Red Sox

Red Sox' Heath Hembree explains why he didn't pitch in ninth inning Thursday, says he'll be fine

sandy-leon-heath-hembree-boston-red-sox-win-vs-blue-jays-52219.jpg
File photo

Red Sox' Heath Hembree explains why he didn't pitch in ninth inning Thursday, says he'll be fine

BOSTON -- When the ninth inning of Thursday's 7-6 victory over the Rangers rolled around, Red Sox manager Alex Cora summoned a perplexing name.

Josh Smith?

With one of Cora's most effective recent relievers sitting in the bullpen, speculation immediately turned to why Heath Hembree didn't get the call. It turns out the right-hander had felt tightness in his forearm while warming in the seventh and both player and team decided to shut things down for the night.

Smith hit the first batter he faced before settling down to the record the first save of his career. As for Hembree, he sounded cautiously optimistic he won't be sidelined long.

"I'm not worried about it at all," he said. "It feels like a soreness, but it was a little bit more than that. I've pitched with aches and stuff before, but it was just a little bit more than that. It was a situation that felt best not pitching anymore tonight."

Hembree has been one of the team's most effective relievers since changing his pitch mix in late April to feature his fastball more and his slider less. Since April 25, he has cut his ERA more than in half, from 5.56 to 2.51. He's 1-0 in his last 20 games with a miniscule 0.52 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 17.1 innings.

He said he hadn't experienced any soreness until the game. He met with doctors afterwards and insisted everything is fine, but also hedged a little bit.

"Nobody's worried, I'm not worried," he said. "We'll see tomorrow. I know the difference in, I guess, a good pain and a bad pain. I guess you could say it was more of a good pain, but it was something that wasn't worth pushing any further than we did."

Could he miss a few games?

"We'll see how it is (Friday)," he said. "I might wake up tomorrow and it feels great and I'm in there tomorrow, but we're just going to kind of see how it goes day by day right now."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

MLB Rumors: Yankees offer Gerrit Cole a record contract

gerrit_cole_120819.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

MLB Rumors: Yankees offer Gerrit Cole a record contract

The Boston Red Sox may be looking to cut their payroll this offseason. But that doesn't mean that their rivals will be too.

In fact, some may spend big. And that includes the New York Yankees.

The Yankees have been reportedly interested in free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole. The former Houston Astro is expected to get a lot of money on the open market, and according to Bob Klapisch of the New York Times, the Yankees have made a record-setting offer for his services.

This would be a big signing for the Yankees, as they could use another top-tier pitcher for their starting rotation. And Cole would certainly fill that need.

Cole, 29, had one of the best seasons of his career for the Astros, logging a 20-5 record and posting a 2.50 ERA. He also struck out a league-best 326 batters and helped the Astros win the American League pennant.

While the Yankees offer is on the table, they are still competing with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels to earn his services, as Klapisch noted. We'll see if this offer is enough or if any of the teams involved in the sweepstakes up the ante.

And while the Yankees chase after Cole, the Red Sox are weighing some moves of their own. According to the latest rumors, they are expressing interest in a reunion with Rick Porcello.

Where Cole ranks among the MLB's top 10 free agent starting pitchers>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

MLB Rumors: Red Sox interested in a reunion with Rick Porcello

MLB Rumors: Red Sox interested in a reunion with Rick Porcello

The Boston Red Sox may be trying to cut some payroll this offseason, but that isn't going to stop them from targeting some free agents. And that may include one of their own.

According to Jason Mastrodonato of The Boston Herald, the Red Sox are having talks with Rick Porcello about a potential reunion. While the Red Sox may be interested in Porcello, Mastrodonato wrote that "it's unclear how aggressive the Red Sox will be in their pursuit."

He also noted that a short-term, incentive-based contract may make sense for both sides.

Porcello, soon to be 31, has spent the past five seasons with the Red Sox after being acquired in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and Gabe Speier. He won the Cy Young Award in his second year with the team, 2016, but he has had issues in the seasons since that campaign.

In 2019, Porcello endured his worst campaign as a pro, logging a career-worst 5.52 ERA and 7.4 K/9, his worst mark since joining the Red Sox. Still, he posted a 14-12 record and still profiles as a solid back-end starter because of his ability to eat innings.

We'll soon see if the Red Sox end up being involved in the Porcello sweepstakes. If they are involved, they will have competition and may find themselves facing off with the likes of the New York Mets, who reportedly have an interest in Porcello.

Where Porcello ranks among the MLB's top 10 free agent starting pitchers>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.