclear. The Red Sox could very well have the hard-throwing hurler start against the Blue Jays in Toronto next week, or perhaps they will move him back to the bullpen for the remainder of their three-city road trip.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Mike Carlson/Getty Images)