Red Sox’ Chris Sale Has Pneumonia

Red Sox ace left-hander Chris Sale has pneumonia, according to interim manager Ron Roenicke.

“He’s got the flu as you guys know,” Roenicke told reporters after the team’s first workout at JetBlue Park on Wednesday. “But it’s gone into a mild case of pneumonia. He is actually feeling really good. He’s had this for about a week and a half.”

Sale, who was absent from Wednesday’s workout, will be reevaluated on Friday, per Roenicke.

“it sounds probably worse than what it is,” the interim skipper added. “But he said last night he had a great night sleep. So he was really happy about it.”

Obviously, this is not the news you want to hear just as spring training begins. But, it does seem as if Sale will be good to go come the end of the week, which is promising.

The soon-to-be 31-year-old hurler is coming off his worst season in the majors last year after posting a 4.40 ERA over 25 starts and just 147 1/3 innings of work. He did not make a start after August 13th due to left elbow inflammation.

That inflammation was treated with a PRP injection from Dr. James Andrews that same month, and Sale was cleared to throw again in December. According to Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran, the lefty’s arm is “fully healthy.”

“We expected Chris to be ready to go,” O’Halloran said Tuesday. “He’s ill. He’s sick, so that’s going to slow him down. But other than that, he’s fine.”

The Red Sox will presumably ease Sale into things once he is healthy enough to fully report to camp.

The Florida native is entering the first year of the five-year, $145 million extension he signed with Boston last spring.

Travis Lakins Would Be Intriguing Option to Open Games for Red Sox in 2020

As things stand headed into the new year, the Red Sox have five viable options to make up their starting rotation next season in Chris Sale, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and the recently-signed Martin Perez.

However, with it looking more and more likely that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom will eventually trade Price away to a club like the Los Angeles Dodgers or St. Louis Cardinals, a hole in that rotation may open yet again.

Because of that possibility, it’s not all that ridiculous to think that the Sox could pursue using an opener in 2020 if they do not add another starting pitcher. Remember, Bloom was at the helm in Tampa when the Rays began employing the opener strategy in 2018.

Going off what The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey said in a predictions piece last week, Boston would be more prepared to implement an opener next season than they were this past one, when they had to turn to the strategy out of necessity due to injuries.

With that, right-hander Travis Lakins presents one potential name who could fill that opener role for the Sox come the spring.

In 16 appearances, three of which were starts, in 2019, the 25-year-old rookie posted a 3.86 ERA and 5.22 xFIP over 23 1/3 innings of work spanning five stints with the big-league club.

A 5.22 xFIP in the majors is certainly nothing to write home about, but when you narrow Lakins’ numbers down to when he appeared as an opener for the first time on September 7th against the Yankees, the results improve greatly to the tune of a 2.25 ERA, a 4.45 xFIP, and a .650 OPS against over six outings (three starts) and eight innings pitched.

It’s a small sample size, sure, but if Bloom and Co. are going to be looking for a creative way to fill Price’s spot in the starting rotation once he is eventually dealt, Lakins certainly checks that box.

Red Sox Sign Left-Hander Martin Perez to One-Year Deal

The Red Sox and left-hander Martin Perez have reportedly agreed on a one-year, $6 million deal for the 2020 season that includes a $6.25 million club option for 2021, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

Perez, who turns 29 in April, spent this past season with the Minnesota Twins, where he posted an ERA of 5.12 over 32 outings (29 starts) and 165 1/3 innings of work.

Among the 26 American League hurlers with at least 160 innings under their belt in 2019, Perez ranked 22nd in ERA, 17th in xFIP (4.69), ninth in hard-hit rate (35%), and 21st in fWAR (1.9), per FanGraphs.

A former international signee out of Venezuela by the Texas Rangers back in 2007, Perez will look to fill the void left in the Sox’ starting rotation by Rick Porcello, who happened to sign a one-year deal with the New York Mets on Thursday as well.

In his career at Fenway Park, Perez owns a lifetime 5.96 ERA and batting average against of .287 over four starts and 22 2/3 innings pitched. That includes six innings of one-run ball in one of his final starts as a Twin back on September 5th.

With the additions of Perez and infielder Jose Peraza via free agency, as well as Jonathan Aurez through the Rule 5 Draft made by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. on Thursday, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster should stand at 39 players once everything is official.

 

Jhoulys Chacin Makes First Start for Red Sox in Series Opener Against Yankees

Newly acquired right-hander Jhoulys Chacin will make his first start for the Red Sox on Friday night, one day after left-hander David Price was scratched due to tightness in his left wrist.

Chacin, 31, inked a minor-league pact with Boston this past Saturday after a successful workout in Anaheim and was selected to the club’s major league roster the day after as part of the first round of September call-ups.

Released by the Milwaukee Brewers on August 26th, the Venezuela native posted a 5.79 ERA and .282 batting average against over 19 starts and 88 2/3 innings of work before that.

In two career starts at Fenway Park, Chacin is 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA and .409 batting average against over just 9 2/3 innings pitched. He has also made two career starts against the Yankees, and has posted a 4.09 ERA, as well as a .302 BAA over 11 total frames.

Friday will be the first in-game action since July 24th, when he surrendered four runs (three earned) on six hits and one walk over three innings pitched against the Cincinnati Reds in his final start for Milwaukee.

There was a point this past Tuesday in the opening game against the Minnesota Twins where Chacin was warming in the Sox’ bullpen, but he was not deployed from there.

First pitch Friday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind Chacin.

Josh Taylor to Make First Career Start for Red Sox in Second Game Against Angels

Red Sox left-hander Josh Taylor will be making the first start of his major league career on Saturday night, as he gets the ball for Boston in the second of three against the Los Angeles Angels.

Named the starter earlier Saturday, Taylor will serve as the “opener” in what will be a bullpen day for the Sox as they go for the series win over the Halos.

Through 40 relief appearances this season, the 26-year-old rookie has posted a 3.15 ERA and .235 batting average against over exactly 40 innings pitched since making his big league debut against the Cleveland Indians on May 29th.

Taylor did allow two runs in the fifth inning of Friday’s 7-6 15-inning win over Los Angeles to snap a stretch of 12 straight scoreless outings.

Over the course of that impressive run, Taylor did do something somewhat similar to starting a game, when in the continuation of that August 7th contest against the Kansas City Royals on the 22nd, the Arizona native picked up where he left off and tossed a 1-2-3 top half of the 10th to earn the first winning decision of his young career.

Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will lineup behind Taylor on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 9:07 PM EDT on NESN.

Red Sox Sign Right-Hander Jhoulys Chacin to Minor-League Deal

UPDATE: The deal is now official, per the Red Sox’ official Twitter account.

The Red Sox have reportedly signed veteran right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to a minor-league contract, per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Chacin, 31, was released by the Milwaukee Brewers on August 26th, two days after he was designated for assignment.

In 19 starts this season, Milwaukee’s Opening Day starter posted a 5.79 ERA and .282 batting average against over 88 2/3 innings pitched. The Brewers went 6-13 in those games.

On Friday, the Red Sox reportedly held a workout for Chacin at Angel Stadium before opening up a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. A workout in which the Venezuela native threw a bullpen under the watch of manager Alex Cora and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, according to The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman.

With Chris Sale presumably out the remainder of the season and David Price set to make his first start since August 4th on Sunday, the Sox are in need of rotation depth. That much is evident by how left-hander Josh Taylor will serve as the opener in what will be a “bullpen day” for Boston on Saturday.

Red Sox Place Chris Sale on Injured List Due to Left Elbow Inflammation

In case you missed it, the Red Sox announced that left-hander Chris Sale had been placed on the 10-day injured list due to left elbow inflammation prior to Saturday’s win over the Baltimore Orioles.

In a corresponding move, right-hander Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. The club made the transaction official earlier on Saturday.

Sale allowed five runs, three of which were earned, on five hits, two walks, and 12 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in his last time out against the Cleveland Indians this past Tuesday.

According to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, the 30-year-old felt stiffness in his left elbow in the two days following his last start and informed the team’s training staff of it on Friday, which ultimately led to an MRI on Saturday.

“We’re not taking any chances and putting him on the injured list,” Dombrowski said when speaking with reporters Saturday. “There’s going to be further evaluation. Our doctors looked at the MRI. We’ll have other doctors look at the MRI. We’re in a situation where I don’t really know where it’s going to take us at this point. People will further read the MRIs, and then they’ll make their diagnosis.”

One of those other opinions will come from Dr. James Andrews, who will more than likely meet with Sale as well.

Sale himself was not made available to the media on Saturday. As Dombrowski put it, “Chris, I think, needs a couple of days to himself at this point.”

Obviously, there’s no timetable for when Sale could possibly make any kind of return. In fact, when asked about whether or not the Florida native will pitch again in 2019, all Dombrowski could say was, “I don’t know one way or another at this point.”

Sale was scheduled to start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday. A replacement has yet to be named by Sox manager Alex Cora, who said that, “Somebody has to step up. That’s how it works in this business,” following Saturday’s win over the Orioles.

On the other side of this move, Ryan Brasier was recalled from Pawtucket one month after a somewhat-surprising demotion.

In that time with the PawSox, the 31-year-old posted a 0.96 ERA and .182 batting average against over 10 relief appearances and 9 1/3 innings pitched.

On the 2019 campaign as a whole, Brasier owns an ERA of 4.46 and batting average against of .242 in 44 appearances and 40 1/3 innings of work with Boston. He did not pitch Saturday.

Stay tuned for something on here if Sale speaks with the media in the next few days.