Red Sox

Prospect Mike Shawaryn could be next spot starter in Red Sox' shorthanded rotation

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Prospect Mike Shawaryn could be next spot starter in Red Sox' shorthanded rotation

Next up: Mike Shawaryn?

With three off days in the next week, the Red Sox should only need one spot starter. And after underwhelming performances from Josh Smith and Hector Velazquez, Shawaryn could get a look after a solid run at Triple-A Pawtucket.

The burly 6-foot-2 right-hander is 1-2 with a 2.72 ERA in six starts. He's coming off his best outing of the season in a no-decision vs. Rochester in which he allowed five hits and just one unearned run over eight innings on Friday. He has yet to allow more than three runs in a start this season.

A fifth-round pick in 2016 out of the University of Maryland, Shawaryn (pronounced SHU-warren) isn't the prototypical Red Sox pitching prospect. He throws from a low three-quarters arm angle and relies on movement as much as velocity, which typically sits in the 92-93 mph range.

He's not a high strikeout guy (6.7/9 IP), but he has delivered consistent results at each level of the minors, never posting an ERA higher than 3.88.

When the Red Sox needed a starter for what ended up being a rainout against the Rays on April 26, they choose Smith, who made one relief appearance last week before starting and allowing a grand slam in a 4-1 loss to Baltimore on Monday.
Shawaryn had been in the mix.

"He was considered, but it didn't work out as far as where he was and the schedule," manager Alex Cora told reporters in Chicago over the weekend. "He got our attention in spring training, the way he uses his stuff and the way he uses his fastball. . . If we feel you can get outs, you're going to be part of the equation."

Shawaryn projects as a reliever or swingman in the big leagues -- he pitched primarily in relief in the Arizona Fall League while compiling a 2.13 ERA -- but opportunity can work in strange ways, as infielder Michael Chavis is proving now, and as Cora noted in spring training.

"I mean, Ryan Brasier contributed last year and he wasn't even in the conversation here," Cora said. "That's the message I've been telling them. Brandon Workman in 2013 was a big part of the World Series."

With David Price and Nathan Eovaldi sidelined by elbow injuries, the Red Sox are down two members of the rotation. Thanks to upcoming off days on Thursday, Monday, and next Thursday, however, they can probably rely on Eduardo Rodriguez, Rick Porcello, and Chris Sale to start six times during the eight-game homestand that begins Friday against Seattle.

E-Rod will start the opener and Porcello should get the ball on Saturday. That creates a need for a starter on Sunday. Mark down Shawaryn as an intriguing candidate.

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Jackie Bradley Jr. channels 'inner Bo Jackson' to make dazzling catch

Jackie Bradley Jr. channels 'inner Bo Jackson' to make dazzling catch

Jackie Bradley Jr. probably won't be hitting 475-foot-home runs anytime soon, and he certainly won't be pursuing a second career as an NFL running back.

But the Boston Red Sox outfielder does have a little Bo Jackson in him.

Here's Bradley going airborne in the seventh inning of Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Twins to make an insane catch that's even more difficult than it looks:

The Red Sox went on to lose 3-2 in a 17-inning marathon, but after the game, Bradley admitted to attempting a Bo Jackson impression as he slammed into the centerfield wall.

Jackson, one of the best athletes of all time and a dual-sport star for the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Raiders, famously defied gravity by literally running up the outfield wall after a highlight-reel catch:

Bradley obeyed most of the laws of physics here, but his catch arguably was impressive in that he snagged the ball in midair while crashing into the wall.

The 29-year-old may have his struggles at the plate -- he's hitting .213 through 66 games this season -- but Tuesday's catch was another reminder that he's one of the best defensive outfielders (and pure athletes) in baseball.

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Here's the rule that had Alex Cora hopping mad -- until he realized the umpires hadn't gotten it wrong after all

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Here's the rule that had Alex Cora hopping mad -- until he realized the umpires hadn't gotten it wrong after all

Alex Cora needed to be separated from home plate umpire Jeremie Rehak by coaches after Tuesday night/Wednesday morning's marathon 17-inning loss to the Twins, but it only took one look at the replay for the manager to admit he was wrong.

Cora and other members of the Red Sox, most notably right-hander Rick Porcello, were incensed after Eddie Rosario fouled off a bunt attempt with one out in the 17th. Catcher Sandy Leon immediately pointed at the batter's suggesting Rosario had stepped out before making contact, which would have been an automatic out.

Cora asked Rehak to consult with the rest of the crew and third base umpire Mark Wegner agreed that no violation had occurred. Cora complained bitterly before Rosario doubled the winning run to third. Two batters later, the Twins prevailed on Max Kepler's walk-off single.

Only after the game did Cora realize that Rosario, who had slid to the front of the box while awkwardly trying to bunt against the shift, didn't actually do anything illegal.

"I want to apologize to the umpires," Cora told reporters in Minnesota. "Obviously, emotions take over. I look at the replay, and Eddie wasn't off the batter's box. They did an outstanding job for how long (the game) was. Just one of those, it's tough to swallow. You see it and the emotions take over, but it was out of character. That was my fault."

Rule 6.06 (a) states that a batter is out for illegal action if, "he hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter's box." Upon video review, the left-handed Rosario's front foot clearly does not leave the box until after the ball leaves his bat. At the moment of contact, his heel is on the line.

So, Cora did the right thing and apologized.

"I look on the video and he wasn't," Cora told reporters. "They were right and I was wrong."

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