4 Red Sox spring training overreactions after first week of play

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Tanner Houck and Bobby Dalbec earn unexpected Opening Day roster roles

As the Red Sox pitchers battle it out for a slot in the starting rotation, Tanner Houck is rising up.

Houck has seen an uptick in his pitch velocity this offseason, which he attributes to being healthy and finding his old self. This spring training, Houck has pitched two innings and got out of them in seven pitches without allowing a single baserunner. He hasn't logged any strikeouts yet, but his command has been better.

Cora has expressed his confidence in Bobby Dalbec's ability to make the Opening Day roster this season and he's making good on his manager's assertions in the Grapefruit League. Dalbec has three hits, three runs scored, two walks and an RBI in 12 at-bats.

Dalbec still strikes out quite a bit — five times in five games -- but he's been training in the outfield to work on his defensive versatility and may be able to shuffle between the infield and outfield if all goes according to plan.

Houck will use his uptick in velocity and, hopefully, consistent command to land in the starting rotation. Dalbec's new defensive versatility will land him on the Opening Day roster. . . we think.

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