Hector Velazquez

Red Sox likely to start Hector Velazquez on Monday, Chris Sale's start pushed to Tuesday

Red Sox likely to start Hector Velazquez on Monday, Chris Sale's start pushed to Tuesday

The Boston Red Sox much-maligned starting rotation is likely going to continue to get a little bit of rest. The Red Sox are planning on starting Hector Velazquez on Patriots' Day to continue to avoid overworking their normal five-man rotation.

"We're going with six starters," manager Alex Cora told reporters before the series opener against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. "After the off-day on Thursday, we've played how many, 20-something in a row? So that's the last time we can actually give those guys a breather. It's by design. There's nothing going on. Hopefully, with Hector, we don't have to use him a lot over the next few days, and he'll be the guy on Monday."

Velazquez's start on Monday will push back Chris Sale another day. Sale, who is off to an 0-3 start with an ERA of 9.00, hasn't looked good so far and has admitted to feeling lost this year. Perhaps with another extra day of rest, he'll be better prepared for his start against the Yankees in the Bronx on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Velazquez has pitched in 8 2/3 innings so far in 2019 while logging a 3.12 ERA. Velazquez pitched three shutout innings as the starter in the 1-0 win over the Diamondbacks last Sunday. He is the only Red Sox starter this season to record a scoreless outing.

It seems likely that Velazquez will continue on as the Red Sox' spot starter. However, things could change if the Red Sox need bullpen help at any point in the next three games against the Orioles. If Velazquez has to pitch at any point in that stretch, plans may have to change.

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Red Sox vs. Diamondbacks lineups: Mookie gets day off, Velazquez starts

Red Sox vs. Diamondbacks lineups: Mookie gets day off, Velazquez starts

The Boston Red Sox are looking to close off the final contest of their 11-game west coast road trip with a victory. The Red Sox have gotten off to a rough start this year, notching just a 2-8 record, and they will look to avoid getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

Ahead of their home opener, the Red Sox are going to give their starting pitchers a day off and make it more of a bullpen day. As a result, Hector Velazquez will make the spot start. So far this year, Velazquez has logged 5 2/3 innings of work with a 4.76 ERA coming out of the pen. He will look to become the first Red Sox starter to notch a win this year.

By starting Velazquez today, the Red Sox ensure that Chris Sale will be on the hill for Tuesday's home opener against the Blue Jays.

The other notable lineup decision today is that Mookie Betts will get a day off. J.D. Martinez will start in right field due to the absence of the DH in the National League park.

Mitch Moreland is into the lineup against a righthanded pitcher in place of Steve Pearce, and Blake Swihart will catch today after Christian Vazquez started yesterday. Here's the rest of the lineup for today's game.

BOSTON RED SOX (2-8)
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mitch Moreland, 1B
J.D. Martinez, RF
Rafael Devers, 3B
Blake Swihart, C
Eduardo Nunez, 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Hector Velazquez, RHP

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (5-4)
Jarrod Dyson, CF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
David Peralta, LF
Adam Jones, RF
Christian Walker, 1B
Ketel Marte, 2B
Nick Ahmed, SS
John Ryan Murphy, C
Merrill Kelly, RHP

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Hector Velazquez won't visit White House due to Trump's Mexico comments

Hector Velazquez won't visit White House due to Trump's Mexico comments

Hector Velazquez will join a handful of Boston Red Sox players abstaining from visiting the White House, and he has a pretty straightforward explanation.

The Red Sox pitcher and Mexico native explained he won't attend Boston's trip May 9 trip to the White House to celebrate its 2018 World Series championship because of the insulting comments President Donald Trump has made about his home country.

"I made the choice not to go because, as we know, the president has said a lot of stuff about Mexico," Velazquez told MassLive.com's Christopher Smith in Oakland on Wednesday. "And I have a lot of people in Mexico that are fans of me, that follow me. And I’m from there. So, I would rather not offend anyone over there."

In his campaign to build a wall along the U.S. southern border, Trump has characterized Mexicans as criminals, drug dealers and "rapists."

"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best," Trump said during a 2015 campaign speech, via USA TODAY. "They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Velazquez, who grew up in Ciudad Obregon in the Mexican state of Sonora and is Boston's only Mexican player, strongly disagrees with the president's characterization of his people.

"If people want to get to know Mexicans and the kind of people we are, I invite them to go to Mexico and see the people that are over there," Velazquez added.

Outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. and third baseman Rafael Devers also have said they won't attend the White House trip, while manager Alex Cora still is on the fence.

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