For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

For starters: Back to back starts for Duffy as Rays face Red Sox, 1:05

3B Matt Duffy came into camp saying he felt really good and his left foot troubles, that kept him out all of 2017, were behind him.

The Rays are giving him the chance to show that right away in the exhibition season with back to back starts as they face the Red Sox today in Fort Myers.

Also of note, reliever Daniel Hudson, acquired Thursday from the Pirates, reported to camp, and will wear No. 41.

Hudson said he was surprised to be traded, was excited to join the Rays,  felt he just got “out of whack” with strike-throwing last year leading to his struggles and sees joining the Rays  as “kind of a fresh start.”

Here is today’s lineup:

Smith cf
Duffy 3b
Bauers 1b
Snyder lf
Schimpf 2b
Sucre c
Coats rf
McCarthy dh
Robertson ss
Faria p

Red Sox spring training notes: A J.D. Martinez update and Marco Hernandez heads back to Boston

Red Sox spring training notes: A J.D. Martinez update and Marco Hernandez heads back to Boston

J.D. Martinez still has not signed

It’s been since Monday that the Red Sox reportedly agreed to terms with J.D. Martinez and transformed their lineup, but we still are waiting for official word that the deal is done. The slugger was seen arriving in Fort Myers on Wednesday, presumably to start his physical. Well, it is not Saturday morning and we are still waiting for things to be completed. This, understandably, is causing some worry among Red Sox fans, particularly because it’s not as if Martinez has been a model of health through his career (though I’d argue his injury history is overstated, but tomato tomahto). Fortunately, there haven’t been any reports that things have gone awry at this point. Right now, the assumption has to be that they are simply waiting for their own doctors to either get down to Florida, or perhaps for Martinez to get up to Boston to see doctors there, or some other logistical issue that I’m not smart enough to think of. I don’t think there’s much of anything to worry about at this point, though obviously that becomes less true every day and I wouldn’t blame anyone for getting panicked about this, because the Martinez saga just won’t end.

Marco Hernandez heads back to Boston for another shoulder procedure

Hernandez just cannot catch a break right now. Fortunately, it’s not a major surgery or anything like that, but the second baseman was still feeling discomfort in the shoulder on which he underwent surgery last May. Now, he’ll be heading up to Boston to have pins removed from the shoulder. This doesn’t seem like something that should keep him out for too long, but I’m certainly not a doctor. According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, he’s not going to play again this spring. The Eduardo Nuñez signing likely pushed him down to Pawtucket anyway, but the Red Sox could use all the depth they could have and one could argue that Hernandez is their best depth piece when he’s fully healthy. Hopefully we see that version of the 25-year-old in 2018.

MLB notebook: Red Sox still evaluating Martinez's physical

MLB notebook: Red Sox still evaluating Martinez's physical

Four days after agreeing to a reported five-year, $110 million deal with the Boston Red Sox, outfielder J.D. Martinez has yet to be introduced by the club or take the field with his teammates.

And now, the speculation as to why is heating up.

MLB Network on Friday reported the club is still studying the free-agent slugger’s physical, which took place on Wednesday. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told ESPN’s Scott Lauber via text that Martinez “continues to take his physical.”

The delay sparks particular interest considering Martinez’s injury history, plus the size of the contract and the amount of time it took to get done. A knee sprain and wrist injury limited Martinez to 86 games with the Astros in 2013, and he’s also missed more than 40 games in each of the last two seasons. In 2016 he suffered a broken elbow crashing into a wall, and a foot injury sustained in spring training cost him the first six weeks of last season.

Tampa Bay Rays right-handed pitcher Brent Honeywell was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and needs Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.

The Rays announced the diagnosis Friday morning, one day after Honeywell shouted expletives and marched off the mound in pain after releasing a pitch.

Honeywell, the No. 1 prospect in the Rays’ system and No. 12 in Major League Baseball according to MLBPipeline.com, threw 10 pitches before cutting the session short when he felt discomfort in his right forearm. The starting pitcher is ranked 14th in a Baseball America ranking of prospects.

–Left-hander Francisco Liriano signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Detroit Tigers on Friday.

Liriano, who ended last season with the World Series champion Houston Astros as a reliever, is expected to compete for the No. 4 or No. 5 spot in Detroit’s revamped rotation.

Liriano struggled with control and excessive walk totals with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017. He was 6-7 combined last season with a 5.66 ERA. The 34-year-old was traded in July to the Astros and was used exclusively out of the bullpen from then on.

–The Texas Rangers signed free agent right-hander Jesse Chavez to a one-year contract Friday.

The $1 million deal is not guaranteed and reportedly would escalate to $1.5 million if the 34-year-old Chavez is on the 25-man active roster on Opening Day.

Chavez had a 7-11 record and a 5.35 ERA over 138 innings in 38 games (21 starts) last season with the Los Angeles Angels.

–Field Level Media

Twins do their part to honor Stoneman Douglas shooting victims

Twins do their part to honor Stoneman Douglas shooting victims

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Pulling on the black-and-garnet cap of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as he headed out to warm up Friday afternoon made an impression on Twins pitcher Aaron Slegers.

“That was extremely special,” Slegers said after starting and working two scoreless innings in the Grapefruit League opener, a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Seeing every Twins and Boston Red Sox player join in the league-wide tribute to the 17 students and educators killed in the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the Parkland, Fla., high school only reinforced the experience for Slegers. His emotions, however, peaked during the moment of silence at JetBlue Park.

“I don’t know about anyone else, but I got the chills during that moment of silence,” Slegers said.

Across Major League Baseball, more than 2,500 New Era caps with the interlocking “SD” will be worn by players, coaches and managers in their spring openers. Many teams, including the Twins, planned to have players autograph their game-used caps for an auction to raise funds related to assisting shooting victims and their families.

The Twins’ auction was tentatively set for Monday.

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Aaron Slegers throws in the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Aaron Slegers throws in the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“It was definitely an honor to wear that hat,” Twins infield prospect Nick Gordon said. “To have to witness a tragedy like that, I couldn’t even imagine what those kids are going through and the families, as well. Just have to pray for them. My heart goes out to the families that have to go through that.”

Gordon grew up in Orlando, where 49 were killed in a nightclub shooting in September 2016. His older brother Dee played three seasons for the Miami Marlins, so the Twins’ former first-rounder said the latest tragedy carried additional resonance for him as a native Floridian.

“You never want to see that happen anywhere, but for it to be so close to our hometown, that stuff is scary, man,” he said. “Tell your loved ones you love them — always — and treat people with respect.”

NUMBERS GAME

Twins manager Paul Molitor reiterated Friday he is “definitely leaning toward” opening the year with a four-man rotation while waiting for Ervin Santana to return from finger surgery.

It’s “not yet” set in stone, but Molitor thinks he’ll stay with four starters “at least through a couple times” barring “any other surprises” such as another veteran addition to the pitching staff. Slegers, the Twins’ reigning minor league pitcher of the year, would rather not even ponder such matters.

“You’d probably know before I would, and I wouldn’t want to know anyway, to be honest,” Slegers said. “I’m just going to keep the accelerator to the floor and pitch the best I can. I’ll make the decision-makers make decisions and I’ll throw the rock.”

Slegers threw 19 of his 28 pitches (67.9 percent) for strikes and started five of his seven batters with strikes. He also stuck with his sinker in a 12-pitch duel with Xander Bogaerts that resulted in a foul-tip strikeout. He also retired Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez in a 1-2-3 first inning.

“It doesn’t intimidate me like it used to,” he said. “If I were to face that (top three) a year ago, maybe I would have gone about it a little bit differently. It just instilled that attack mentality that I can pitch at the highest level.”

BRIEFLY

Gordon, who was hit by pitch in the right shoulder for the second straight game, added a ninth-inning double to the opposite field. “He’s got a little juice in his bat,” Molitor said. “He knows what he’s doing.” … Lefty Dietrich Enns picked off Chad De La Guerra to end the third inning but later gave up a pair of fourth-inning doubles off misplaced changeups. Molitor praised Enns for sticking with a pitch that will be important in his development. .. Twins infielder Gregorio Petit made a base-running mistake to end the game. Had Petit let himself get caught in a rundown between first and second, the tying run might have scored from third. “Teaching point for us,” Molitor said.

Cora 'not concerned' Red Sox deal with Martinez not yet done

Cora 'not concerned' Red Sox deal with Martinez not yet done

FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2017, file photo, Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder J.D. Martinez smiles as he talks with another player during practice at Chase Field for a National League wild-card playoff baseball game in Phoenix. A person familiar with the negotiations says slugger Martinez and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a $110 million, five-year contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday, Feb. 19, 2018, because the agreement was subject to a successful physical and had not been announced. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — The Boston Red Sox have still yet to finalize their contract with prized free agent J.D. Martinez.

Manager Alex Cora said after Boston’s Grapefruit League exhibition opener against Minnesota on Friday that he’s not concerned by the delay and is simply focused on preparing the players he already has in camp. The Red Sox beat the Twins 4-3 at JetBlue Park.

Martinez agreed to terms on Monday to a deal that’s as long as five years and worth as much as $110 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract is subject to a successful physical exam and has not been announced by the club.

Martinez hit 45 homers in 119 games last season with Detroit and Arizona.

More MLB baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Alex Cora 'not concerned' Red Sox deal with J.D. Martinez not yet done

Alex Cora 'not concerned' Red Sox deal with J.D. Martinez not yet done

CLOSE

SportsPulse: The Yankees and Red Sox look loaded heading into the season, but who will come out on top? USA TODAY Sports

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — The Boston Red Sox have still yet to finalize their contract with prized free agent J.D. Martinez.

Manager Alex Cora said after Boston’s Grapefruit League exhibition opener against Minnesota on Friday that he’s not concerned by the delay and is simply focused on preparing the players he already has in camp. The Red Sox beat the Twins 4-3 at JetBlue Park.

“I’m not concerned, he said. “My job here is to show up every day and get ’em ready.”

Martinez agreed to terms on Monday to a deal that’s as long as five years and worth as much as $110 million, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract is subject to a successful physical exam and has not been announced by the club.

Martinez hit 45 homers in 119 games last season with Detroit and Arizona.

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