Red Sox News: Undefeated in spring training, starting rotation competition, more

Red Sox pitcher Kutter Crawford
Red Sox pitcher Kutter Crawford / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Boston Red Sox are still undefeated in 2023 spring training action, defeating the Miami Marlins by a score of 4-1 on Sunday at JetBlue Park. Corey Kluber started for Boston; he scattered 2 hits and 2 walks over 2.2 innings. He struck out 4 and threw 52 pitches.

The top pitching performance on Sunday came from Kutter Crawford. Crawford, in his second appearance of the spring, logged 3 perfect innings and struck out 3 of the 9 batters he faced.

The best offensive player for the Red Sox was David Hamilton. The 25-year-old speedster was 2 for 2 with a double and 2 RBIs. He also stole a base. In 119 games for the Portland Sea Dogs (the team's AA affiliate) in 2022, Hamilton swiped 70 bases in 78 attempts. And no, that's not a typo. The guy can really fly on the basepaths.

The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham reported on Twitter after the game that Wilyer Abreu became the 3rd Red Sox player in the last week (joining Connor Wong and James Paxton) to suffer a hamstring strain according to Alex Cora. Cora said that Abreu's left hamstring strain will keep him out "for a while", but the exact severity of the injury is not yet known.

Abreu pulled up gingerly after rounding 1st base on a single during Sunday's action; he was immediately removed. In 14 spring training plate appearances, he has filled up the stat sheet: 4 hits (2 singles, a triple, and a home run), 2 walks, 4 runs batted in, and 5 runs scored.

Wilyer Abreu was 1 of the 2 prospects (Enmanuel Valdez) traded to the Red Sox at the 2022 Trade Deadline in the deal that sent Christian Vázquez to the Houston Astros. In 129 total games at the AA-level last season, Abreu posted a .247 AVG, .399 OBP, and .834 OPS; he stole 31 bases on 34 attempts.

Other Red Sox News's Ian Browne reported on Twitter that Brayan Bello threw another bullpen session on Saturday, his third since being shut down for 3 days due to forearm tightness.

No other information regarding Bello's status has been shared by the Red Sox or reporters since Saturday, but we will relay any updates on his continued progression as soon as they become available. For now, no news of further setbacks is good news for the 23-year-old hurler.

Brayan Bello (ramping up after being briefly shut down with forearm tightness), Garrett Whitlock (recovering from hip surgery), and James Paxton (recovering from a Grade 1 hamstring string) are all currently candidates to land on the short-term injured list at the end of spring training.

If faced with these health setbacks, the Red Sox will need to decide who should be added to the Opening Day rotation. The resulting competition for the open spots has really started to heat up; we identified which pitchers might have the edge right now and why.

And as injury will inevitably occur over the course of a 162-game regular season, the Red Sox will rely on contributions from a variety of players who might not be with the team on Opening Day. We identified 6 pitchers who could end up making a surprise impact at the big-league level in 2023, regardless of whether or not they make the 26-man roster coming out of spring camp.

In team transaction news, the Red Sox reportedly made their first round of roster cuts over the weekend. According to MassLive's Christopher Smith, the team assigned the following 4 players to its minor league camp: INF Matthew Lugo, RHP Dan Altavilla, RHP Victor Santos, C Elih Marrero.

And last (but certainly not least), all eyes will be locked on Chris Sale today as he makes his 2023 spring training debut against the Tigers at 1:05 PM. You can catch all the action on NESN (TV) or WEEI (radio).