A pair of head-to-head roster battles were decided in Red Sox camp this morning, with Dennys Reyes beating out fellow left-hander Hideki Okajima and Matt Albers beating out fellow right-hander Alfredo Aceves.
Reyes and Albers have made the team as relievers, while Okajima and Aceves will head to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Okajima and Aceves both have a minor-league option remaining, while Reyes and Albers do not, which likely played a big part in the decisions. This way the Red Sox can keep all four pitchers, instead of having to risk losing Reyes or Albers had they kept Okajima or Aceves.
After a disappointing 2010 season Okajima took a pay cut to re-sign with the Red Sox for $1.75 million, which he’ll be earning in the minors. Aceves signed a “split” contract when he joined the Red Sox as a free agent last month, so he’ll make $200,000 at Pawtucket. Aceves looked good in camp and the Red Sox didn’t pay $1.75 million for Okajima to face International League hitters all year, so they’ll both likely get a shot in Boston soon enough.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.