Red Sox to promote top prospect Triston Casas, 2 others to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox are promoting top prospect Triston Casas to Triple-A Worcester for the final two weeks of the minor-league season, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Per Speier, right-handed pitching prospect Josh Wincowski and catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez will join Casas in Worcester, as all three had spent the entirety of the 2021 campaign with Double-A Portland, whose season concluded on Sunday.

Casas, 21, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He was originally selected by the Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.).

After participating at the club’s alternate training site and fall instructional league last year, Casas opened the 2021 season with Portland and held his own there.

In 77 games with the Sea Dogs, the left-handed hitting first baseman slashed .284/.395/.484 (142 wRC+) to go along with 12 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 52 RBI, 57 runs scored, six stolen bases, 49 walks, and 63 strikeouts over 329 trips to the plate.

Back in July, Casas temporarily left the Sea Dogs to play for Team USA in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where he helped the United States win a silver medal while being named the tournament’s best first baseman.

While with Portland, Casas — who does not turn 22 until January — was the second-youngest qualifying regular in the Double-A Northeast, per Speier. The 6-foot-4, 252 pounder will undoubtedly become one of the youngest players at the Triple-A level as well.

In addition to Casas, the WooSox will also be adding a pitcher in the form of Winckowski, who the Red Sox acquired from the Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals back in February.

The 23-year-old, in his debut season with a new organization, posted a 4.14 ERA and 4.02 FIP with 88 strikeouts to 30 walks over 21 appearances (20 starts) spanning exactly 100 innings of work for the Sea Dogs. He was named Portland’s Pitcher of the Year earlier this month for his efforts.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Winckowski — the No. 16 prospect in Boston’s farm system — “has shown a potential starter’s mix, with a major league-quality fastball (usually 94-96 mph), a slider and a changeup that has the potential to emerge as a solid third pitch.”

Winckowski, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds, will once again be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter, so the Sox would need to add the righty to their 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline in order to protect him from that.

Finally, we arrive at Hernandez, who the Red Sox acquired from the Rays alongside infield prospect Nick Sogard in exchange for right-hander Chris Mazza, left-hander Jeffrey Springs, and cash considerations in mid-February.

Hernandez, who turns 24 in November, is already on Boston’s 40-man roster and is primarily viewed as the No. 2 catching prospect in the organization behind only Connor Wong.

With the Sea Dogs this season, the 23-year-old backstop out of Colombia batted an impressive .280/.319/.506 (121 wRC+) with 26 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 53 RBI, 44 runs scored, 11 walks, and 70 strikeouts over 92 games and 357 plate appearances. He also threw out 28% of the runners who attempted to steal against him.

Following Monday’s series of moves, the WooSox’ roster just got a bit more crowded for the final stretch of their season, which is slated to end on October 3.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox call up pitching prospect Connor Seabold for major-league debut Saturday; Brad Peacock returned to Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday night, the Red Sox recalled right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Brad Peacock was returned to Worcester to make room for Seabold on the active roster, the club announced earlier Saturday afternoon.

Seabold, 25, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking sixth among pitchers in the organization.

The right-hander will make his major-league debut and first career start in Saturday’s contest against the White Sox, as he was one of four players who traveled with the Red Sox to Chicago as part of the team’s taxi squad.

Nick Pivetta was originally in line to get the start on Saturday, but has since had to be scratched from that outing on account of testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

That being said, Pivetta will be able to make his return to the mound and start in place of Chris Sale, who also recently tested positive for coronavirus, in the finale of this three-game weekend series on Sunday.

While Pivetta will take over for Sale on Sunday, Seabold will essentially take over for Pivetta on Sunday.

The Red Sox originally acquired Seabold and Pivetta from the Phillies in a trade that sent relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Phillies last August.

The 25-year-old was added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft and was also invited to major-league camp earlier this spring, but had the start of his 2021 season pushed back by approximately 2 1/2 months due to right elbow inflammation.

After a brief rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League, Seabold made his debut for Worcester on July 23. He has posted a 3.67 ERA and 4.17 FIP to go along with 44 strikeouts to 13 walks over eight starts spanning 41 2/3 innings of work for the WooSox since then.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, the California-born righty operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 91-93 mph fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a deceptive 80-82 mph changeup, and an 83-85 mph slider, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Considering the fact that his most recent start for the WooSox came on September 4, it’s safe to assume that Seabold — who will be wearing the No. 67 — will be plenty stretched out for his big-league debut later Saturday night.

With the addition of Seabold to the major-league roster, the Red Sox returned a veteran in the form of Peacock to Worcester.

Boston picked up the 32-year-old in exchange for cash considerations in a minor trade made with the Indians late last month.

Peacock appeared in two games for the Sox, making his first start for the club in their bout against the Rays on August 31 and being used out of the bullpen exactly one week later.

As he makes his way to Worcester, Peacock will look to provide the Red Sox with experienced starting rotation and bullpen depth for the final few weeks of the regular season.

Prior to getting traded, Peacock put up a 7.68 ERA and 5.16 xFIP in addition to 38 strikeouts and 14 walks over 11 appearances (10 starts) and 34 innings pitched with Triple-A Columbus after signing a minor-league pact with Cleveland in June.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Red Sox’ Darwinzon Hernandez set to begin rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester

Red Sox reliever Darwinzon Hernandez has been sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Hernandez, 24, has not appeared in a game for the Sox since July 29 after being placed on the 10-day injured list on account of a right oblique strain two days later.

At the time Hernandez initially hit the IL, it did not appear as though the left-hander would be out for long, but he wound up undergoing an MRI — which came back clean — in early August.

On August 15, Hernandez resumed playing catch and threw a bullpen session at Fenway Park the following weekend. He completed his second live bullpen session on Sunday, which seemed to be one of the final hurdles he needed to clear.

That being the case because Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey) on Sunday that the team was trying to determine if Hernandez would need to go on a rehab assignment or if he would just be immediately activated from the injured list.

As it turns out, Hernandez will indeed head out to Worcester to join the WooSox ahead of their six-game series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs that begins Tuesday night at Polar Park.

Before straining his right oblique in late July, the Venezuelan southpaw had posted a 3.44 ERA and .697 OPS against to go along with 46 strikeouts and 26 walks over 41 relief appearances spanning 34 innings of work out of the bullpen.

In the time that Hernandez has been sidelined, the Red Sox have used four additional left-handed relievers in Josh Taylor, Austin Davis, Martin Perez, and Stephen Gonsalves.

Those four lefties have combined to put up a 4.98 ERA, a 3.72 FIP, a 4.08 xFIP, and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 37:16 over 34 1/3 total innings pitched in Hernandez’s absence dating back to July 30.

As noted by Speier, Hernandez’s time away from the team has been ‘significant’ given his ability to induce punchouts at a relatively high rate (29.9% this season).

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

Red Sox claim right-hander Geoff Hartlieb off waivers from Mets, option him to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have claimed right-handed reliever Geoff Hartlieb off waivers from the Mets and optioned him to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Saturday afternoon.

Hartlieb, 27, became available when he was designated for assignment by New York on Thursday so that the team could add fellow reliever Brad Hand to its 40-man and major-league roster.

In just three appearances with the Mets, Hartlieb allowed seven runs — all earned — on seven hits, six walks, and one hit batsman to go along with five strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work.

The right-hander began the 2021 season with the Pirates, posting a 7.71 ERA and 4.95 FIP in four outings (4 2/3 innings pitched) before being designated for assignment in early July.

A former 29th-round draft pick of Pittsburgh coming out of Lindenwood University (St. Charles, Mo.) in 2016, Hartlieb made his major-league debut for the Pirates in May 2019.

Since that time, the Illinois native has made a total of 57 appearances between the Pirates and Mets while also appearing in 45 games at the Triple-A level dating back to the start of the 2019 campaign.

While pitching at Triple-A across two separate seasons (2019, 2021), Hartlieb has put up a 3.18 ERA and strikeout-to-walk ratio of 77:28 over 62 1/3 total innings pitched.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-5, 240 pound righty operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a slider, sinker, and four-seam fastball that has hovered around 93-94 mph season. He previously featured a changeup in 2019 and 2020, but apparently has not done so this year.

Hartlieb, who turns 28 in December, will join a WooSox bullpen that includes a number of relievers with big-league experience, such as Eduard Bazardo, Brandon Brennan, Colten Brewer, Austin Brice, Alex Claudio, Michael Feliz, Kyle Hart, and Yacksel Rios, among others.

It is also worth mentioning that Hartlieb has two minor-league option years remaining and is not arbitration eligible until 2023, so something to keep in mind there.

Additionally, the Red Sox did not need to make a corresponding move to add Hartlieb to their 40-man roster on account of the nine players they have on the COVID-19 related injured list.

(Picture of Geoff Hartlieb: Jim McIsaac/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’ Christian Arroyo ‘in a good spot’ amid rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester, Alex Cora says

Red Sox infielder Christian Arroyo continues to make progress during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester, so much so that he has caught the attention of his manager, Alex Cora.

In his second game with the WooSox at Polar Park on Thursday evening, Arroyo went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, but also drew a leadoff walk in the fifth inning and promptly stole second base before coming around to score on an RBI double off the bat of Joey Meneses.

“He must be feeling really good,” Cora said of Arroyo ahead of Friday night’s game against the Rangers at Fenway Park. “I mean, he took off yesterday and stole a base, so that was good to see. I was watching on TV. He got a few at-bats.”

Arroyo, who has been on the 10-day injured list due to a left hamstring strain since July 19, played five innings of second base for Worcester in Game 1 of their doubleheader against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (a 5-3 win) on Thursday before making way for Chad De La Guerra in the top half of the sixth.

Two nights before, Arroyo went 0-for-2 with a flyout and groundout while also getting plunked by a pitch while serving as the WooSox’ designated hitter for six innings before getting pinch-hit for by Johan Mieses in the bottom half of the seventh of a 2-0 victory.

The 26-year-old originally strained his left hamstring in his professional debut at first base against the Yankees back on July 18.

In the third inning of that Sunday night contest in the Bronx, Arroyo attempted to stretch out while receiving a throw from second baseman Enrique Hernandez in order to complete a potential double play, but wound up doing a split that resulted in his immediate removal from the game.

Since that time, Arroyo has gotten back to the point where he was able to begin a rehab assignment earlier this week and will once again be starting at second base and batting second for the WooSox on Friday night.

“He’s going to play today again,” said Cora. “I don’t think he’s that far off. Obviously he hasn’t played in a while. It’s been a month. So as far as the timing and all that, we’ll talk to him. We’ll see how he feels. But I do believe body-wise, the way he’s moving, he’s in a good spot. The fact that he stole a base yesterday, it was a good sign.”

As previously mentioned, Arroyo did injure himself in his first career start at first base at any level back on July 18, but that does not mean the Red Sox will keep the 6-foot-1, 210 pounder away from that position in the future.

“As long as he doesn’t stretch or slip, whatever you want to call it,” Cora said on Wednesday. “He’s going to work at first. I don’t think he’s going to start at first base but I think he’s going to get some work in at first base.”

Taking that point into consideration, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette’s Joe McDonald tweeted earlier Friday afternoon that Arroyo was spotted working out at first base at Polar Park.

Also, this:

Arroyo, who has missed time on the injured list on three separate occasions this season, has primarily served as Boston’s everyday second baseman when healthy.

In what is his first full season with the Red Sox, Arroyo is hitting .271/.327/.465 with 12 doubles, six home runs, 25 RBI, 21 runs scored, one stolen base, seven walks, and 41 strikeouts over 50 games (170 plate appearances).

(Picture of Christian Arroyo: Maddie Meyer/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)