Red Sox select Zack Littell to active roster, option Kaleb Ort to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox selected the contract of right-hander Zack Littell and have added him to the active roster, the club announced prior to Saturday’s game against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

In order to make room for Littell on the 26-man roster, fellow reliever Kaleb Ort was optioned to Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for him on the 40-man roster, outfielder Adam Duvall was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.

Boston acquired Littell from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations on Friday. The 27-year-old had a May 1 upward mobility clause in his minor-league deal with the Rangers, which required Texas to either promote or trade him if another club was willing to call him up.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the Red Sox expressed a willingness to add Littell to their big-league roster, which led to Friday’s trade taking place.

Littell spent the first month of the 2023 season with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock after signing a minors pact with Texas in February. In eight relief appearances for the Express, the righty posted a 2.25 ERA with 16 strikeouts to two walks over 12 innings of work.

A former 11th-round draft selection of the Mariners out of Eastern Alamance High School (N.C.) in 2013, Littell made his major-league debut in 2018 and owns a lifetime 4.08 ERA (4.66 FIP) with 151 strikeouts to 60 walks in 145 career outings (four starts, 169 2/3 innings) between the Twins and Giants.

After a breakout 2021 campaign in which he produced a 2.92 ERA in a career-high 63 appearances for San Francisco, Littell struggled to a 5.08 ERA across 44 1/3 innings last season. He most notably got in a heated argument with manager Gabe Kapler after getting pulled from a game in September and was later outrighted by the Giants before electing free agency in November.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Littell operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a high-80s slider, and a mid-80s splitter, per Baseball Savant.

Littell, who will wear the No. 52 with the Red Sox, is out of minor-league options. In other words, the North Carolina native has to stick on Boston’s 40-man roster or he will otherwise be designated for assignment if the club intends on sending him back to the minors by hoping he clears waivers.

Ort, meanwhile, returns to Worcester after a brief one-day stint with the Red Sox. The 31-year-old was called up on Friday night to take the roster spot of Kutter Crawford, who was placed on the 15-day injured list due to a left hamstring strain. He did not pitch in Friday’s win over the Phillies.

Duvall has been on the injured list since April 10 due to a distal radius fracture in his left wrist. The 34-year-old slugger did not require surgery and has since transitioned from a hard cast to a removable splint. While he has yet to swing a bat, he has been running and doing other conditioning work, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

Because he was transferred to the 60-day injured list, Duvall cannot be activated June 9 at the earliest. It remains to be seen if he will require the minimum 60 days or will still be sidelined beyond that date.

(Picture of Zack Littel: Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)


Nathan Eovaldi leaves Red Sox, agrees to two-year, $34 million deal with Rangers

Nathan Eovaldi’s time with the Red Sox has apparently come to an end.

The veteran right-hander has agreed to sign with the Rangers, according to FanSided’s Robert Murray. Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that it is a two-year, $34 million contract that includes a vesting option for 2025 as well as performance bonuses that can take the value of the deal — which is pending a physical — even higher.

Going into further detail, Eovaldi can earn up to $3 million in bonuses per year if he reaches 160 innings, per Passan. The third-year option is dependent on how many innings he pitches over the next two seasons. If he can reach the 300-inning plateau from 2023-2024, he will receive a $20 million player option in 2025. In total, Eovaldi could earn up to $63 million over the next three years.

Eovaldi, who turns 33 in February, became a free agent for the third time in his career last month after spending the better part of the last five seasons in Boston. The Red Sox never approached Eovaldi about a possible contract extension during the 2022 regular season but did express interest in a reunion once the World Series ended and the offseason began.

In addition to extending Eovaldi a $19.65 million qualifying offer, the Red Sox also gave him a multi-year contract offer. The righty rejected both and instead elected to hit the open market.

Recent reports suggested that other teams were showing more interest in Eovaldi than the Red Sox were. Since Eovaldi will now be taking his talents to Texas, Boston will receive a compensatory pick after the fourth round of next year’s amateur draft.

Originally acquired from the Rays ahead of the 2018 trade deadline, Eovaldi played a key role in helping the Red Sox win a World Series title that October. He posted a 3.33 ERA (2.88 FIP) over 12 appearances (11 starts, 54 innings) down the stretch in the regular season and then pitched to a 1.61 ERA (2.71 FIP) in the postseason. His most memorable outing during that run came in Game 3 of the World Series against the Dodgers, when he tossed six one-run innings of relief in a loss in an effort to preserve the Boston bullpen.

After needing just five games to triumph over the Dodgers in the Fall Classic, the Red Sox signed Eovaldi to a four-year, $68 million deal at the Winter Meetings that December.

Eovaldi’s first full season in Boston was marred by injuries, but he bounced back in 2020 and then put together a career year in 2021 by forging a 3.75 ERA (2.79 FIP) with 195 strikeouts to 35 walks over 32 starts (182 1/3 innings). He made his first All-Star team that summer and wound up finishing fourth in American League Cy Young voting.

This past season, Eovaldi proved to be effective yet again. He produced a respectable 3.87 ERA (4.30 FIP) and walked just 4.4 percent of the batters he faced. But he was limited to just 20 starts spanning 109 1/3 innings of work due to bouts with lower back and right shoulder inflammation that required two separate stints on the injured list. Those injuries may have contributed to a dip in his fastball velocity this year.

All told, Eovaldi compiled a lifetime 4.05 ERA (3.73 FIP) in 96 career appearances (461 1/2 innings) across five seasons with the Red Sox. He served as Boston’s Jimmy Fund captain over the last two years and was the club’s nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2021.

By agreeing to a deal with the Rangers, Eovaldi will be returning home to Texas. The Houston-area native is slated to join a starting rotation mix in Arlington that includes fellow free agent additions Jacob deGrom and Andrew Heaney, former teammate Martin Perez, and Jon Gray, among others. He will also be reunited with former Red Sox bench coach Will Venable, who left Alex Cora’s staff to become associate manager under Bruce Bochy last month.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, have now lost two members of their 2022 starting rotation to free agency in the same day. Just hours before news of Eovaldi’s agreement with the Rangers broke, it was revealed that left-hander Rich Hill had agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal with the Pirates.

As noted by’s Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox have made it clear that they would like to add a starter or two to a rotation mix that is projected to include Chris Sale, James Paxton, Brayan Bello, and Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock, and possibly even Tanner Houck heading into the 2023 campaign.

While Eovaldi and Hill are off the table, Michael Wacha — who made 23 starts for Boston in 2022 — remains unsigned. Other options available via free agency include Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke, and Corey Kluber, who has already been linked to the Red Sox this winter.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Will Venable leaves Red Sox to become Rangers’ associate manager

Red Sox manager Alex Cora is going to need a new bench coach in 2023.

Will Venable, who held that title in Boston for the last two seasons, has been hired by the Texas Rangers to serve as associate manager on Bruce Bochy’s coaching staff next year, the club announced on Wednesday.

“Will is highly-regarded within the game, and I am very happy to have him on the staff as we prepare for the 2023 season,” Bochy said in a statement released by the team. “Will has acquired extensive coaching experience in a short period of time since his playing career ended, and that experience will be invaluable to me as we work to build a winning environment in Texas.”

Venable, 40, was originally named Red Sox bench coach in November 2020 after spending the previous four years with the Cubs as both an executive (2017) and base coach (2018-2020). Although he lost out to Cora in the managerial interview process that fall, Cora elected to tap him as one of his top lieutenants in the dugout.

Over the last two seasons, Venable was responsible for coordinating major-league spring training in Fort Myers and for coordinating Boston’s outfield instruction. He also stepped in as interim manager on two separate occasions while Cora was away for his daughter’s high school graduation last May and while Cora was out with COVID-19 this past April.

At the conclusion of the 2021 campaign, Venable — a Bay Area native — interviewed for the Athletics’ managerial opening before Oakland decided to hire Mark Kotsay. The New York Post’s Jon Heyman reported last month that Venable had emerged as a candidate for the Royals’ vacancy, which ultimately went to Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro.

Venable has connections to Texas. The former big-league outfielder spent part of the 2015 season with the Rangers and was teammates with general manager Chris Young for parts of three seasons (2008-2010) with the Padres. Both Venable and Young attended Princeton University.

With Venable’s departure, the Red Sox now have an important vacancy to fill on their coaching staff. It remains to be seen if Cora will look internally or externally to find Venable’s replacement. First base coach Ramon Vazquez, third base coach Carlos Febles, and game-planning coordinator Jason Varitek all represent strong internal options. Major-league field coordinator Andy Fox and Triple-A Worcester manager Chad Tracy could be considered as well.

Vazquez is currently in Puerto Rico serving as manager for the Criollos Cagaus while Febles is in the Dominican Republic serving as bench coach for the Tigres del Licey. Varitek, on the other hand, recently signed a multi-year contract extension to remain with the Red Sox. According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, that deal is good for two years and includes a team option for a third.

In addition to Vazquez, Febles, Varitek, and Fox, all other Red Sox coaches are expected to return to the club next season. That includes pitching coach Dave Bush, bullpen coach Kevin Walker, hitting coach Pete Fatse, and assistant hitting coaches Luis Ortiz and Ben Rosenthal.

(Picture of Will Venable: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

After being released by Red Sox, Kevin Plawecki drawing interest from Rangers

Two days after designating him for assignment, the Red Sox have released catcher Kevin Plawecki, the club announced on Monday.

Plawecki, who was informed of the decision following Friday night’s 2-1 win over the Royals at Fenway Park, is already drawing interest from other teams. According to FanSided’s Robert Murray, the Rangers “are expressing serious interest” in the free-agent backstop.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News adds that outfielder Nick Solak will be placed on the injured list with a season-ending foot fracture, so Plawecki could take his spot on Texas’ roster. Rob Bradford of, however, notes that Plawecki can’t officially sign with a new team until 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

Plawecki, 31, spent the last three seasons in Boston after originally signing with the Red Sox in January 2020. The right-handed hitter was brought on to be Christian Vazquez’s backup and served that role well in 2020-2021 by batting .305/.364/.414 over 88 total games.

This year has been a different story for Plawecki, who has struggled to a .217/.287/.287 slash line to go along with eight doubles, one home run, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 14 walks, and 28 strikeouts across 60 games and 175 plate appearances.

Though he emerged as a clubhouse leader and a quality game-caller from behind the plate, Plawecki only threw out four of 44 base stealers with the Red Sox this season.

Given those offensive and defensive struggles, Boston elected to move on from Plawecki — who is slated to become a free-agent this winter — now so that it could a more extended look at Connor Wong and Reese McGuire — both of whom are under team control beyond 2023 — before the regular season ends.

Designating Plawecki also allowed the Red Sox to clear a spot on both their 28- and 40-man roster for rookie reliever Franklin German, who made his major-league debut on Saturday.

It may not have been a popular move from within the Red Sox clubhouse, but it appears as though Plawecki has already landed back on his feet. And because he was released, the Sox will remain on the hook for the remainder of his $2.25 million salary this year.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Brayan Bello tosses 6 scoreless innings to earn first major-league win as Red Sox defeat Rangers, 5-3

The Red Sox extended their winning streak to four straight on Saturday afternoon by taking their third straight from the Rangers. Boston held on for a 5-3 victory over Texas at Fenway Park to move within two games of .500 by improving to 66-68 on the season.

Brayan Bello got the start for the Sox and wound up putting together the best outing of his young career so far. The rookie right-hander scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts over six scoreless innings of work.

Boston provided Bello with an early lead, which certainly didn’t hurt. After Xander Bogaerts reached base with two outs in the bottom of the first, Rafael Devers drove him in with a 337-foot RBI double to left field off Rangers starter Dennis Santana.

Bello continued to roll by keeping Texas off the board through the middle of the fifth. In the bottom half of the frame, Enrique Hernandez and Alex Verdugo each drew a pair of walks off reliever Brock Burke. Burke then balked, allowing both runners to advance an additional 90 feet. With only one out and two runners in scoring position, Bogaerts ripped a chopper to the left side of the infield.

Hernandez took off as soon as contact was made. Rangers shortstop Corey Seager attempted to gun down his former teammate at home plate. But his throw was mishandled by catcher Meibrys Viloria, allowing Hernandez to score on a missed catching error. Verdugo also moved up to third on the play, then scored the second run of the inning when Devers beat out a potential inning-ending double play.

Taking a 3-0 lead into the sixth, Bello ended his day by retiring the final three batters he faced. The 23-year-old hurler threw 88 pitches (60 strikes) and induced nine swings-and-misses en route to picking up his first big-league win.

In relief of Bello, Red Sox manager Alex Cora first turned to Garrett Whitlock out of the bullpen. Whitlock responded by stranding one base runner in an otherwise clean top half of the seventh. A half-inning later, Boston yet again took advantage of sloppy defense from Texas.

Bogaerts reached via a one-out single off Koehi Arihara. Devers followed with a single of his own, but Bogaerts was able to go from first to third on an Adolis Garcia fielding error. He then scored from third on a J.D. Martinez grounder that was misplayed by third baseman Ezequiel Duran. Trevor Story promptly drove in Devers on an opposite field double, making it a 5-0 contest in favor of the Sox.

Whitlock came back out for the eighth and surrendered hits to three of the first four batters he faced, including a two-run home run from Marcus Semien and a solo blast off the bat of Nathaniel Lowe. Those two big swings cut Boston’s lead from five runs down to two.

Looking to protect that lead in the ninth, Matt Barnes loaded the bases while only managing to record the first out of the inning. That prompted Cora to pull Barnes in favor of John Schreiber, who fanned Semien on three pitches before getting Seager to ground out to end it. As a result, Schreiber notched his fifth save of the year.

Next up: Going for the sweep

The Red Sox will go for a four-game sweep over the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Kutter Crawford was originally supposed to start the series finale for Boston, but has since been scratched due to a sore shoulder. Fellow righty Josh Winckowski, who is currently on the taxi squad, is a likely candidate to start in his place. For Texas, it will be right-hander Dane Dunning taking the mound.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

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’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)