FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox made their first round of roster moves on Sunday, sending 11 players out of big league camp and over to the Minor League side.There were no surprises, just young players returning to the camp where they can continue their development and progressions. It's
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox made their first round of roster moves on Sunday, sending 11 players out of big league camp and over to the Minor League side.
There were no surprises, just young players returning to the camp where they can continue their development and progressions. It's part of the learning process for them.
It's also part of the learning process for first-year manager Alex Cora, who had to deliver the unwanted messages to the prospects for the first time in his career. It's never an easy task, even for a veteran manager, but especially for a rookie.
"I had a flashback of when I got cut," Cora said. "It's a learning experience, and that was a learning experience today. But having Dave [Dombrowski, Red Sox president of baseball operations], he's done it for a lot of years, the coaches. Talking to the players, [telling them] to stick to the plan. There's a few things that we noticed throughout the course of these few weeks that they need to keep working on. It was a good experience. It's never cool to tell somebody that you're going to Minor League camp, but it's part of the process."
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Boston's top prospect Michael Chavis, according to MLB Pipeline, catcher Austin Rei, infielder Esteban Quiroz, outfielders Jeremy Barfield and Steve Selsky and right-handers Kyle Martin and Fernando Rodriguez were reassigned to Minor League camp. Left-handers Jalen Beeks (No. 15) and Williams Jerez (No. 27) and right-handers Ty Buttrey (No. 29) and Chandler Shepherd (No. 26) were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Beeks had a rough outing on Saturday. Stepping in for David Price, who was scratched from his start against the Twins because of rain in the forecast, Beeks faced seven batters without recording an out, giving up seven runs on six hits and a walk before rain cancelled the game.
Cora made sure the young lefty knew his move was not related to the outing.
"Yesterday, I told him on the mound, 'You're a good pitcher. Don't let this day bother you,'" Cora said. "[But], it will bother him. But that was one that it was so fresh in his mind. 'It didn't happen because yesterday you struggled. It was going to happen regardless. You still have to go through the process, and there's a few things that you have to work on, but you will pitch in the big leagues.'
"With Shepherd, too, going through the adjustments. There's a few things we noticed the last few weeks that he has to add to his craft. It started yesterday. It's tough sometimes when you're young. You've been doing something for so long and all of a sudden [someone says] you should do it this way, this will benefit you. It takes a while, and obviously you're going to go through struggles. But when you find it, you're going to be fine.
"Chavis, [who is working his way back from a left oblique injury early in camp], it was obviously a tough one for him. He wasn't able to perform, but he learned a lot over the course of whatever we've been here, as far as like work ethic, showing up on time, do your work. And actually, he'll be fine. But sometimes Spring Training, yeah, the experience you get on the big field, it helps. But I think the experience you had in that clubhouse, just being around the guys and seeing how they work, is going to benefit him."
The Red Sox now have 45 players in big league camp, 36 from the 40-man roster and nine non-roster invitees.
Cora likes what he has seen this spring from Tzu-Wei Lin, the 24-year-old infielder who has been with the organization since signing as an international free agent in 2012. He made his Major League debut last season, hitting .268 in 25 games and playing second base, third base and shortstop.
Lin has played 29 innings at shortstop, 16 in center field, 14 at third base and 11 at second through 14 spring games. After going hitless in two at-bats in Sunday's 7-3 loss to the split-squad Orioles at JetBlue Park, he's hitting just .160, but Cora isn't worried about that at this point.
"Very good defensive player," Cora said. "And his at-bats are good. He controls the strike zone. … You see the batting average and then you see the at-bats, you don't see the same thing. That's a good sign because he's putting quality at-bats.
"But defensively, good tempo. He's getting used to the second-base part of it. Obviously, it's a different angle. But at short and at third, he's great. In center field, he hasn't had too many chances, but for everything I heard, everything people have told me, he can handle center field. He gets good jumps, throws to the right base and he understands the game. And in the clubhouse, amazing. He's a professional. People like him. He's very likable. This guy is going to contribute. He's a big leaguer."
Cora compared his versatility to that of Brock Holt.
"Defensively, he's a shortstop for a championship-caliber team," Cora said.
This and that
• Brock Holt was hit by a pitch from left-hander Zac Lowther in the eighth inning. Holt had been expected to make the trip to Dunedin, Fla., on Monday to face the Blue Jays, but he will now stay behind.
"Hopefully he's all right," Cora said. "But we're not going to push him."
• Mookie Betts, who got his first hit of the spring on Thursday, led off Sunday with his first home run -- a shot to left field -- against right-hander Hunter Harvey.
• Carson Smith pitched a scoreless fifth inning, striking out Colby Rasmus (who reached on a wild pitch) and Danny Valencia before Pedro Alvarez grounded into a fielder's choice. He struck out the side swinging by retiring Chance Sisco. In five appearances this spring, Smith has given up one run on four hits, with three walks and six strikeouts over five innings.
• J.D. Martinez went 0-for-3 and played five innings in left field.
Right-hander Hector Velazquez is scheduled to start Monday when the Red Sox travel to face the Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. ET (listen live on Gameday Audio). Left-handers Roenis Elias and right-handers Marcus Walden and Justin Haley are set to follow him on the mound.
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.