Red Sox Spring Training Update: Ceddanne Rafaela stuns, Chris Martin, Kenley Jansen

St. Louis Cardinals v Boston Red Sox
St. Louis Cardinals v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Two veteran Boston Red Sox pitchers made their return to the lineup in Thursday night's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

Since the beginning of spring training, Kenley Jansen has been battling different injuries that have kept him sidelined, mostly as a precaution. Jansen experienced lat soreness at the beginning of team workouts and he debuted in the Grapefruit League on March 15.

Jansen allowed two home runs before he could register an out and he was swiftly pulled from the game. He did not make another appearance until Thursday due to back tightness. Finally, Jansen is ready to play, just after his status for Opening Day came into question.

The 2023 All-Star went a full inning against the division-rival Orioles. He posted two strikeouts and didn't allow a hit. Jansen threw 13 pitches and touched 95 mph in the three-up, three-down frame.

Chris Martin also made his return to play Thursday after not appearing all spring. The veteran had a groin injury sustained during a live batting practice much earlier in the preseason.

Martin's outing didn't go as smoothly as Jansen's. Michael Pérez opened Martin's inning with a double, and he scored on an error by Connor Wong in the following at-bat. After the run scored, Martin let up a single to Anthony Santander and was pulled.

The run on Martin wasn't earned, but his performance didn't speak to his chances of being ready to pitch for Opening Day. An experienced reliever should only need a few outings to get ready for the season — hopefully, Martin can turn his luck around in his next appearance.

Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin make returns to Red Sox, Ceddanne Rafaela brings excitement

Ceddanne Rafaela likely doesn't need any more luck to secure his spot on the 26-man roster, though. His play this spring has been better than expected and he keeps getting more impressive by the day.

Rafaela came to the plate in the second inning and drilled a double to center field. The ball deflected off JetBlue Park's mock Green Monster and Tyler Nevin played it off the wall. He threw to Kolten Wong at second while Rafaela was a ways away from the bag.

Wong had the ball in his glove at the bag and Rafaela turned to the side and threw himself headfirst into second, outside of Wong's attempted tag. He touched the base with his back foot and, as he was called safe, Wong raised his hands to his head in shock. Then, Rafaela scored on the next at-bat.

Rafaela is fast and regarded as an accomplished base stealer. It turns out he can also do gymnastics on the base paths to avoid clear outs.

The 23-year-old's bag of tricks keeps getting deeper and his playing style is electric. Rafaela's case for the Opening Day roster has been made.

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