Andriese debuts strong; Duran makes noise

March 4th, 2021

SARASAOTA, Fla. -- Matt Andriese, who is projected to be the swiss army knife of the Red Sox’s pitching staff, made a strong Grapefruit League debut for his new team on Thursday against the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium.

Making the start, the righty retired all six batters he faced, striking out one in Boston’s 6-3 loss to Baltimore.

“He pounded the strike zone. He knows what he’s doing on the mound. Good fastball, good changeup, good tempo,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “Pretty solid. Happy to see him compete. Very happy with the way he threw the ball.”

Starter? Reliever? Andriese doesn’t much care. He just wants to pitch. And more than likely, he’ll get his share of work in both roles this season.

“I just go about my business the right way,” said Andriese. “Whatever they decide is best for the team at the end of Spring Training, that’s what I go with. I know I’m capable of a starting role and I’m capable of doing the bullpen. I think that’s what makes me valuable, so I go about it the right way.”

The projected starting rotation to open the season is Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Richards, Martín Pérez and Nick Pivetta.

If the Red Sox go with a six-man rotation, that would open up a spot for Andriese.

If not, Andriese gives the Red Sox a reliever who can go multiple innings. The 31-year-old has made 183 appearances in his career, including 50 starts, going 26-34 with a 4.57 ERA.

Duran, Duran
It was somewhat fitting that on the day Jackie Bradley Jr. agreed to a two-year contract with the Brewers (according to a source), Red Sox prospect Jarren Duran hit a double down the line in left in his first at-bat and then lofted a homer to right-center in his next turn at the plate. It was the second long ball of Spring Training for the left-handed hitter.

Duran projects to be the center fielder of the future for Boston, particularly now that there’s no path for Bradley to return.

But he isn’t finished with his development just yet. Cora noted a moment in Thursday’s game when Duran threw to the wrong base.

“Those are the things that are part of the equation. It’s good that he makes a mistake like that so we can correct it,” Cora said. “He makes a nice play going to his right, made that bad decision.”

Wild start for Houck
Considering that Tanner Houck made three stellar starts for the Red Sox to end last season, there was some anticipation in seeing him pitch for the first time this spring on Thursday.

However, it didn’t go well. Houck recorded just one out in the bottom of the third inning, before being lifted by Cora. He allowed three runs on two hits and five walks.

“I do believe he was out of his delivery,” Cora said. “He rushed a little bit. He was all over the place, but just like the other guys, this is about repetitions, getting their work in. He did, but in a different fashion, right?

“Glad that he’s healthy. You can see the stuff. He was throwing 94, 95. Just like Bobby [Dalbec], it’s one thing to see it on TV. It’s different to see it real -- the athlete. You see him on the mound, he looks like a real pitcher, know what I mean? He’s tall and lanky. It was just a bad one for him, but he got his pitches in, and he’ll move to his next one.”

Casas back in Boston
Why hasn’t top Red Sox hitting prospect Triston Casas played in a Spring Training game yet? Cora explained.

“Casas right now, he’s actually in Boston,” Cora said. “They found something medically that we have to take care of. It’s not baseball related. It’s actually personal. I’ll leave it at that. We’re hoping that everything is fine. He’s in Boston right now going through all that stuff.”

Up next
Lefty Rodriguez will pitch in his first game since last Spring Training when he starts on Friday as the Red Sox host the Rays. Rodriguez didn't pitch in the 2020 regular season due to myocarditis. He won 19 games for Boston in '19. First pitch at JetBlue Park is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET. Listen live on MLB Audio.