Red Sox outright Taylor Motter to Triple-A Worcester after infielder clears waivers

Three days after designating for assignment, the Red Sox have outrighted infielder Taylor Motter to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Friday afternoon.

Motter, who turns 32 next weekend, was initially claimed off waivers from the Rockies on September 2 — a point in time in which the Sox found themselves in need of experienced infield depth with the likes of Enrique Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, Xander Bogaerts, and Yairo Munoz all out on the COVID-19 related injured list.

After being activated on September 4, Motter made his Red Sox debut that same night, as he appeared as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning and scored the game-winning run in last Saturday’s 4-3 walk-off victory over the Indians at Fenway Park.

The versatile 31-year-old also appeared as a defensive replacement on Sunday and made his first start at second base for Boston in Monday’s 11-10 loss to the Rays, going 2-for-5 with a double, a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored while batting out of the leadoff spot.

Despite the bit of explosiveness he showed in his brief stint with the Red Sox, Motter lost his spot on the club’s major-league and 40-man rosters when both Hernandez and Danny Santana were activated from the COVID-19 related injured list on Tuesday.

Now that he has cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Worcester, the 6-foot-1, 195 pound right-handed hitter will look to provide the Red Sox with some upper-minors infield depth as a member of the WooSox.

Prior to being claimed off waivers from the Rockies last week, Motter had appeared in 68 games for Colorado’s Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque.

In those 68 games, the former 17th-round draft pick slashed an impressive .335/.460/.759 to go along with 16 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 57 RBI, 54 runs scored, 49 walks, and 49 strikeouts across 267 trips to the plate for the Isotopes.

For his big-league career, which dates back to May 2016, Motter has gotten playing time at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and both corner outfield positions over the course of four seasons spent with the Rays, Mariners, Twins, Rockies, and Red Sox.

(Picture of Taylor Motter: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Kiké Hernández, Danny Santana activated from COVID-19 related injured list; Taylor Motter designated for assignment, Franchy Cordero optioned to Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the Rays in the second of a three-game series at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, the Red Sox made yet another flurry of roster moves.

First off, Enrique Hernandez and Danny Santana were both activated from the COVID-19 related injured list.

Secondly, infielder Taylor Motter was designated for assignment, while outfielder Franchy Cordero was optioned to Triple-A Worcester to make room for Hernandez and Santana on the major-league roster.

The Red Sox made all these transactions official earlier Tuesday evening.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora had hinted on Monday that both Hernandez and Santana could re-join the club on Tuesday, and that winds up being the case.

Hernandez became the first Sox player to be placed on the COVID-19 injured list — and the first to test positive for the virus — when their outbreak began in Cleveland on August 27.

The versatile 30-year-old was forced to quarantine at the team’s hotel as a result of his positive test and was not able to return to Boston until this past weekend.

Despite missing 11 of his team’s games, though, Hernandez will return to the Red Sox lineup on Tuesday night, batting leadoff and starting in center field as he has typically done throughout the year.

Santana, meanwhile, did not spend nearly as much time on the COVID IL as Hernandez did.

The switch-hitting infielder/outfielder was initially placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on Sunday on account of exhibiting virus-like symptoms, but none of his tests since then came back positive — meaning he could be activated whenever.

Unlike Hernandez, Santana will start out Tuesday’s contest on Boston’s bench, though he could presumably be used in a pinch-hitting/pinch-running/defensive replacement capacity before the final out of the night is recorded.

With Hernandez and Santana being added back to the big-league roster, the Red Sox were forced to create two openings for them, and they did that by designating Motter for assignment while optioning Cordero to Worcester.

Motter, who turns 32 later this month, was just claimed off waivers from the Rockies last Thursday before being activated on Saturday. He appeared in three games for Boston, going 2-for-6 (.333) at the plate with a double, a triple, one RBI, and three runs scored while playing only second base.

Cordero, on the other hand, returns to Worcester after spending just two days with Boston in his latest big-league stint after Santana was placed on the COVID IL on Sunday.

The left-handed hitting 27-year-old made one brief appearance as a pinch-runner for Travis Shaw in the sixth inning of Monday’s 11-10 loss to the Rays, but was later pinch-hit for by Kevin Plawecki in the bottom of the 10th.

(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox squander 6-run lead, commit 4 errors in 11-10 loss to Rays in extras

Despite holding leads of 7-1, 8-6, and 9-7 on Monday afternoon, the Red Sox were unable to keep the Rays at bay and ultimately fell to their division rivals by a final score of 11-10 in 10 innings at Fenway Park.

Chris Sale, making his fifth start of the season for the Sox, did not factor into Monday’s decision, though Boston did lose a game he started for the first time this year.

Over just 3 2/3 innings of work, Sale surrendered five runs — only one of which was earned — on 10 hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts on the afternoon.

The veteran left-hander began his day by fanning Randy Arozarena on three straight strikes, but then issued a 394-foot triple to rookie sensation Wander Franco.

Franco quickly came into score on an RBI single off the bat of Nelson Cruz to give the Rays their first lead of the contest at 1-0.

Sale did manage to get out of the top of the first by escaping a bases-loaded jam, and the Red Sox lineup responded by getting to Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough for an equalizing run on a run-scoring single from J.D. Martinez.

Pushing across one run in their half of the first was not the only damage the Boston bats did while Yarbrough was on the mound, as they plated six additional runs off the left-hander an inning later.

On an RBI single from Taylor Motter, an RBI double from Hunter Renfroe, an RBI single from Rafael Devers, a two-run double from Bobby Dalbec, and a sacrifice fly from Alex Verdugo, the Sox took a commanding 7-1 lead and appeared as though they would be well on their way to a series-opening win.

At that point, Sale had seemingly settled in by putting up a zero in the second and third innings while also recording the first two outs of the fourth rather quickly.

The division-leading Rays, however, did not go down quietly, as Taylor Walls ignited a two-out rally by reaching base via softly-hit, two-foot infield single. Arozarena and Franco followed with singles of their own, loading the bases for the ever-dangerous Cruz.

Sale got Cruz to lift a 370-foot fly ball to center field that had an expected batting average of just .270. Verdugo, the center fielder, was in position to make the inning-ending catch, but instead battled with the sun and was unable to make a clean snag, resulting in the ball rolling towards right field.

On Verdugo’s fielding error, Cruz managed to unload the bases while also advancing all the way up to third base. He then scored from third when Motter, the second baseman, overthrew Devers.

Tampa Bay’s little-league grand slam allowed them to trim Boston’s advantage down to two runs at 7-5 while also getting Sale out of this contest after just 86 pitched (65 strikes).

In relief of Sale, right-hander Garrett Richards closed out the fourth inning, tossed a 1-2-3 top of the fifth, and surrendered one run on three singles in the sixth, with Jordan Luplow making it a 7-6 game on his RBI base hit.

The Sox answered back in their half of the sixth, though, with Motter ripping a leadoff triple off Rays reliever J.T. Chargois and Renfroe plating him on a hard-hit RBI single through the left side of the infield.

Boston’s newfound two-run lead did not last long, with Arozarena driving in Mike Zunino in the seventh while Adam Ottavino was on the mound.

Jonathan Arauz quickly got that run back by clubbing a 416-foot solo shot off J.P. Feyereisen a half inning later, but Ottavino — for the second appearance in a row — served up a leadoff home run to Cruz to begin things in the eighth.

The Rays completed their comeback in the ninth, with Austin Meadows drilling an inside-the-park homer off Garrett Whitlock.

Meadows had scorched a 393-foot line drive to center field to lead off the inning, but it was one Verdugo could not come up cleanly with while leaping in the direction of the wall.

Neither Martinez nor Renfroe backed up Verdugo as the ball caromed away, resulting in recently-signed shortstop Jose Iglesias to hustle out from the infield to make the play himself.

Iglesias, however, bobbled the ball while attempting to corral it, and that allowed the speedy Meadows to complete his trek around the base paths to tie things up at nine runs apiece.

Whitlock did manage to get through the rest of the frame unscathed to keep the 9-9 stalemate intact, and the pinch-hitting Travis Shaw led things off against former Red Sox hurler Collin McHugh in the bottom of the ninth by lacing a leadoff ground-rule double.

The Rays intentionally walked Verdugo and the Sox had Franchy Cordero run in place of Shaw, but Christian Vazquez was not able to advance the lead runner when his botched bunt attempt wound up getting caught by Zunino in foul territory.

Arauz followed by grounding into an inning-ending 5-6-3 double play, meaning the Red Sox had squandered yet another scoring opportunity as this one headed into extras.

Whitlock, back out for the 10th, gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Cruz and the pinch-hitting Brandon Lowe, thus putting his side in a two-run hole while giving the Rays their first lead of the first inning at 11-9.

Down to their last chance in the bottom of the 10th, Iglesias promptly drove in Arauz from second base and later advanced to second himself when Renfroe reached base on a fielding error.

Devers proceeded to draw a two-out walk against McHugh, meaning the potential tying run was just 90 feet away from scoring while the potential winning run was 180 feet away.

In that spot, Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to have Kevin Plawecki hit for Cordero, but the veteran backstop could only dribble a softly-hit, inning-ending groundout to shortstop that secured a hard-fought 11-10 win for the visitors and a disappointing 11-10 defeat for the home side.

In a game that took 4 hours and 54 minutes to complete, the Red Sox committed four errors, went 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position, and left 12 runners on base as a team in the process of falling to 79-61 on the season.

Next up: Rodriguez vs. Rasmussen

The Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the hill on Tuesday night as they look to halt this latest skid. The Rays will counter with right-hander Drew Rasmussen.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Taylor Motter batting leadoff in first start with Red Sox

In his very first start for the Red Sox, newcomer Taylor Motter has been tasked with leading off against the Rays at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon.

Motter, who turns 32 later this month, has appeared in two games for the Sox — both as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement — since being claimed off waivers from the Rockies on Thursday and subsequently being added to the major-league roster on Saturday.

For his major-league career, which dates back to 2016, the right-handed hitter has batted leadoff on just two separate occasions, both of which came during his rookie season with the Rays five years ago.

The Red Sox will be facing off against left-hander Ryan Yarbrough to kick off a three-game series against the division-leading Rays on Monday. Motter is a lifetime .197/.275/.283 hitter when matched up against southpaw.

Prior to joining the Sox last week, the versatile 31-year-old had enjoyed a productive season at the plate with Triple-A Albuquerque before having his contract selected by the Rockies in early August.

In 67 games with the Isotopes, Motter slashed an impressive .335/.460/.759 slash line to go along with 16 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 57 RBI, 54 runs scored, 49 walks, and 49 strikeouts across 265 total trips to the plate. That includes going 25-for-60 (.417) against lefties.

“Just get a pitch, hit it in the air and give us a lead,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) when asked about his decision to bat Motter leadoff. “He put two good at-bats yesterday. He was having a great season in Triple A. I was watching video. I think his swing should play against Yarbrough. … He might get three at-bats against the lefty, give us a boost and get us going.”

Through his first two games with Boston, Motter is 0-for-1 with a walk and run scored, though he made a nice play at second base on Sunday in addition to getting picked off at first base in the seventh inning of an 11-5 loss to the Indians.

Motter will be getting the start at second base in Monday’s series opener against Tampa Bay. Here is how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind him, as they will be looking to improve to 5-0 in games ace left-hander Chris Sale starts.

First pitch Monday (Labor Day) is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.

(Picture of Taylor Motter: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox add Taylor Motter to major-league roster, option Connor Wong to Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the Indians at Fenway Park on Saturday, the Red Sox added infielder Taylor Motter to their major-league roster.

In a corresponding move, catcher Connor Wong was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Saturday afternoon.

Motter, who turns 32 in two weeks, was claimed off waivers from the Rockies this past Thursday after being designated for assignment by Colorado on August 30.

Appearing in 13 games for the Rockies, the 31-year-old went 3-for-20 (.150) at the plate with two runs scored, two walks, and six strikeouts while primarily being used off the bench as a pinch-hitter.

Prior to having his contract selected by Colorado last month, Motter had been raking at the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque this season, slashing an impressive .335/.460/.759 (186 wRC+) to go along with 16 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 57 RBI, and 54 runs scored over 67 games (265 plate appearances) with the Isotopes.

A former 17th-round draft pick of the Rays out of Coastal Carolina University in 2011, the Florida native has appeared in a total of 154 games between the Rays, Mariners, Twins, and Rockies since making his major-league debut in May 2016.

Over the course of those 154 games, Motter has seen the majority of his playing time come at shortstop, though he also has experience at first base, second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.

The Red Sox, at the moment, have now placed five position players — Enrique Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, Xander Bogaerts, Yairo Munoez, and Jarren Duran — on the COVID-19 related injured list since last Friday, so they recently found themselves in need of experienced infield and outfield depth.

Motter, who hits from the right side of the plate and is listed at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, will look to provide his new club with that, as he will be on the bench to start things out on Saturday. He will wear the No. 30.

Wong, meanwhile, heads back down to Worcester less than 24 hours after getting called up to take Duran’s place on the major-league roster.

The 25-year-old backstop did not see any playing time in what is technically his sixth stint of the season with the Red Sox, though he has been on a tear at Triple-A as of late.

In the month of August alone, Wong — the top catching prospect in Boston’s farm system — posted a .372/.386/.651 slash line (174 wRC+) with three home runs and 11 RBI across 11 games (44 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

(Picture of Taylor Motter: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Red Sox claim infielder Taylor Motter off waivers from Rockies

The Red Sox have claimed infielder Taylor Motter off waivers from the Rockies, the team announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Motter, who turns 32 later this month, had been designated for assignment by Colorado on Monday after appearing in just 13 games for the team since having his contract selected on August 10.

In those 13 games, the right-handed hitter went just 3-for-20 (.150) at the plate with two runs scored, two walks, and six strikeouts over 22 plate appearances while primarily being used off the bench as a pinch-hitter.

The 31-year-old initially inked a minor-league deal with the Rockies back in March and had posted a .335/.460/.759 slash line with 16 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 57 RBI, 54 runs scored, 49 walks, and 49 strikeouts over 67 games (265 plate appearances) for Triple-A Albuquerque before getting called up.

Originally selected by the Rays in the 17th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Coastal Carolina University, Motter has played in a total of 154 major-league games with Tampa Bay, the Mariners, the Twins, and the Rockies dating back to 2016.

Since debuting with the Rays in 2016, Motter owns a lifetime slash line of .189/.261/.304 to go along with 15 doubles, 10 home runs, 37 RBI, 44 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 38 walks, and 95 strikeouts in the majors.

He has also played for the New Britain Bees of the independent Atlantic League and the Kiwoom Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization.

While drafted as a shortstop and seeing the majority of his big-league playing time come at that position, the Florida native does also have experience at first base, second base, third base, left field, and right field.

Given the defensive versatility that Motter can provide, the Red Sox must have felt as though the 6-foot-1, 195 pounder would be an apt fit on account of the COVID-19 difficulties the club is currently going through.

Put another way, with the likes of Christian Arroyo, Xander Bogaerts, Yairo Munoz, and Enrique Hernandez all on the COVID-19 related injured list at the moment, Motter gives Boston some experienced depth in both the infield and outfield.

The Red Sox did not have to make a corresponding move when adding Motter to their 40-man roster on account of the eight players currently on the COVID-related IL.

Additionally, Motter does have one minor-league option remaining and is under club control through 2025, so there is that to consider as well.

(Picture of Taylor Motter: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)