Red Sox fail to complete sweep of Rangers, end road trip with 7-1 loss in Texas

The Red Sox were unable to finish off a three-game sweep of the Rangers to close out the weekend. Boston instead saw their winning streak snapped at two games following a 7-1 loss to Texas at Globe Life Field on Sunday afternoon. Their record is now 13-21.

In what was a bullpen game for the Sox’ pitching staff, Austin Davis served as the opener while also making the first start of his major-league career. The left-hander pitched well, allowing just one walk to go along with two strikeouts over two-plus scoreless and hitless innings of work. 19 of the 35 pitches he threw went for strikes.

Davis’ day came to an end after issuing a leadoff walk to Nathaniel Lowe in the bottom of the third. He was replaced by Tanner Houck, who took a combined no-hit bid into the fifth inning.

Shortly before Houck took the mound for the bottom half of the fifth, the Boston lineup finally got something going against old friend Martin Perez in their half of the fifth. With two outs in the inning, Enrique Hernandez singled and immediately came into score on a 110.6 mph RBI double off the bat of Rafael Devers.

That gave the Red Sox their first lead of the day at 1-0. Houck, however, gave that run right back when he served up a leadoff homer to Kole Calhoun a half-inning later, which knotted things back up at 1-1.

After Houck got through the rest of the fifth, manager Alex Cora next turned to fellow righty Ryan Brasier out of the Boston bullpen. Brasier, in turn, got hit hard. He gave up a one-out double to Marcus Semien that was followed by a five-pitch walk of Corey Seager. Jonah Heim fanned for the second out, but Adolis Garcia demolished a three-run home run 413 feet to right-center field.

Calhoun followed in Garcia’s footsteps by going deep again moments later. His second big fly of the afternoon put the Rangers up 5-1. Tyler Danish took over for Brasier in the seventh and surrendered another homer to Adolis Garcia. This one was good for two runs and gave Texas a commanding 7-1 lead.

Besides what they did in the fifth inning, the Red Sox bats were held in check by Perez and three relievers out of the Rangers’ bullpen. After exploding for 10 runs on Saturday, Boston went a measly 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Sunday while leaving nine runners on base as a team.

If there are any positives to take away from Sunday’s performance, it’s that Devers extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate. J.D. Martinez, on the other hand, went 1-for-4 with a single to extend his hitting streak to 16 straight games.

Next up: Back to Boston

The Red Sox will head back to Boston and kick off a seven-game homestand by first welcoming the Astros into town for the first of three on Monday night. Boston will give right-hander Garrett Whitlock the ball in the series opener while Houston will roll with fellow righty Jake Odorizzi.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Kole Calhoun: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez both homer to extend hitting streaks as Red Sox score season-high 11 runs for second straight win over Rangers

For the second time this season, the Red Sox have won two consecutive games. For the second time this season, the Red Sox have won a series. Their first series victory came against the Twins nearly a month ago. Their second series victory came against the Rangers on Saturday.

Boston defeated Texas by a final score of 11-3 at Globe Life Field to improve to 13-20 on the season.

As was the case on Friday, the Sox lineup got off to a quick start while opposed by Rangers starter Glenn Otto. Beginning right away in the first inning, J.D. Martinez clubbed a solo home run 404 feet to left-center field to extend his hitting streak to 15 games and give his side an early 1-0 lead.

In the top half of the second, Franchy Cordero ignited a four-run rally by drawing a leadoff walk off Otto. Christian Vazquez moved Cordero up to second base and Bobby Dalbec drove him in on an RBI single. After Jackie Bradley Jr. dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt, Enrique Hernandez plated Vazquez on a sacrifice fly.

With two outs and one runner on, Rafael Devers crushed a 1-2, 89 mph changeup from Otto off the left field foul pole for a two-run blast. Devers’ sixth homer of the year had an exit velocity of 101.7 mph and put the Red Sox up 5-1.

Fast forward to the fourth, Dalbec led things off with a line-drive double, moved up to third on a single from Bradley Jr., and scored from third when Hernandez beat out a double play.

An inning later, Cordero finally knocked Otto out of the game by knocking in Trevor Story on an RBI single. Vazquez then greeted new Rangers reliever Josh Sborz by absolutely drilling a 100.2 mph run-scoring double off the wall in right-center field. Vazquez once again came into score on another RBI double off the bat of Hernandez, which gave the Red Sox a commanding 9-1 lead.

On the other side of things, Boston received their second strong starting pitching performance in as many days. After Nick Pivetta dominated on Friday, Rich Hill impressed in his sixth start of the season and first since returning from the COVID-19 related injured list earlier Saturday afternoon.

Over a season-high six-plus innings of work, the veteran left-hander allowed three runs — two of which were earned — on seven hits and no walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

After a Story fielding error and two stolen bases cost him one unearned run in the bottom of the first, Hill settled in by retiring 15 of the next 18 batters he faced from the middle of the second inning through the end of the sixth. He came back out for the seventh but was unable to record an out and instead surrendered three straight hits — including a two-run double from Kole Calhoun — before getting the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 94 (64 strikes), which is also a season high, Hill induced a total of 11 swings-and-misses while throwing 38 curveballs, 31 four-seam fastballs, 16 sliders, and nine changeups. The 42-year-old southpaw actually saw his ERA on the year rise to 2.89.

In relief of Hill, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Boston bullpen from Cora and proceeded to strand the only runner he inherited by getting through the rest of the seventh unscathed.

On the heels of that sequence, the Sox got one of those runs back in their half of the eighth when Bogaerts drove in Devers from third on a sacrifice fly to center field.

Matt Barnes then took over for Sawamura in the bottom of the eighth and retired the side in order. In the ninth, after Bradley Jr. brought in Cordero with an infield single, Jake Diekman slammed the door on the Rangers to preserve the 11-3 victory.

Some notes from this win:

The Red Sox scored a season-high 11 runs on Saturday while going 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

Franchy Cordero, starting in place of Alex Verdugo in left field, went 2-for-4 with one walk, one RBI and two runs scored. He put the ball into play four times with exit velocities of 107.6 mph, 111.4 mph, 100.4 mph, and 101.6 mph.

The bottom-third of the Red Sox lineup (Vazquez, Dalbec, Bradley Jr.) went a combined 6-for-14 with one double, three RBIs, and four runs scored.

Next up: Bullpen game on tap

The Red Sox will go for the three-game sweep of the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Austin Davis will serve as the opener and make his first career start for Boston. Texas will roll with an old friend in fellow left-hander Martin Perez.

First pitch from Globe Life Field is scheduled for 2:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta allows just 1 run over 7 strong innings as Red Sox take series opener from Rangers with 7-1 win

The Red Sox opened the final leg of their road trip with a 7-1 win over the Rangers at Globe Life Field on Friday night. By defeating Texas to kick off the weekend, Boston improved to 12-20 on the season.

Matched up against Rangers starter Dane Dunning to begin things on Friday, the Sox drew first blood in the third inning when Enrique Hernandez drew a two-out walk. A wild pitch allowed Hernandez to advance to second base, and he immediately scored from second on a softly-hit RBI single off the bat of Rafael Devers.

Devers extended his hitting streak to seven consecutive games while giving the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead. Hernandez, on the other hand, picked up where he left off in the bottom of the third by recording all three outs in center field, including a sprawling grab into the right-center gap on a 106.9 mph line drive from Nick Solak that had an expected batting average of .930.

Fast forward to the sixth inning, and J.D. Martinez ignited a three-run rally by extending his hitting streak to 14 straight games with a one-out single to left field. Xander Bogaerts followed with a single of his own to put runners at first and second for Alex Verdugo, who kept the line moving by ripping an RBI double 354 feet to right field.

Verdugo’s 103 mph laser brought in Martinez and advanced Bogaerts to third. Trevor Story, the hometown kid, then pushed across Bogaerts on a sacrifice fly while Verdugo scored on an RBI double off the bat of Franchy Cordero that was sent down the right field line.

Following a pitching change that saw Brett Martin take over for Dunning, Cordero moved up to third on a wild pitch before Vazquez greeted the new Rangers reliever by lacing a run-scoring single to right. Cordero scored on the play and, by doing so, capped off a four-run inning that put the Sox up 5-0.

In the seventh, with old friend Garrett Richards on the mound for Texas, the Boston lineup tacked on two more runs. Devers reached base via a fielder’s choice and moved up to third on a ground-rule double from Martinez. Both Devers and Martinez scored on a two-run single from Bogaerts that gave the Red Sox a commanding 7-0 lead heading into the seventh-inning stretch.

To that point in the contest, Nick Pivetta was squarely in command in what was his seventh start of the season for the Sox. As was the case in his last time out, the right-hander impressed by allowing just one earned run on three hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts over seven impressive innings of work.

Pivetta retired 18 of the first 21 batters he faced leading up until the middle of the seventh. The righty surrendered a one-out triple to Kole Calhoun. He then scored from third on a wild pitch while Nathaniel Lowe was at the plate for his side’s first run of the night.

That was Pivetta’s one and only blemish. The 29-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 85 (61 strikes) while lowering his ERA on the year down to 5.08.

In relief of Pivetta, Kutter Crawford received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora beginning in the eighth inning. Crawford, making his first appearance out of the ‘pen in over a week, worked a pair of scoreless frames to close out the 7-1 victory.

Some notes from this win:

Moments before doubling in the sixth inning, Alex Verdugo took a foul ball off his right foot. The outfielder was obviously able to remain in the game, but was pinch-hit for by Bobby Dalbec in the top of the seventh. He was later diagnosed with a right foot contusion.

The Red Sox are now 10-5 when scoring four or more runs this season. They went 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Friday.

Enrique Hernandez reached base four times out of the leadoff spot with one hit, two walks, and one pitch off his left shoulder.

Next up: Hill vs. Otto

The Red Sox will go for the series victory over the Rangers on Saturday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill is expected to come off the COVID-19 related injured list and take the mound for Boston while Texas will turn to right-hander Glenn Otto.

First pitch from Globe Life Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN+.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: 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)

Former Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers explains why he left to take same job with Rangers; ‘It was a new challenge for me’

Back in November, hitting coach Tim Hyers left his post with the Red Sox to join the Texas Rangers in the same capacity. Considering the amount of success the Boston lineup enjoyed under Hyers the previous four seasons, it was deemed a surprising move.

With the Red Sox set to open a three-game weekend series against the Rangers in Arlington on Friday, Hyers will have the chance to reconnect with former colleagues on Alex Cora’s coaching staff who he still keeps in touch with now.

On Thursday, Hyers spoke with MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith from Globe Life Field about what specifically led him to leave the Red Sox for the Rangers. He emphasized that it was his decision alone and was not financially-motivated.

“It was a new challenge for me,” Hyers said. “Maybe they needed a new voice. Maybe. Maybe I needed a new scenery, a new environment to keep moving. I had all the confidence in the world with Pete [Fatse]. They’re going to be in great hands. So if there was a time for me to walk away, it was the time. And it was probably a little bit better for my family. My wife’s job moving back and forth here in Texas. So it’s probably a little easier on the family.”

Hyers’ wife, Kristin, works at at Georgia Transmission Corporation in Tucker, Ga., which is obviously closer to Arlington than it is Boston.

The Red Sox, Hyers explained “did everything” to bring him back and “were very generous in doing so.

“It was very open,” he said. “It was my call. And I’m the one who walked away.”

Before officially joining the Rangers’ coaching staff under Chris Woodward, Hyers interviewed with the Yankees, who also had an opening at hitting coach. He said that while he was flattered by having the opportunity to speak with the Yankees, he believed the Rangers were the better fit and opted to sign on there.

In Hyers’ final season as hitting coach in Boston in 2021, the Red Sox batted .261/.328/.449 (107 wRC+) as a team while averaging more than 5.1 runs per game. 2021 was also the second year in which Hyers had assistant hitting coach Pete Fatse working under him. The two had a strong relationship which led Hyers to believe Fatse was ready to take over for him beginning in 2022.

“If there was a time for a new voice and kind of moving forward, Pete was the guy,” said Hyers. “He had been there for two years. He had heard my language. He had heard if things were flowing. So if it was best for me and my family to walk and to do something else, they were in great hands.”

The Red Sox, as noted by Smith, hired Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal to serve as assistant hitting coaches under Fatse.

“When Pete came around, it was like, man, I kind of found my brother in this game,” Hyers said. “We saw the swing and we saw a lot of how the offense should work, we saw it very similar. And obviously I’ve got a few more years ahead of him. I’m older. But that’s the way I felt. So when I say maybe a new voice, maybe that’s the time when, ‘Hey, he’s really good and maybe it’s best for me to go do something else.’”

Under Fatse, who is now a first-year hitting coach, the Red Sox offense has struggled mightily. They come into play Friday having scored 107 runs, the third-worst mark in the majors, while hitting a meager .229/.285/.345 (83 wRC+) as a team so far this season.

Despite those struggles, Hyers still feels as though the Sox are in good hands with Fatse as their hitting coach, noting that offense as a whole is down around the league this year.

“Pete is really smart,” Hyers said. “He’s a great hitting coach. I have all the confidence in the world in Pete. He made me a better hitting coach being a partner with him and co-worker. He’s really, really good. I’m sure him being the head guy, there’s things he’s going to have to learn and things you don’t see until you walk in those shoes. Adjustments to make. To me, it’s brand new every year. You have to maneuver how you want to help each hitter and how you want to help this team. And what’s the makeup of your team? When they go through slumps, how do you help them? Is it push or back off? What do you do?”

Hyers also cited the shortened spring training that came as a result of the lockout having an impact on new hitting coaches such as Fatse and even himself.

“It’s kind of like me here,” Hyers said. “You’re getting to know your players. You’re getting to know how they react to things.”

“Overall, hitting is down this year,” he added. “There’s a few clubs tearing it up. But for the most part, there’s a lot of clubs that are trying to find their footing here early in the season. I think pitching has put it to us offensively. No excuses, but I do feel that kind of the late start, maybe some of the hitters didn’t get their footing, their timing like they are usually accustomed to. And that could play a part in it.”

(Picture of Tim Hyers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox finalize coaching staff for 2022 season, hire Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal as assistant hitting coaches

The Red Sox have finalized their coaching staff for the 2022 season under manager Alex Cora, the club announced earlier Monday morning.

As was first reported by The Boston Herald’s Steve Hewitt in November, Peter Fatse has officially been named as the Sox’ new hitting coach while taking over for Tim Hyers.

Fatse, 34, originally joined Boston’s coaching staff as assistant hitting coach under Hyers in October 2019. After serving in that role for the last two seasons, the Hampden, Mass. native was promoted to become the club’s hitting coach in the wake of Hyers departing for the same role with the Rangers last month.

With Fatse moving up the ladder, the Red Sox added two new assistant hitting coaches to Cora’s staff in Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal.

Ortiz, 51, is a former big-league third baseman who was drafted by Boston in 1991 and spent parts of two seasons with the club in 1993 and 1994. The Santo Domingo native served as Texas’ hitting coach for the last three seasons after spending the 2018 campaign as an assistant hitting coach with the Dodgers. He also has experience as a coordinator/instructor within the Rangers, Guardians, and Padres’ organizations.

Rosenthal, 42, went undrafted out of San Diego State University, but spent two seasons (2004-2005) in the Cardinals organization before calling it a playing career in 2006. From that point forward, the Arizona native served as an assistant coach at Bishop Gorman High School (Nev.) from 2011-2012, head coach of Mira Mesa High School (Calif.) in 2013, and as third base coach and hitting coach for Point Loma Nazarene University (Calif.) from 2014-16.

Since 2017, Rosenthal had been coaching in the Astros organization, most recently serving as the hitting coach for Houston’s Triple-A affiliate from 2019 through the end of the 2021 season.

In addition to this one promotion and two new hires, the Red Sox announced three more internal promotions. Ramon Vazquez has been named the club’s new first base coach, Andy Fox has been named major-league field coordinator, and Mike Brenly has been named major-league staff assistant.

Vazquez has been part of Cora’s staff since 2018 and will make the transition from quality control coach to first base coach after the Red Sox parted ways with Tom Goodwin in October. He will also coordinate the club’s base running instruction.

The 45-year-old should be familiar with that role since he became Boston’s first base coach during the 2021 postseason after Goodwin was forced to leave the team as a result of MLB protocols not granting on-field access to those who were not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Fox, who turns 51 next month, has been with the Red Sox for 11 years as the club’s minor-league infield coordinator (2011-2021) and assistant field coordinator (2019-21). He also worked with the major-league team during the later stages of the 2021 season.

Brenly, on the other hand, will assume the role of major-league staff assistant after spending the last six seasons as a bullpen catcher for the Red Sox.

Besides all these changes, the rest of Cora’s staff from the 2021 season will remain intact. Will Venable is back as bench coach, Dave Bush is back as pitching coach, Kevin Walker is back as bullpen coach, Carlos Febles is back as third base coach, and Jason Varitek will return as Boston’s game planning coordinator and catching coach.

“I feel fortunate to work with such a talented and diverse group of coaches,” Cora said in a statement released by the team. “In addition to Luis and Ben bringing fresh perspectives from outside of our organization, I am excited for the new opportunities presented to Pete, Ramón, and Mike. Andy has been a valuable member of the Red Sox for more than a decade, and I’m thrilled to welcome him to the major-league staff. I look forward to working with this group to achieve the ultimate goal of winning another World Series.”

(Picture of Alex Cora: Elsa/Getty Images)

Former Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers joining Rangers in same capacity, per report

Former Red Sox hitting coach Tim Hyers has joined the Rangers organization in the same capacity, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Hyers, 50, departed from the Red Sox last week even after the team made an offer for him to return in 2022. The reasoning behind his departure mainly revolved around the idea of pursuing other opportunities, as he explained to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Less than a full week after leaving the Sox, it turns out Hyers has indeed found a new opportunity for himself. And while he reportedly drew interest from the Yankees, he ultimately lands with the Rangers.

Hyers was originally named to Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s coaching staff in November 2017 after previously serving as the club’s minor-league hitting coordinator from 2013-2015.

Over the four seasons Hyers was put in charge of their offensive approach, the Sox led all of Major League Baseball in  runs per game (5.31), batting average (.266), slugging percentage (.455), and OPS (.790). They additionally ranked third in on-base percentage (.335) and fourth in wRC+ (108) over that stretch, per FanGraphs.

In between stints as Boston’s minor-league hitting coordinator and major-league hitting coach, Hyers served as an assistant hitting coach for the Dodgers from 2016-2017. At that same time, current Rangers manager Chris Woodward served as Los Angeles’ third base coach under Dave Roberts from 2016-2018.

Any sort of relationship Hyers and Woodward established with the Dodgers presumably played a role in the former joining the latter’s coaching staff with the Rangers.

While Boston’s offense enjoyed plenty of success under Hyers in 2021, the same cannot be said for Texas, who finished the season with a record of 60-102 while regularly fielding unproductive lineups.

In the process of finishing with one of the worst records in baseball, the Rangers ranked 28th in the league in runs per game (3.86), 29th in batting average (.232), 30th in on-base percentage (.294), 28th in slugging percentage (.375) and dead last in OPS (.670). They ultimately dismissed their former hitting coach Luis Ortiz last month.

By hiring Hyers, the Rangers will obviously be hoping to have a revamped offense in 2022. The Red Sox, meanwhile, are expected to promote Peter Fatse, who served as assistant hitting coach under Hyers each of the last two seasons, to become the team’s new hitting coach.

Fatse, 34, is a native of Hampden, Mass. and played his college baseball at the University of Connecticut before being selected by the Brewers in the 24th round of the 2009 amateur draft.

(Picture of Tim Hyers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Sunday’s Red Sox-Rangers game postponed due to Hurricane Henri, rescheduled for Monday

Sunday’s series finale between the Rangers and Red Sox at Fenway Park has been postponed due to Hurricane Henri, the team announced earlier Sunday morning.

The game, which was scheduled to begin at 1:10 p.m. eastern time on Sunday, has been rescheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon.

Tickets for Sunday’s game will be good for Monday’s rescheduled contest, as Fenway Park gates will open approximately 90 minutes before first pitch at 11:40 a.m. ET.

Hurricane Henri, which was downgraded to a tropical storm before it made landfall in the Northeast on Sunday, has already resulted in several events around New England getting postponed or cancelled on account of the unfavorable conditions.

The Worcester Red Sox, for instance, postponed their Sunday game against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at Polar Park on Saturday, and the Boston Red Sox followed suit shortly thereafter.

Per a statement released by the club, “the current forecast calls for several bands of moderate to heavy rain throughout the day and sustained winds of 30-40 mph in the Fenway area with more severe conditions including several inches of rain, flash flooding and hurricane force winds expected to the south and west. State and local officials are asking all residents to use caution throughout the day on Sunday and only travel if absolutely necessary.”

With Sunday’s contest between the Red Sox and Rangers being pushed back by 24 hours, right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is now slated to get the ball for Boston on Monday afternoon, while left-hander Kolby Allard will do the same for Texas.

First pitch (as of now) Monday is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET on NESN.

(Picture of Fenway Park: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Rule 5 picks Tyreque Reed (1.166 OPS at High-A), Kaleb Ort (0.00 ERA at Triple-A) among early Red Sox minor-league standouts

Back in December, the Red Sox selected right-hander Garrett Whitlock from the Yankees in the major-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.

Since arriving in Fort Myers for the start of spring training in February, Whitlock has done nothing but impress in his time in a Red Sox uniform to this point.

Through his first 10 appearances out of Boston’s bullpen this season, the 24-year-old rookie owns an ERA of 1.77 and an xFIP of 2.92 in addition to 21 strikeouts to just three walks over 20 1/3 innings of work.

To say that Whitlock — who had not pitched above Double-A and underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2019 before joining the Red Sox — has been one of the club’s biggest and brightest surprises this year would be an understatement.

Having said that, though, Whitlock is not the only player the Sox selected in last December’s Rule 5 Draft that has gotten his 2021 campaign off to an impressive start.

In addition to taking Whitlock, Boston also selected first baseman Tyreque Reed from the Rangers and right-hander Kaleb Ort from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the draft.

Reed, who turns 24 next month, is a former 2017 eighth-round draft pick who played for three Texas affiliates over three seasons before joining the Red Sox organization over the winter.

Known for his power, Reed — listed at 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds — has been crushing the ball with High-A Greenville so far this spring.

Over his first eight games with the Drive, the right-handed hitter is slashing .240/.406/760 with four home runs, nine RBI, nine runs scored, and five walks in 32 trips to the plate.

His latest home run was a walk-off piece that gave Greenville a 10-9 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones at Fluor Field on Sunday.

Among the top hitters in the High-A East (formerly the South Atlantic League), Reed ranks second in homers, 10th in RBI, 11th in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and second in OPS (1.166).

The Mississippi native has also struck out in 25% of his plate appearances, which he has shown the tendency to do. But by getting on-base at a solid .406 clip, Reed has proven to be effective at the plate thus far, as evidenced by his early 207 wRC+.

“Power bat,” Red Sox vice president of pro scouting Gus Quattlebaum said of Reed this past December. “Big, physical right-handed hitting first baseman with big, big power that you see not only with the scout’s naked eye but also with the batted ball data. There’s a propensity from some strikeouts. We know he’s not immune to that. We really believe in the power potential. We’re really excited to bring him into the organization.”

Kaleb Ort, meanwhile, was selected by the Red Sox in the minor-league portion of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft after spending the previous four seasons as a member of the Yankees organization.

Unlike Reed, Ort was not drafted out of college and instead began his professional career in the Frontier League (independent) before signing as an undrafted free-agent with the Diamondbacks in 2016.

After being cut by Arizona the following spring, the Michigan native returned to the Frontier League before signing with New York in May 2017.

While with the Yankees, Ort appeared in a total of 90 games across five levels between 2017-2019 prior to getting scooped up by the Red Sox in December.

After receiving an invite to big-league camp in February, the 6-foot-4, 233 pound hurler opened the 2021 season at the Sox’ alternate training site and later Triple-A Worcester.

In six appearances out of the WooSox’ bullpen thus far, the 29-year-old has been lights out, as he has allowed just one unearned run on three hits and no walks to go along with nine strikeouts over six innings pitched. He has also converted four of a possible four save opportunities in the process of emerging as Worcester’s primary closer.

“Kaleb Ort is a guy who has really stood out to me, he took the closer role and ran with it,” WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott recently told MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison. “He’s come in and slammed the door without really any threat of a hiccup at all. He’s throwing strikes, aggressive, and he’s been impressive.”

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Ort works with a two-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s fastball that can top out at 98 mph and a slider.

That two-pitch mix has proven to be a potent combination for the righty reliever thus far, as he is holding opponents to a .150 batting average against while boasting a 40.9% strikeout rate, a 0.89 FIP, and a 2.20 xFIP.

What Ort has been doing in Worcester has caught the attention of Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who got to first know him earlier this year during spring training.

“He’s a good one,” Cora said before Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays . “His stuff plays. I really like what I saw. Velocity got better in spring training and he was throwing the ball well down there. He’s a guy we’re looking at, obviously, for the right reasons. We’re very excited with what he’s doing, what he did in spring training and what he can do, probably, in the future.”

With that, it sounds as though Ort could garner big-league consideration at some point this season if he continues to turn heads while closing out games for the WooSox.

Because the 2021 minor-league season is less than two full weeks old, it’s no sure thing that either one of Reed or Ort will be able to keep up with the level at which they are performing at at the moment.

Still, what these two Red Sox minor-league Rule 5 picks have done in their first month with their new organization has been eye-opening to say the least. If they can keep it up over the course of the summer will be something worth monitoring for sure.

(Picture of Kaleb Ort: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Danny Santana to continue rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday, Alex Cora says

Danny Santana will take the next step in his rehab assignment this week, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced before Monday’s game against the Orioles in Baltimore.

Per Cora, Santana will continue his rehab with the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Worcester after beginning the 2021 minor-league season with High-A Greenville.

“Danny is in Worcester now,” Cora said during his pregame media availability. “He’s doing protocol, the intake… He’s supposed to play Tuesday in Worcester.”

The WooSox will host the Syracuse Mets in their home opener at Polar Park on Tuesday afternoon. Santana is expected to be in Worcester’s starting lineup.

In three games with Greenville this past week, the 30-year-old went 4-for-10 with one double, one home run, and two RBI over 12 plate appearances. He played second base, shortstop, and centerfield in that brief stretch.

Santana originally signed a minor-league deal with the Sox back in March but missed an extended period of time in spring training due to a right foot infection that required a stay in the hospital. He also underwent an ulnar collateral ligament repair and augmentation procedure last September.

Before signing with Boston, the switch-hitter had spent the previous two seasons with the Texas Rangers, where he played every defensive position besides pitcher and catcher.

In 2019, he clubbed 28 home runs, collected 81 RBI, and stole 21 bases en route to being named the Rangers’ Player of the Year.

After being limited to just 15 games last year due to multiple stints on the injured list, Santana was non-tendered by Texas in November, which made him available for the Red Sox to sign in the first place.

The expectation seems to be that once Santana is fully ready to go, he will be added to the Sox’ major-league roster, which would also require him to be added to the cub’s 40-man roster.

Until then, how Santana performs with Worcester should be something to monitor these next few days/weeks.

As an added bonus, the WooSox’ home opener on Tuesday will be broadcast on NESN. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. eastern time.

(Picture of Danny Santana: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)