Notes: Could Houck return vs. White Sox?

Cora says 2021 Red Sox are 'a bunch of grinders'

April 13th, 2021

The postponement of Monday’s Red Sox-Twins game to be made up as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday has created a log-jam in manager Alex Cora’s rotation that could lead to another start this weekend for highly-touted prospect Tanner Houck.

With Martín Pérez’s start getting pushed from Monday to Tuesday, the Sox don’t have a rostered starter who could pitch on regular rest for Saturday’s home game against the White Sox.

The logical move would be to recall Houck from the alternate training site for that start.

In his first four Major League starts, including on April 3, Boston’s No. 7 prospect per MLB Pipeline is 3-1 with a 1.17 ERA.

“We probably have to make a move, do something over the weekend,” said Cora. “We’ll wait. I know the weather doesn’t look too promising on Friday, so we’ll plan accordingly. We’ll plan ahead and be ready for whatever we have to do over the weekend. It’s going to be an interesting one schedule-wise, but so far it’s been a different type of schedule so we’ll prepare for it.”

Fans have been clamoring to get more looks at Houck, so it would certainly be a popular decision if the 24-year-old makes a start at Fenway this weekend.

The Sox will also be able to add an extra player to the roster for Wednesday’s doubleheader, and Cora expects it will be a pitcher.

Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 1 of the twin bill, and Eduardo Rodriguez gets the nod in Game 2.

Garrett Richards will pitch the finale of the four-game series at Target Field on Thursday afternoon.

Comfortable but new
Cora has blended so seamlessly back to the Red Sox that a reporter asked him on Tuesday if it feels like he never left. Cora’s answer was interesting.

“Not really,” said Cora. “There's so many new things that are going on right now, with the guidelines and the protocols that I wasn't obviously part of it last year, that it makes it a new experience. As far as the group, yeah, we’ve got a few guys that they played for me a few years ago, but overall it’s a new club.

“There's a lot of new faces. So from that end, it's a new experience. As far as the game and all that, it’s still the same thing. Just prepare them to be successful and go at it on a daily basis.”

At least early in the season, Cora is getting results out of his team, and they are playing with a gritty attitude reminiscent of his first stint with the Red Sox.

“I was talking to my mom two days ago,” said Cora. “And I said, ‘Mom, we’ve got a good team.’ She’s like, ‘Yes you do.’ I’m like, ‘Why do you say that?’ She said, ‘It seems like they care. Guys get upset when they strike out, they get upset when they don’t get a call.’ So if she agrees with that, I’ll go with that.

“It’s a good baseball team -- a bunch of grinders. They’re willing to work. It’s not the names we had in ’18 or ’19, but overall it's just guys that we have to show up every day. If not, the results won't be there, but they're willing to work, they're willing to put their work before and after the game and during the game, they're very in tune with it.”