Hector Velazquez with an okay first impression
Hector Velazquez his spent his entire professional baseball career in Mexico, coming to the states on a minor-league deal with Boston just a few weeks ago. We got our first look at the righty on Sunday afternoon and he was....fine. His first inning went swimmingly, as he allowed one single that was sandwiched by a couple of ground outs and a strikeout. His second and final frame started off rough with a leadoff double and an RBI single right off the bat. Velazquez recovered with three strikeouts and a walk to finish off his debut. He’ll almost certainly start the year in Pawtucket, and has a pretty good chance of staying there all year. Given the question marks behind the top six starters and his success in Mexico, though, he could move himself up the depth chart with a strong impression. It’s obviously too early to form any strong appearances, though.
Who wants to be the second lefty in the bullpen?
This game featured two players who are fighting to be part of the left-handed relief depth for the Red Sox this year. Fernando Abad threw the sixth inning, and it wasn’t the cleanest performance. After walking the first batter he faced, he allowed an RBI double immediately after. He was able to get out of the inning with two strikeouts and a ground out, though. Abad has the inside track to make the major-league roster, of course, but his leash won’t be too long. Luis Ysla came in for the eighth, and it was a rough one. The southpaw faced four batters on Sunday, walking one, hitting another and allowing a two-run home run in between. He recorded one out. Ysla is third at best on the depth chart, and although he’s on the 40-man for now he’s no guarantee to get a shot this year. Also appearing in this game were Marcus Walden, Ben Taylor, Jamie Callahan and Ty Buttrey. Taylor is probably the most interesting of this group, and he retired all four batters he faced with three strikeouts.
Not much happening on offense on Sunday
The only real regulars in Sunday’s lineup were Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley, with Brock Holt and Blake Swihart getting starts as well. The latter two both got a single apiece, while the two outfielders went a combined 0-6 with two strikeouts. The best performances were for a couple of potential bench infielders in Marco Hernandez and Deven Marrero. The former had the only extra-base hit of the game, smacking a one-out triple and coming around to score in the seventh. Marrero, meanwhile, came in for Holt and got two singles and scored a run. Rusney Castillo did have a hit in this one, but he also got caught in a rundown and just generally continues to look like a guy who won’t see the majors again in his career.