FORT MYERS, FL – Red Sox manager Alex Cora gave one happy story about his team’s spring training: Righty Cotter Crawford Make the club.
The start coming through the Minors, Boston Number 25 Possibilityaccording to the MLB Pipeline rating, was not considered in a mix from the starting point at the camp opening.
But the 26-year-old Crawford, a 16th-round pick from the University of Florida Gulf Coast in the 2017 draft, secured his spot at the big club with a speed bump in a new role.
“He worked hard,” Cora said. “You know, he won it. When he got into the situation, probably early in camp, he probably didn’t have a chance. I don’t want to say it that way, but he was a guy where we looked at him but [thought] He might have been better off [to] Go to Triple-A and all that. But he kept pushing and pushing and the more we talked about our rotations and what we’re trying to achieve early in the season and throughout the season, it made a lot of sense.”
The idea Cora has for Crawford is for him to multi-role, something that would be valuable early in the season given the short spring training the Boston players had to ramp up.
“Whatever my turn, my job is to throw hits whenever I receive the ball,” Crawford said. “I’m just looking forward to any chance I get at the major tournaments.”
Crawford not only surprised the Red Sox, he surprised himself a bit.
“I wasn’t expecting to see the phyllo jump I threw,” Crawford said. “I kind of surprised on my first outing. I always expect to succeed when the ball is handed to me. I have high confidence in everything I do. You don’t make it that far from being confident in your ability. Having the success you have, it is amazing.”
If Crawford can replicate the success of his spring training once the season starts, he could be this season Garrett Whitlockwho went from the little-known Rule 5 Draft pick to Boston’s best loyalist in 2021.
“With this, I know everyone is proud. Player development is something to be proud of,” Cora said. “The work everyone has done and this kid is breaking with us, it’s one of those accomplishments the organization feels good about.”
When the coronavirus broke out for the Red Sox last September, Crawford was called up almost without warning to replace Nick Pevita for an instant start against Cleveland. It didn’t go so well, as he gave up five hits and five runs over the course of more than innings. However, Cora was impressed by the way Crawford handled a difficult situation.
“I still remember when I took him out that day,” Cora said. “I said: ‘You are a great player. You will help us. Here is the time when he will help us. I think it will be good for us. He adds a different mix.
Hill opens in five holes
Korra also admitted on Monday that he is 42 years old Rich Hill He will open the season as player number 5.
However, Whitlock, who has extended his spring training to fight with Hill for that spot, will also get his share of roles. There’s also a chance that Whitlock and Hill can sometimes flip roles, although Cora doesn’t want to make that clear at this point.
“We can be creative in a sense. Both are going to be a huge part of what we’re trying to achieve,” Cora said. “Rich will start that match on Tuesday. [April 12] In Detroit, that one game. It started. Witt will be the center of attention for opening day and he will be the center of attention in that game [Hill starts]. “
In games that Whitlock does on the back, it will provide an interesting contrast to the opposing hitters. Hill has a mid-’60s curveball and a fastball edging out 88-89 at this point. Whitlock throws gas.
“This is something we’ve been talking about since we signed Rich. It’s something we talked about with Tanner [Houck] and Chris [Sale] Before Chris gets hurt.”