Red Sox

Top Red Sox prospect Darwinzon Hernandez makes tremendous first impression

Top Red Sox prospect Darwinzon Hernandez makes tremendous first impression

The Red Sox let Darwinzon Hernandez know how they felt about his future by pairing him with the five members of the starting rotation for one of his first official side sessions of spring training.

With Pedro Martinez in attendance, Hernandez threw immediately after Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Nathan Eovaldi, and Eduardo Rodriguez in Fort Myers. Afterwards, manager Alex Cora noted that, "it takes more than 25 guys to win a World Series."

The presumption on that day and throughout camp was that perhaps Hernandez could help this season in the bullpen. But here's another thought. What if he's meant to jolt life into the rotation?

We're obviously a long way from the Red Sox replacing a starter, even though the big five have opened the season 0-7 with a 9.13 ERA. But an injury or extended ineffectiveness could eventually create the need for a spot start, and based on his opening performance at Double A Portland, Hernandez looks like someone who intends to be in the mix.

In Sunday's 6-0 victory over Reading, the 22-year-old left-hander picked up right where he left off last year. He pitched five shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out 10 over 74 pitches. He also struck out 10 in six innings over five relief appearances in Portland at the end of last season.

Per the Portland Press Herald, Hernandez hit 96 mph with his fastball and also elicited swings and misses with his a curve, slider, and changeup. Nine of his strikeouts were swinging.

"I loved how he was aggressive with all four pitches," Sea Dogs pitching coach Paul Abbott told the paper. "He didn't lose his intensity from the first pitch to the last."

If there was a downside to the performance, Hernandez walked four -- two on four pitches and two on five. This follows a spring that saw him post a 0.82 ERA with 12 strikeouts but also eight walks in 11 innings with the Red Sox.

"The kid is something," manager Joe Oliver told the Press Herald. "He shows you glimpses where he can struggle a little bit. He didn't let (the walks) get to him. He's grown up a little bit the past year."

Will that growth eventually bring him to Fenway Park? He's off to a good start.

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WATCH: Yaz's grandson Mike Yastrzemski blasts first walk-off home run

WATCH: Yaz's grandson Mike Yastrzemski blasts first walk-off home run

Nearly four decades after Carl Yastrzemski stopped tormenting MLB pitchers, his grandson is grabbing the torch.

Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of the legendary Boston Red Sox slugger, smashed his first career walk-off home run Sunday, an opposite-field bomb that gave San Francisco a 3-2 win over the New York Mets.

The younger Yaz, an Andover, Mass., native, already has nine home runs since being promoted to the majors on May 29. He needs 443 more to catch his Hall of Fame grandfather, but he already has a quarter of Carl's walk-offs; Yaz hit four career walk-off homers, the last of which came 39 years ago on May 27, 1980.

In a twist of baseball fate, Mike is the first Giants player to hit a walk-off homer in his first season since Al Gallagher ... who accomplished a feat against the same pitcher Carl victimized twice in his heyday.

The 28-year-old Yastrzemski was initially drafted by the Red Sox in 2009 before committing to Vanderbilt instead. He was traded from the Baltimore Orioles in May 2019 to San Francisco, where he's playing a key role on a resurgent Giants team that's back at .500 after a slow start.

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The boys are rolling 🤟🏼

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MLB Rumors: Red Sox 'showing active interest' in Kirby Yates and Ken Giles

MLB Rumors: Red Sox 'showing active interest' in Kirby Yates and Ken Giles

It's no secret the Red Sox need to address their less-than-stellar bullpen and starting rotation at the July 31 trade deadline if they hope to make a run toward the postseason. 

They have already reportedly looked at Madison Bumgarner and Marcus Stroman as starting options while Toronto's Daniel Hudson is a reported target for some bullpen help. 

Keeping with the theme of potential bullpen additions, the Red Sox reportedly have 'active interest' in Padres closer Kirby Yates and Blue Jays closer Ken Giles, according to Jon Morosi

Both have been very good closers this season for their respective clubs, who could both be sellers at the deadline. Yates, 32, leads the National League in saves with 31 to go with a 1.07 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 40 appearances. 

Giles, 29, has tallied just 14 saves on the season, but his 1.64 ERA in 33 games and electric stuff would certainly be a welcome addition in the Boston bullpen. The Red Sox are in no place to be picky. 

Acquiring a closer would be a curious move considering the Sox' plan to use Nathan Eovaldi as the full-time closer. Of course, they could bring a legitimate closer to open up a return to the rotation for Eovaldi, but it would be odd to get a closer before getting a good look at Eovaldi in that role. 

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