Red Sox use new mercy rule after Garrett Richards debacle


Garrett Richards had thrown just one out during his first spring training start, loading the bases and walking in a run before the Red Sox stopped the inning after 23 pitches.

He then came back out for a second 1-2-3 inning.

“They’re building blocks, man,” he said after being rescued by the new rule this spring training that allows managers to finish an inning after a pitcher has thrown 20 pitches, no matter how many outs or runners on base there are.

“Obviously, you want to finish and you want to do all the exits that your exit requires,” he said. “So yeah, it was a bit frustrating.”

Richards told reporters in Fort Myers, Florida, that his pitches were moving well, but he simply struggled to keep them in the strike zone. He allowed two runs, three hits and two walks in the first inning before it ended.

“Of course, I am not happy with that. Today’s outing is not what you’re going to see from me on a regular basis, I’ll tell you right now, ”he said. “I just needed to stay in competitive mode a little longer than in mechanical mode. So once the switch was flipped, everything felt good again. “

Richards spent his first 10 seasons on the West Coast with the Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres, interrupted by Tommy John’s surgery in 2018 that also cost him most of ’19. He went 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and agreed to a one-year, $ 10 million deal with Boston in the offseason.

“What strikes me is his stuff,” manager Alex Cora said. “It will be one of our boys. And it should be a good one. “

He proved it in the second inning, when he retired the Braves in order.

“It was great to come back out and finish a strong second inning, get some quick outs,” he said. “It was nice to be able to make up for that first inning and do my job, complete my outing, but also finish on a strong note.”

Also Monday, shortstop Xander Bogaerts had the day off to recover from a sore shoulder. Cora said Bogaerts’ launch schedule in Aruba was “not perfect” due to coronavirus lockdowns, and Bogaerts was quick to prepare.

“We closed it for a while,” Cora said. “It will be fine in a few days. We just have to be patient. We have many days, right? We have what, 30 more days? So from now on, we think it should be ready for opening day. “

Red Sox pitcher Garrett Richards
Red Sox pitcher Garrett Richards
AP

The Red Sox made four errors in a 5-2 loss to Atlanta.

Another injury that emerged was to pitcher Zac Grotz, an unlisted guest who winced after taking a pitch and left the game. Cora said that after the test it turned out fine and she didn’t feel any pain.

Some players and several members of the training staff contracted a non-coronavirus-related illness and needed time off. After receiving an email saying they were sick, Cora said she was relieved to be notified that her COVID tests were negative.

“You see all the negatives, and it was like, ‘Okay, so it’s just bad food,'” he said. “So they are recovering. … They are depressed for the day, but we will survive today. “

Cora also said that outfielder Franchy Cordero, who was obtained in the trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Kansas City Royals, was on his way to Fort Myers and would need a couple of days to clear up the protocols.

Japanese pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura was expected to arrive on Monday and had already passed his COVID test, Cora said.

“Everything turned out in a negative way, in a positive way,” he said.

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