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Red Sox tab Owens to open Grapefruit slate

Rotation candidate will head to the mound vs. Twins
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Though Henry Owens is currently sixth on the depth chart in the starting rotation, he will be first out of the gate when the Red Sox open their Grapefruit League schedule against the Twins on Wednesday.

Owens showed flashes of brilliance while pitching for the Red Sox late last season and hopes to win a spot in the rotation with a strong camp. Joe Kelly currently holds the inside track on the fifth spot in the rotation.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Though Henry Owens is currently sixth on the depth chart in the starting rotation, he will be first out of the gate when the Red Sox open their Grapefruit League schedule against the Twins on Wednesday.

Owens showed flashes of brilliance while pitching for the Red Sox late last season and hopes to win a spot in the rotation with a strong camp. Joe Kelly currently holds the inside track on the fifth spot in the rotation.

"What we've seen is more consistent shape to his curveball," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Owens. "I thought he's demonstrated a mound presence and calm about him while in games that is pretty advanced for a young pitcher, so while there might not be huge strides in terms of added velocity, or a different type of breaking pitch, this is someone who has embraced and met the Major League environment fairly well."

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Rick Porcello will pitch Thursday's road game against the Twins. Ace David Price is likely to make his first start later in the week, and Farrell will announce the rest of the rotation following Tuesday's workout.

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The Red Sox will host their annual college doubleheader against Boston College and Northeastern University on Monday. Knuckleballer Steven Wright draws the start in the opener against BC at 1:05 p.m. ET, with non-roster invitee Sean O'Sullivan going in Game 2.

Most of the regulars will play in Game 1, with Game 2 serving as an opportunity for reserves and Minor Leaguers to get at-bats. Hanley Ramirez will play his first game at first base against BC. Blake Swihart, Dustin Pedroia, Pablo Sandoval, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. will also play in that game. Brock Holt and Travis Shaw will start against Northeastern. Game 2 will start roughly 45 minutes after the first game ends.

David Ortiz will wait until the Grapefruit League slate to play. Rusney Castillo, slowed by the flu earlier this week, will also skip the college games.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox, Henry Owens, Rick Porcello