Worcester Red Sox name Chad Tracy as new manager

The Worcester Red Sox have named Chad Tracy as their new manager for the 2022 season, the team announced on Monday.

Tracy, 36, had spent the last seven seasons in the Angels organization, most recently serving as the club’s minor-league field coordinator since 2018 before being let go towards the end of September.

A former third-round draft choice of the Rangers out of Pepperdine University in 2006, Tracy played in the minor-leagues for eight seasons with three different organizations. He played 390 games at the Triple-A level but never got the call up to the majors and wound up finishing his playing career with the York Revolution of the Atlantic League in 2013 and 2014.

The following year, Tracy officially joined the Angels’ coaching ranks by becoming the manager of Low-A Burlington and followed that up by managing High-A Inland Empire from 2016-2017 before being promoted to minor-league field coordinator.

A native Illinoisan, Tracy is the son of former Dodgers, Pirates, and Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who managed Red Sox manager Alex Cora during his time with Los Angeles.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, when Cora was first hired as Boston’s manager in November 2017, he considered two candidates (Jim Tracy and Ron Roenicke) to become his bench coach before ultimately landing on Roenicke. So there is somewhat of a connection there.

In being named the next man to lead the WooSox, Tracy becomes the 18th manager in team history while taking over for Billy McMillon. McMillon, who had served as PawSox/WooSox manager since 2019, was let go by Boston at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign.

Joining Tracy’s staff will be Jose David Flores, who has been named as Worcester’s bench coach. The soon-to-be 51-year-old most recently spent the 2018 season as the Phillies’ first base coach and served as the Orioles’ third base coach from 2019-2020.

Flores is a native of Puerto Rico and spent five seasons in the Astros’ organization after being selected by Houston in the 38th round of the 1990 draft. He has coached and managed in the Puerto Rican Winter League and managed Team Puerto Rico in international play from 2011-2012.

Besides the additions of Tracy and Flores, the rest of the WooSox’ coaching staff will look very similar to the one they rolled out in 2021. Hitting coach Rich Gedman and pitching coach Paul Abbott are both back for the 2022 season, while Mike Montville has been promoted to assistant hitting coach after serving as a coach this year.

(Picture of Polar Park: Christine Peterson/Telegram & Gazette / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas homers in Triple-A debut

Red Sox top prospect Triston Casas wasted no time in introducing himself to a new level of competition in his debut for Triple-A Worcester on Wednesday night.

After earning a promotion from Double-A Portland earlier this week, Casas batted third and started at first base for the WooSox in their series opener against the Rochester Red Wings (Nationals affiliate) on a rainy night at Polar Park.

Matched up against 2020 first-round pick Cade Cavalli to begin things on Wednesday, the 21-year-old struck out in his first at-bat in the first inning and also fell behind 0-2 in his second at-bat following a two-out double from Jonathan Arauz two innings later.

At that time, the WooSox found themselves trailing the Red Wings by a score of 2-0, but Casas changed that rather quickly after he stepped out of the box to recompose himself.

As he stepped back into the box, the left-handed-hitting first baseman proceeded to take three straight balls from Cavalli before crushing a game-tying, two-run shot over the wall in left field for his first Triple-A home run.

“I knew I was one take away from settling in,” Casas told reporters Wednesday night. “I got behind 0-2 pretty quick in that second at-bat and I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to go down like this again.’ So I had a couple good takes, and I know he’s got put-away stuff on the other side. He’s a really good pitcher, he made a mistake, and I capitalized on it.”

Franchy Cordero followed with a homer of his own to give Worcester their first lead of the night, as they would go on to take Wednesday’s contest by a final score of 4-3.

Casas wound up going 1-for-4 with just that one home run and two punchouts, but he certainly made his presence felt in his first exposure to Triple-A pitching.

“I try to take it as just another game, but I know this means a lot to me and it means a lot for the organization to bring me up here and get me playing time at this level,” he said following the WooSox’ win. “I just wanted to come out and contribute anyway I can, especially in the first game and it definitely settled the nerves, for sure.”

Casas, who was originally selected by the Red Sox with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.), is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system.

The Miami-area native initially opened the 2021 minor-league campaign at Portland after spending some time with the big-league club in spring training and held his own there, slashing .284/.395/.484 (142 wRC+) with 12 doubles, two triples, 13 homers, 52 RBI, 57 runs scored, six stolen bases, 49 walks, and 63 strikeouts over 77 games (329 plate appearances).

He also spent part of his summer in Tokyo, where he helped the United States’ Olympic baseball team win a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Games while being named the top first baseman of the tournament.

Casas’ promotion from Portland to Worcester came shortly after the Sea Dogs’ season ended this past Sunday, so the 6-foot-4, 252 pounder will now have the chance to get into some more games before the WooSox’ season comes to a close next weekend.

Given the progress he has made this year in the wake of the 2020 minor-league season getting cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Casas — who turns 22 in January — knows he is on the cusp of garnering serious consideration for a big-league call-up. Put another way, his time is coming.

“I felt it when they first gave me the call,” he said when asked if he has realized how close he is to the majors. “I was like, ‘Yeah, this is the last step, you know?’ I’m really close and it feels really good to know that my hard work is being appreciated.”

(Picture of Triston Casas: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images)

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 scratch pitching prospects Kutter Crawford, Connor Seabold from starts with Triple-A Worcester amid club’s COVID-19 issues: ‘We got to be prepared,’ Alex Cora says

Two of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system have each been scratched from their respective starts for Triple-A Worcester within the last two days.

Kutter Crawford had been slated to make his sixth start of the season for Worcester in their contest against the Rochester Red Wings on Thursday night, while Connor Seabold was in line to do make his eighth start on Friday.

Instead, the pair of right-handers have been pulled aside as somewhat of a contingency plan in the event that a shorthanded Red Sox team finds themselves in need of more pitching depth if additional COVID-19-related issues arise.

Since last Friday, Boston has placed four pitchers on the COVID-19 related injured list, as Matt Barnes, Martin Perez, and Hirokazu Sawamura have all recently tested positive for the virus while Josh Taylor was identified as a close contact.

Because of all those hurlers being sidelined at the moment, the Sox have had to call up the likes of Raynel Espinal, Stephen Gonsalves, John Schreiber, and Brad Peacock — who was recently acquired from the Indians for cash considerations — within the last week in order to stabilize its starting rotation and bullpen depth.

That being said, the reinforcements from the minor-league side may not stop there, as both Crawford and Seabold have essentially been put on standby for the time being.

“We got to be prepared,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Friday when asked about the reasoning behind the two prospects being scratched from their starts. “We got to be prepared. Yes.”

Crawford, 25, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking 11th among pitchers in the organization.

The former 16th-round draft selection out of Florida Gulf Coast University initially began the 2021 season at Double-A Portland, but earned a promotion to Worcester in late July.

Since that time, Crawford has posted a 5.52 ERA and 3.80 xFIP to go along with 39 strikeouts to eight walks over six appearances (five starts) and 29 1/3 innings of work for the WooSox.

Seabold, on the other hand, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, placing 10 spots above Crawford.

Unlike Crawford, the 25-year-old righty is on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster after being added to it last November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

One of two right-handers (the other being Nick Pivetta) the Sox acquired from the Phillies in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree last August, Seabold missed the first several weeks of the 2021 campaign due to elbow inflammation.

After rehabbing in the Florida Complex League debut for a spell, the former third-round draft pick out of Cal State Fullerton made his highly-anticipated WooSox debut on July 23.

In seven starts with Worcester, Seabold has pitched to the tune of a 4.29 ERA and 4.62 xFIP while striking out 26.5% of the batters he has faced and walking just 6.6% of them over 35 2/3 innings pitched.

Between the two of them, Seabold has more experience as a reliever, though five of his six career relief appearances in the minors came in 2017.

Earlier this week, Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) that the club has not discussed promoting Seabold to use him as a multi-inning reliever, though they have been impressed with what he’s done with Worcester.

“We have talked about him,” Cora said on Wednesday. “We know he’s very talented. He’s throwing the ball well. I do believe that September is going to be very interesting as far as like maneuvering our roster and trying to maximize our roster. It’s only two more spots. It’s not a few years ago when you could go up to 40.

As noted by Smith, major-league rosters now expand from 26 to 28 players at the beginning of September — not all the way up to 40 as they did previously.

“He’s throwing the ball well,” added Cora. “We know that probably he can contribute. How? We’ll talk about it and when/if we need him. But as of now, he’s still down there (in Worcester). He’s still getting better. And we’re very happy that he’s performing the way he’s performing.”

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold dominates for Triple-A Worcester on one-year anniversary of trade from Phillies

August 21 continues to be a memorable date for Red Sox pitching prospect Connor Seabold.

At this time one year ago, Seabold — then a member of the Phillies organization — was traded to the Red Sox alongside fellow right-hander Nick Pivetta in exchange for relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree.

365 days later, and Seabold’s name is in the headlines once more, though it has to do with what he did on the mound for Triple-A Worcester this time around.

Making his sixth start of the season for the WooSox in Saturday’s contest against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees affiliate), the young right-hander put together quite the outing in front of 7,432 spectators at Polar Park.

Over seven quality innings of work, Seabold kept the RailRiders off the scoreboard while yielding just one hit and one walk to go along with nine strikeouts on the afternoon.

After retiring the first five batters he faced in order, Seabold issued a two-out walk to Socrates Brito in the top half of the second. He followed that up by getting Kyle Holder to line out to first base for the final out of the inning before truly settling in.

That being the case because from the beginning of the third inning on, Seabold did not allow a single hitter to reach base as he took a no-hitter into the top of the seventh before giving up a one-out single to Donny Sands.

Seabold was, however, able to induce a ground ball off the bat of Trey Amburgey to set up an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play, thus ending his outing on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (61 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler wrapped up his day having induced 11 total swings-and-misses in the process of picking up his very first win of the year to improve to 1-3. He also lowered his ERA on the season down to 3.73 in what would go down as a 2-0 victory for the WooSox.

“I’m going to be honest, I’m fighting a cold right now,” Seabold, who sat around 90-93 mph with his fastball, told MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison. “That wasn’t fun for the first few innings, but then it got fun once the adrenaline kicked in. I was sweating like a dog out there. A couple of times when I threw it, I saw beads of sweat coming off. But outside of that, I felt pretty good.”

Seabold, who does not turn 26 until January, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking sixth among pitchers in the organization.

After coming over to the Red Sox in that trade with the Phillies last summer and being added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in November, the former third-round draft pick out of Cal State Fullerton opened the 2021 minor-league season on the injured list.

Right elbow inflammation sidelined Seabold for approximately 2 1/2 months, but he was able to make his return to the mound for the Florida Complex League Red Sox on July 12 before doing the same for the WooSox on July 23.

In addition to posting a 3.73 ERA through his first six starts of the year for Worcester, the 6-foot-3, 195 pound righty has also held opposing hitters to a .209 batting average against while putting up a WHIP of 1.02 over 31 1/3 total innings pitched.

Because he is fully healthy and pitching at a high level (2.35 ERA in the month of August), Seabold may be a name to keep an eye on when it comes time for major-league rosters to expand from 26 to 28 players at the start of September.

This is not to say a promotion this season is imminent, but if the occasion were to arise where the Red Sox needed a spot start or multiple innings out of the bullpen at some point in September, calling up Seabold would seem sensible considering the fact that he is already on the 40-man roster.

In the meantime, though, Seabold — who operates with a 91-93 mph fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a deceptive 80-82 mph changeup, and an 83-85 mph slider according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report — should be in line to make his next start for the WooSox during their upcoming series against the Buffalo Bisons at Sahlen Field.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Delino DeShields Jr. had eventful first weekend with Triple-A Worcester

Delino DeShields Jr.’s first weekend as a member of the Red Sox organization was certainly an eventful one.

After being included in a rare post-July trade that saw him go from the Rangers to the Sox this past Thursday, DeShields quickly reported to Triple-A Worcester and made his WooSox debut against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in Moosic, Pa. the following day.

Starting in center field and batting out of the two-hole, the speedy outfielder reached base three times, going 2-for-5 at the plate with a walk, strikeout, and stolen base — though he was picked off as well — as part of Worcester’s 4-3 victory over Scranton in 11 innings at PNC Field.

On Saturday, DeShields once again started in center field and batted second for the WooSox, though this time he was playing behind a rehabbing Chris Sale in what would turn out to be the ace left-hander’s final rehab start.

While the 28-year-old was unable to contribute offensively in the WooSox’ 2-1 win, he did have a front-row seat to Sale tossing 4 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball while scattering just two hits and three walks to go along with eight strikeouts on the night.

Finally, we arrive at Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the RailRiders. While the WooSox may have ultimately dropped the finale by a final score of 4-3, DeShields took responsibility for all three of the runs his side scored.

Once more starting in center field and batting behind leadoff man Yairo Munoz, the right-handed hitter enjoyed yet another multi-hit day at the plate, as he went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, a season-high three RBI, one run scored, and one strikeout.

After the RailRiders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against WooSox starter Kutter Crawford, DeShields came through with a game-tying, two-run home run off Scranton starter Matt Krook with two outs in the top of the sixth inning — marking his first home run in a WooSox uniform as well as Worcester’s very first hit of the day.

Fast forward to the eighth, with Chad De La Guerra drawing a leadoff walk against RailRiders reliever Nick Green and Munoz advancing him to third (and extending his hitting streak to a historic 30 straight games), DeShields delivered in the clutch a second time.

On the fifth pitch he saw from Green, DeShields nearly left the yard again, but instead settled for a ground-rule double that hopped over the fence in left-center field and brought in De La Guerra from third while advancing Munoz an additional 180 feet.

That two-base hit put the WooSox ahead 3-2, though they would ultimately lose that one-run lead rather quickly with Kaleb Ort allowing two runs in the bottom half of the eighth before Worcester went down quietly in the ninth.

Even while the WooSox were unable to close out the series on a positive note on Sunday, DeShields still proved to be productive in his first weekend with Worcester by going 4-for-14 (.286) with a double, a home run, three RBI, one run scored, one stolen base, one walk, and four strikeouts over his first three games with the affiliate.

DeShields, who turns 29 later this month, was originally selected by the Astros in the first round of the 2010 amateur draft out of Woodward Academy (College Park, Ga.).

The son of longtime big-leaguer Delino DeShields, Junior spent the first four years of his professional career in the Astros organization before being scooped up by the Rangers in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft.

Making his major-league debut for Texas the following April, the 5-foot-9, 190 pounder became a key cog in the Rangers’ outfield picture, as he appeared in 100 0r more games and stole 20 or more bases in four out five seasons with the club from 2015 through 2019.

In December 2019, DeShields — as well as pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase — was dealt to the Indians from the Rangers in exchange for right-hander Corey Kluber.

DeShields’ tenure with Cleveland wound up being short-lived, as he did not make his Indians debut until early August last year and was ultimately non-tendered over the winter before re-upping with the Rangers on a minor-league deal back in February.

After failing to make the Rangers’ Opening Day roster out of spring training, DeShields was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock and slashed a modest .263/.392/.368 over 66 games with the Express prior to him being traded to the Red Sox in exchange for cash considerations.

The reason Boston was able to acquire a player such as DeShields in the wake of the July 30 trade deadline is due to the fact that the veteran outfielder was not on Texas’ 40-man roster and had yet to accrue any major-league playing time so far this season.

With the Red Sox recently promoting top outfield prospect Jarren Duran and losing fellow outfield prospect Marcus Wilson to the Mariners on waivers, the addition of DeShields provides the club with experienced upper-minors outfield depth in the event of an injury or something of the sort.

That being said, if the Sox were to qualify for the postseason this fall, DeShields would be eligible for the playoffs so long as he is added to Boston’s major-league roster by September 15 and remains there for the final weeks of the regular season.

Of course, it is no sure thing that a. the Red Sox will secure a postseason spot, or b. the Red Sox view DeShields as someone who can contribute at the big-league level this season.

Still, it goes without saying that the acquisition of DeShields — as well as the timing of it — is certainly intriguing.

(Picture of Delino DeShields Jr.: Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Is it time for the Red Sox to give Yairo Muñoz another chance?

While the Red Sox were in the process of dropping their fifth straight game in a 4-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park on Tuesday night, Yairo Munoz was busy making history for Triple-A Worcester.

With a leadoff single in the fourth inning of the WooSox’ contest against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in Moosic, Pa., Munoz extended his hitting streak to 25 consecutive games, tying former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury — who did it in 2007 — for the longest such streak in the history of the club’s Triple-A affiliate.

By adding on a single in the eighth inning of Worcester’s 7-2 victory over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Munoz raised his batting line on the season to a solid .303/.333/.436 to go along with 13 doubles, four triples, five home runs, 28 RBI, 32 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 12 walks, and 39 strikeouts in 67 games (283 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

Dating back to July 1, when his streak began with a modest 1-for-2 showing against the RailRiders, the right-handed hitting 26-year-old has slashed an impressive .394/.429/.566 (166 wRC+) while clubbing two of his five homers, collecting 12 of his 28 RBI, and scoring exactly half of his 32 runs over his last 25 games.

With an RBI single in the third inning of Wednesday night’s game against the RailRiders, Munoz extended his hitting streak to 26 consecutive games to surpass Ellsbury’s previous mark and make even more Red Sox Triple-A history in the process of doing so.

In the month of July alone, Munoz ranked second among Triple-A East hitters in total hits (36), 12th in extra-base hits (12), seventh in total bases (53), third in doubles (9), 19th in runs scored (16), second in stolen bases (10), second in batting average (.404), eighth in on-base percentage (.442), 14th in slugging percentage (.596), and ninth in OPS (1.038).

While he has been consistently performing at the plate as of late, Munoz — who is listed as an outfielder — has played all over the field for the WooSox, including nine games at first base, 42 games at third base, seven games at shortstop, two games in left field, three games in center field, and two games in right field.

The Red Sox originally signed Munoz to a minor-league contract last March, just weeks after he was somewhat-oddly released by the St. Louis Cardinals earlier that spring.

After the start of the 2020 season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dominican native spent the majority of his summer at Boston’s alternate training site in Pawtucket before having his contract selected in late August.

Making his Red Sox debut the following day, Munoz hit .333/.333/.511 over his first 12 games with the club before a lower back strain prematurely ended his season on September 17.

Despite providing a last-place team with a bit of his spark in his brief time with them, Munoz ultimately lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster in December, but somehow cleared waivers and was outrighted to Worcester.

Invited to major-league spring training as a non-roster invitee, the versatile 5-foot-11, 201 pounder appeared in eight Grapefruit League games and collected eight hits in 18 at-bats(.444 batting average), though he did not stand much of a chance of making the Sox’ Opening Day roster with the likes of Christian Arroyo and Michael Chavis ahead of him on the right-handed hitting depth chart.

After opening the 2021 minor-league campaign with the WooSox, Munoz got off to a slow start, posting an underwhelming .581 OPS through his first month with the team.

With this historic 25-game hitting streak, however, Munoz has emerged as someone who could be knocking on the Red Sox door sooner rather than later — if he is not doing so already, that is.

Munoz, who does not turn 27 until January, is a former top prospect of the Athletics, the organization he began his professional career with as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in January 2012.

He is someone that was part of the trade that sent outfielder Stephen Piscotty from St. Louis to Oakland prior to the start of the 2018 season, and — in his time with the Cardinals — proved to handle himself well at the plate while playing all over the field.

Upon getting called up by the Red Sox late last season, Munoz provided a jolt to a club that was in desperate need of one and likely would have continued to do so throughout the month of September had he not gotten injured.

As things currently stand, the Red Sox have hit a ball coming out of the All-Star break, as they are 8-8 dating back to July 16 and have averaged a measly 4.25 runs per game over that stretch.

Given what he did in his brief time with the Red Sox last year and what he has done with the WooSox to date, Munoz’s speed on the base paths and ability to move around the infield and outfield could jumpstart a Red Sox team that is in the midst of a season-high five-game losing streak.

“One thing about Yairo, he brings energy on a daily basis,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said on Wednesday. “He has that bat-to-ball skill regardless of where the ball is, you know? It can be way up there or way down there and he’ll find barrel. We’re very pleased with what he’s doing. Not only because of the results, but because he’s doing the things he’s supposed to do — playing hard and doing the things that winning players do.”

Of course, the Sox would need to add Munoz back to the 40-man roster to get him back in the mix, and that would require a corresponding move that would see someone lose their 40-man spot.

That said, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have not shied away from shuffling around the 40-man roster if it meant potentially improving the club.

Most recently, Boston designated outfield prospect Marcus Wilson for assignment in order to add trade deadline acquisition Hansel Robles to the 40-man roster and, before that, designated Austin Brice for assignment in order to call up top outfield prospect Jarren Duran from Worcester.

Taking all that into consideration, perhaps the Sox would prefer to wait until rosters expand to September to give someone such as Munoz, who does have one minor-league option year remaining, another shot at the major-league level.

“This is a guy that has experience at the big-league level,” said Cora. “I saw him from afar last year and what he did last year here — as far as running the bases, being versatile, and finding ways to get on base — it was interesting. Obviously, we pay attention to everything that is going on and we’re very pleased with the way he’s going about it.”

Though Cora has been impressed with what he has seen from and read on Munoz, that does not necessarily mean he is on the verge of getting called up to the big-league squad, as previously stated.

“I’m not saying he’s on the radar or he’s not, but we are aware of what’s going on with him,” Cora said. “And every report we get is a positive one.”

(Picture of Yairo Munoz: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

WooSox Notes: Hirokazu Sawamura perfect in rehab outing; Kutter Crawford and Durbin Feltman solid in Polar Park debuts

The Worcester Red Sox fell to the Buffalo Bisons by a final score of 5-1 at Polar Park on Wednesday, marking their fifth consecutive loss.

While the WooSox did drop to 37-34 in their second of six against the Bisons, there were some positive developments — some of which will definitely pique the Red Sox’ interest.

Sawamura perfect in rehab appearance

Rehabbing reliever Hirokazu Sawamura opened the game for Worcester and needed all of 13 pitches — nine of which were strikes — to toss a perfect first inning in which he struck out one and got two to softly ground out.

Sawamura, who has been on the injured list since July 23 due to right triceps inflammation, had his stint on the IL backdated to July 20, meaning he could be activated as soon as Friday.

Barring any setbacks it seems likely that the 33-year-old righty will come off the injured list ahead of this weekend’s series against the Rays in Tampa Bay.

Crawford solid in Triple-A debut

Red Sox pitching prospect Kutter Crawford made his Triple-A debut on Wednesday and was quite impressive in his first action in a WooSox uniform.

Taking over for Sawamura, Crawford yielded three runs — all of which were earned — on nine hits and just one walk to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

Of those nine hits the right-hander allowed, three were infield singles and seven were on soft contact, according to WooSox broadcaster Mike Antonellis.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 85 (59 strikes), Crawford ended his day by retiring six of the final seven hitters he faced.

Crawford, 25, was promoted from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Worcester last week after posting a 3.30 ERA and 2.85 xFIP to go along with 64 strikeouts to just five walks over 10 starts (46 1/3 innings pitched) with the Sea Dogs to begin the season.

The Red Sox originally selected the 6-foot-1, 192 pound hurler in the 16th round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University.

Crawford entered the 2019 campaign as the No. 22 prospect in Boston’s farm system according to Baseball America and ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery that fall before having bone spurs removed from his throwing elbow the following summer.

His next start for the WooSox will likely come on the road against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders next Tuesday.

Feltman works his way around trouble in Polar Park debut

Like Crawford, fellow Red Sox pitching prospect Durbin Feltman made his first-ever appearance at Polar Park on Wednesday.

Working directly in relief of Crawford, Feltman issued a leadoff double to Bisons shortstop Kevin Smith to begin things in the eighth, but maneuvered his way around that by sitting down the next three batters he faced on a pair of fly outs and a lineout.

Of the 11 pitches Feltman needed to get through the eighth inning of Wednesday’s contest, seven went for strikes.

The 24-year-old right-handed reliever was promoted to Triple-A on July 23 and got rocked for three runs on four hits over two innings against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs that very same day.

Originally selected by Boston in the third round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Texas Christian University, Feltman — listed at 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds — opened the 2021 campaign with Double-A Portland and put up a 3.29 ERA and 3.62 xFIP in addition to 37 strikeouts and 10 walks over 22 relief appearances spanning 27 1/3 innings pitched.

Both Crawford and Feltman can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in their respective careers this winter, so there is a possibility that either one of the two righties could be dealt ahead of Friday’s trade deadline.

If not, they would need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster before November 20 in order to be protected from this winter’s Rule 5 Draft.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran scratched from Triple-A Worcester’s lineup due to lower-back tightness

Top Red Sox outfield prospect Jarren Duran was scratched from Triple-A Worcester’s starting lineup on Friday night, but not for the reason you might expect.

Duran was originally leading off and starting in center field for the WooSox in their game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies affiliate) in Allentown, Pa., which was slated to begin at 7:05 p.m. eastern time, but has since been delayed.

At approximately 6:30 p.m., however, the WooSox announced a lineup change, as left fielder Marcus Wilson moved into the leadoff spot and Tate Matheny took over for Duran in center field.

That change led many to speculate if the Red Sox were making preparations to call up one of their most exciting prospects for his highly-anticipated major-league debut, but it turns out that he was removed from Worcester’s lineup for injury-related reasons.

According to the Worcester Telegram’s Joe McDonald, Duran was scratched with lower-back tightness, though the move is more precautionary than anything on account of the rainy conditions in eastern Pennsylvania.

Duran, who turns 25 in September, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking first among outfielders in the organization.

With the WooSox this season, the speedy left-handed hitting outfielder has posted an impressive .279/.369/.581 slash line (148 wRC+) to go along with 15 home runs, 32 RBI, 36 runs scored, 22 walks, 47 strikeouts, and 10 stolen bases over 43 games (179 plate appearances) thus far.

While he has continued to turn heads in Worcester — as well as with Team USA — this year, Duran is still waiting for that first call up to the big-leagues.

Despite helping Team USA qualify for the Summer Games earlier this spring, Duran was not named to their final Olympic roster last week.

The reasoning behind that, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, had to do with the United States Olympic Committee being concerned that the Red Sox would want to call him up while he was playing in Tokyo, which in turn would lead to logistical challenges.

With that being said, Speier added that “Duran is de facto big league depth at this point [and is] very likely to reach the big-leagues at some point this year.”

(Picture of Jarren Duran: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Colten Brewer to Triple-A Worcester

Before making up their series finale against the Marlins at Fenway Park on Monday, the Red Sox outrighted right-hander Colten Brewer to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Monday afternoon.

Brewer, 28, was designated for assignment by the Red Sox last Thursday so that the club could make room on its 40-man roster for Brandon Workman.

In one lone appearance out of the Boston bullpen this season, Brewer yielded four runs — three of which were earned — on four hits, three walks, and one strikeout in one inning of relief against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 31.

Originally acquired in a November 2018 trade with the Padres, the righty has posted a 4.98 ERA, a 5.20 FIP, and a 78:51 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 70 total appearances (four starts) in parts of three seasons with the Red Sox.

Because he went unclaimed on waivers and was not traded, Brewer will report back to Worcester, where he put up a 9.00 ERA in four outings (four innings pitched) in two separate stints with the affiliate.

With the WooSox, Brewer rejoins a bullpen mix that includes plenty of other relievers with big-league experience, such as Marcus Walden, Kevin McCarthy, John Schreiber, Brandon Brennan, Matt Hall, Bobby Poyner, and Austin Brice.

Among those relievers, Brennan is the only name listed above currently on Boston’s 40-man roster. Eduard Bazardo, who has made two appearances with the Red Sox this season, is also on the 40-man, but he has been on the injured list since May 24 due to a lat strain.

(Picture of Colten Brewer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)