Red Sox News: Dominican Series, Ceddanne Rafaela, Bobby Dalbec

2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays
2024 Dominican Republic Series - Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays / Bryan M. Bennett/GettyImages

On March 9-10, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays brought Major League Baseball to the Caribbean in the inaugural Dominican Republic Series.

The Red Sox embraced the opportunity to give back to a community that has given so much to baseball. Rafael Devers gave tours around his home country and Boston legends Pedro Martínez and David Ortiz came along for the ride to celebrate.

And the Sox delivered in the best way possible — by sweeping the Rays in front of thousands of fans who had never seen an MLB game before.

A fellow Caribbean native put his mark on the series in a big way, too. Ceddanne Rafaela, who is from Curaçao, continued his fight for an Opening Day roster spot and his case is seemingly getting stronger with every outing.

Ceddanne Rafaela thrives for Red Sox in Dominican Republic Series

In eight at-bats, the 23-year-old posted a walk, two hits, one of which was a homer, a run, and three RBI. Rafaela doubled with the bases loaded early in Saturday's action to plate the first two runs of the series. On Sunday, he led off the fifth inning with a solo homer to cut into Tampa's 3-1 lead.

The outfield prospect has had a more impressive spring than expected. Red Sox manager Alex Cora attested Rafaela had the potential to make the team and start in center field, but many thought his bat would need more fine-tuning before a long stint in the big leagues. Instead, Rafaela continues to prove people wrong with his newfound consistency and command at the plate.

Bobby Dalbec's case for Red Sox Opening Day roster continues

After Rafaela's Sunday homer, the Rays made another push for the win. Curtis Mead led off the sixth inning with a home run and later in the frame Jonathan Aranda doubled to score Francisco Mejía.

But Bobby Dalbec halted their efforts with one swing of the bat.

With the bases loaded, Dalbec launched a first-pitch home run to give Boston the lead. The Sox never looked back and went on to win the game, 7-6, featuring a save from Dominican native, Joley Rodríguez.

As the legend of spring training Dalbec continues to grow, so does his shot at the Opening Day roster. And with Vaughn Grissom injured and likely starting the season on the IL, Dalbec's grand slam puts him firmly in the running for a spot at second base, at least for a short time.

Watching the Red Sox overcome a division rival in the Dominican Republic brought a new surge of excitement for Sox fans.

Maybe all isn't lost after another rough offseason.

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