Red Sox

MLB rumors: Could Craig Kimbrel look at Twins as free-agent options narrow?

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MLB rumors: Could Craig Kimbrel look at Twins as free-agent options narrow?

The Philadelphia Phillies dominated the MLB headlines Thursday when they reportedly agreed to a 13-year, $330 million contract with free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper.

While it's not out of the question that Philly could still add one of the other top free agents on the market, the chances of closer Craig Kimbrel making his way to Citizens Bank Park probably have dwindled as a result of Harper's monster contract.

The options for Kimbrel, the top relief pitcher on the market, appear to be narrowing further. One interesting fit could be the Minnesota Twins, who according to The Athletic's Jim Bowden, have stayed in touch with Kimbrel's agent.

This isn't the first time the Twins have been linked to Kimbrel -- MLB Network's Jon Heyman mentioned Minnesota as a possible destination for the closer back in January. 

The Twins ranked 10th out of 15 American League teams with a 4.45 bullpen ERA in 2018. Minnesota's bullpen also ranked 11th in saves, 12th in batting average against and ninth in walks. There's certainly room for improvement in that group, and Kimbrel still is a top-tier reliever.

Kimbrel tallied 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, 96 strikeouts and 31 walks over 62 1/3 innings for the World Series champion Red Sox last season.

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Red Sox vs. Tigers lineups: Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. return for Game 2

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Red Sox vs. Tigers lineups: Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. return for Game 2

Just hours after dropping a 7-4 decision in the matinee of their day-night doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, the Red Sox will try to salvage a split this evening with Hector Velazquez on the mound.

Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley, Jr. return to the lineup after not starting in Game 1, though Moreland did ground out as a pinchhitter in the 9th inning.

After starting at third base and going 0-for-4 this afternoon, Michael Chavis will slide over to second base tonight with Rafael Devers getting the start at third.

Xander Bogaerts will once again draw the start at shortstop after hitting a pair of solo home runs this afternoon. Unfortunately for the Sox, that was almost all the offense they could muster, with hitters aside from Bogaerts going just 3-for-26 at the plate.

The Red Sox bullpen will look slightly different tonight, with Darwinzon Hernandez and Travis Lakins on a major-league roster for the first time in their careers.

Here are both full lineups for Game 2, which is set for 7:10 p.m. ET:

BOSTON RED SOX (9-14)
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Mookie Betts, RF
Mitch Moreland, 1B
J.D. Martinez, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Rafael Devers, 3B
Michael Chavis, 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Christian Vazquez, C

Hector Velazquez, RHP (0-1, 2.84 ERA)

DETROIT TIGERS (11-10)
Jeimer Candelario, 3B
Nicholas Castellanos, RF
Miguel Cabrera, DH
Niko Goodrum, LF
Brandon Dixon, 1B
Ronny Rodriguez, SS
Josh Harrison, 2B
John Hicks, C
JaCoby Jones, CF

Spencer Turnbull, RHP (0-2, 3.43 ERA)

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Top Red Sox pitching prospect activated for Game 2 vs. Tigers

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Top Red Sox pitching prospect activated for Game 2 vs. Tigers

Just days after Michael Chavis made his major league debut, another top Red Sox prospect could do the same.

Darwinzon Hernandez has been activated to the Sox roster as the 26th man for the nightcap of their day-night doubleheader against the Tigers Tuesday.

Hernandez was scheduled to pitch for Double-A Portland on Tuesday anyway, and now he is ready to help out a Sox bullpen that already threw four innings in Game 1. With Hector Velazquez not expected to pitch more than four or five innings, Hernandez could indeed be called upon in the nightcap.

"I loved what I saw in spring training when he started and came out of the bullpen," said Alex Cora after Boston's Game 1 loss. "Today we just have to take advantage of the 26th man."

Hernandez, considered to be one of the Sox' best pitching prospects, has posted a 1.80 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 10 innings with the Sea Dogs, though he has also walked seven men.

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And Hernandez won't be the only new arm in the bullpen tonight. The Red Sox have reportedly also optioned Bobby Poyner back to Pawtucket and recalled Travis Lakins from the PawSox. Lakins, a 24-year-old righty, has a 3.38 ERA in six games in Triple-A this season. He has never pitched in the majors.

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