Red Sox reliever Wyatt Mills shut down with flexor issue, likely to start season on injured list

Red Sox reliever Wyatt Mills has been shut down with a flexor issue and is likely to start the season on the injured list, manager Alex Cora said Thursday.

“He’s banged up,” Cora told reporters (including’s Christopher Smith) in Fort Myers. “There’s a good chance he’s going to start the season on the IL.”

According to’s Chris Cotillo, Mills has been diagnosed with elbow inflammation in his right flexor muscle. It does not look like anything major but Mills has still been shut down from throwing in the meantime.

Mills has not seen any Grapefruit League action since March 13, when he surrendered four runs on four hits, one walk, and two hit batsman in the sixth inning of a 16-3 loss to the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Prior to that outing, though, the right-hander pitched relatively well, allowing just one run on three hits, four walks, and 10 strikeouts over four appearances spanning five innings of work.

The Red Sox acquired Mills from the Royals in exchange for relief prospect Jacob Wallace back in December. The 28-year-old sidearmer is coming off a 2022 season in which he posted a 4.60 ERA (3.62 FIP) with 26 strikeouts to 13 walks in 27 outings (29 1/3 innings) between Seattle and Kansas City.

As noted by Smith, Boston was optimistic that Mills could replicate the same sort of success fellow reliever John Schreiber enjoyed last year. That being the case because, like Schreiber, the 6-foot-4, 214-pound Mills throws from the same angle and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, a slider, and a sinker.

“The stuff, the uniqueness, the slot is different,” Cora said of Mills. ““And actually the four-seamer is good. When he used it a lot in games, he got some swings-and-misses on top of the zone. A little bit inconsistent control-wise, command-wise. But you can see it, like that uniqueness of throwing from there. And the action of his pitches is very good.”

Mills, who has one minor-league option remaining, becomes the latest Red Sox pitcher to be bitten by the injury bug this spring. The righty joins Brayan Bello, James Paxton, Joely Rodriguez, and Garrett Whitlock as Boston hurlers who are expected to be placed on the injured list before Opening Day.

Rodriguez, who was diagnosed with a Grade 2 right oblique strain on Monday after injuring his right side over the weekend, may be able to avoid the 60-day injured list, per Cora.

(Picture of Wyatt Mills: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Wyatt Mills records three strikeouts as Red Sox tie Astros, 4-4, in Grapefruit League action

The Red Sox remained unbeaten in Grapefruit League play on Wednesday as their contest against the Astros at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches ended in a 4-4 tie.

Matched up against Houston’s top pitching prospect, Hunter Brown, to begin things, Boston got off to a quick start in the top of the first inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Reese McGuire reached base via catcher’s interference. Brown then issued a bases-loaded walk to Niko Goodrum before plunking fellow non-roster invitee Greg Allen to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.

On the other side of things, Richard Bleier served as an opener in what was a bullpen game for the Boston pitching staff. The veteran left-hander allowed one run on two hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with one strikeout over two innings of work.

After stranding Jose Altuve at second base in a scoreless bottom of the first, Bleier issued a leadoff walk to Kennedy Corona to kick off the second. Corona moved up to second on a J.J. Matijevic single and to third on a 6-4-3 double play before scoring his side’s first run on an RBI single off the bat of of Quincy Hamilton. Bleier then retired the final batter he faced to limit the damage to one run.

From there, Boston and Houston exchanged zeroes over the next three innings. Wyatt Mills struck out three across two scoreless frames before Kaleb Ort kept the Astros off the board in the fifth. To kick off the top half of the sixth inning, the speedy Ceddanne Rafaela led off by reaching base on a pop-up single and advancing to second on a Mauricio Dubon throwing error. A Wilyer Abreu walk and Enmanuel Valdez single loaded the bases with one out for Triston Casas, who plated Rafaela with an RBI groundout to third base. Abreu then scored on a wild pitch to make it a 4-1 game in favor of Boston.

Taking a three-run lead into the latter half of the sixth, Ort issued a leadoff walk to Migeul Palma before recording the first two outs of the inning. Rather than getting out of the frame unscathed, though, the righty served up a two-run home run to 2022 second-round draft pick Jacob Melton, which brought the Astros back to within one run at 4-3.

Joe Jacques could not preserve that slim one-run lead in the seventh. The lefty was greeted by back-to-back hits from Marty Costes and Dubon to put runners at second and third with no outs for Houston. Palma then drove in Costes from third on a game-tying sacrifice fly to center field.

That is where the score would remain. While the Red Sox lineup could not muster anything else offensively, Rio Gomez and Luis Guerrero each sat down the side in order in the eighth and ninth. As such, this contest ended in a 4-4 draw that took two hours and 23 hours to complete.

Other notable numbers:

Through two appearances this spring, Mills has yet to allow a run or hit in the process of striking out five of the 10 batters he has faced over three scoreless innings of relief.

McGuire and Raimel Tapia (2-for-3) accounted for both of Boston’s extra-base hits on Wednesday. Valdez, who went 1-for-2 with a walk, was thrown out at home plate to end the top of the second while trying to score on a Christian Arroyo single.

Next up: Back to Fort Myers

At 3-0-2, the Red Sox will return to Fort Myers on Thursday afternoon to take on the reigning National League champion Phillies. Right-hander Tanner Houck is slated to make his first start of the spring for Boston opposite Philadelphia left-hander Bailey Falter.

First pitch from JetBlue Park is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. eastern time on ESPN.

(Picture of Wyatt Mills: Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox release Eric Hosmer

The Red Sox have officially released first baseman Eric Hosmer, the club announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Hosmer, 33, was designated for assignment last Friday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster after acquiring reliever Wyatt Mills from the Royals.

Boston originally acquired Hosmer — as well as minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson — from the Padres in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome at the trade deadline. As part of the deal, San Diego agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s salary down to the major-league minimum.

Hosmer was brought in to provide the Red Sox with a boost at first base, but he was limited to just 14 games with the club due to low back inflammation that kept him sidelined from late August until early October. During that time, top prospect Triston Casas was called up from Triple-A Worcester and played well enough to establish himself as Boston’s everyday first baseman heading into the 2023 season.

As chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom explained to’s Chris Cotillo over the weekend, the Red Sox designated Hosmer for assignment with Casas — who also hits from the left side of the plate — at the forefront of their future plans.

“Our roster isn’t complete yet, but as we build our club, we feel it’s important to give Triston a clear lane, and that carrying two left-handed hitting first basemen would leave us short in other areas,” Bloom said. “Given that, it’s important to do right by Eric and give him time to find his next opportunity. We knew when we first got him that this day would come at some point, and wanted to make sure we treated him right.”

According to Cotillo, the Red Sox “worked hard” to trade Hosmer in recent weeks but were ultimately unable to find a partner. Hosmer opted into the final three years and $39 million of his contract last month, so the acquiring team would be getting three years of control. Once he was designated for assignment, it became a foregone conclusion that Hosmer would be released since the team that claimed him would then be on the hook for the aforementioned last three years of his deal.

Now that he has cleared waivers and has been cut loose by the Red Sox, Hosmer — who is represented by Scott Boras — is free to sign elsewhere. Per Cotillo, whichever club signs Hosmer will only be responsible for the league minimum salary next year while the Padres pick up the rest of the tab.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Red Sox acquire Wyatt Mills from Royals, designate Eric Hosmer for assignment

The Red Sox have acquired right-hander Wyatt Mills from the Royals in exchange for relief prospect Jacob Wallace, the club announced on Friday. In order to make room for Mills on the 40-man roster, first baseman Eric Hosmer was designated for assignment.

Mills, who turns 28 next month, was designated for assignment himself earlier this week. The righty split the 2022 season between the Mariners and Royals and posted a 4.60 ERA — but much more respectable 3.62 FIP — with 26 strikeouts to 13 walks over 27 appearances spanning 29 1/3 innings of work.

A former third-round draft pick of the Mariners out of Gonzaga University in 2017, Mills first broke in with Seattle in May 2021. He pitched to a 9.95 ERA and 4.35 FIP with 11 strikeouts to seven walks across 11 outings (12 2/3 innings) last season and opened the 2022 campaign at Triple-A Tacoma.

The Mariners recalled Mills in late April and he proceeded to put up a 4.15 ERA (3.46 FIP) with six punchouts to three walks in his first eight appearances (8 2/3 innings) of the season before being traded to to the Royals with fellow righty William Fleming in exchange for Carlos Santana on June 27.

With Kansas City, Mills produced a 4.79 ERA and 3.69 FIP with twice as many strikeouts as walks (20-to-10) over two stints and 19 appearances (20 2/3 innings) out of the Royals bullpen down the stretch this season. The 27-year-old lost his spot on the Royals’ 40-man roster when the club signed left-hander Ryan Yarbrough to a one-year, $3 million contract on Tuesday.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds, Mills possesses a sidearm delivery and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a low-90s four-seam fastball, a low-80s slider, and a low-90s sinker, per Baseball Savant. The Washington state native held opposing hitters to a .167 batting average against with his four-seamer (his most frequently-used offering) this year.

Mills has one minor-league option remaining and is not arbitration-eligible until 2026. He owns a lifetime 2.60 ERA over 62 1/3 career innings at the Triple-A level and figures to provide the Red Sox with some additional bullpen depth in 2023, if not beyond.

Going back to Kansas City in exchange for Mills is Wallace, the 24-year-old relief prospect the Red Sox originally acquired from the Rockies as the player to be named later in the August 2020 trade that sent Kevin Pillar to Colorado.

Wallace, who hails from Methuen, Mass., spent the entirety of the 2022 season with Double-A Portland. The right-hander out of UConn. forged a 3.81 ERA and 5.81 FIP with 76 strikeouts to 49 walks over 47 relief outings (56 2/3 innings) for the Sea Dogs. He was a candidate to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster last month, but was left off and was passed over in last week’s Rule 5 Draft. had Wallace as the No. 45 prospect in the organization, noting that his command and control need significant refinement.

Finally, we arrive at Hosmer, who was designated for assignment in order to make room for Mills on the 40-man roster. The Red Sox acquired Hosmer (as well as minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson) from the Padres for pitching prospect Jay Groome in early August.

Hosmer appeared in just 14 games for Boston and batted .244/.320/.311 with three doubles, four RBIs, and six runs scored. The 33-year-old was placed on the injured list with low back inflammation on Aug. 21 and did not return until the final series of the season against the Rays.

While Hosmer was sidelined, the Red Sox called up top prospect Triston Casas from Triple-A Worcester. Casas, a left-handed hitting first baseman, slashed .197/.358/.408 with five home runs and 12 RBIs across 27 games (95 plate appearances) to close out the season. Considering the fact that Casas and Hosmer both hit from the left side of the plate and primarily play first base, the latter became somewhat redundant this offseason thanks to the former’s emergence in the fall.

The Red Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hosmer, who opted into the final three years and $39 million of his contract last month. As part of the deal that sent Hosmer from San Diego to Boston, though, the Padres agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s salary down to the major-league minimum. That means that another club could claim Hosmer off waivers without needed to make much of a financial commitment to him moving forward.

Hosmer, who does not turn 34 until next October, did gain a full no-trade clause when he was dealt from the Padres to the Red Sox over the summer, so he would have to approve a move if Boston elects to trade him. The Red Sox could also elect to simply release Hosmer since the Padres remain on the hook for the bulk of his contract through 2025.

Following Friday’s series of moves, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is now at full capacity.

(Picture of Wyatt Mills: Ed Zurga/Getty Images)