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Jonathan Villar shrewdly dropped a line drive to get a double play


The Red Sox, leading 1-0 over the Brewers in the top of the third inning on Thursday afternoon, had a runner on first base and one out facing starter Jimmy Nelson. Mitch Moreland lined a 1-2 fastball up the middle. With the infield shifted, second baseman Jonathan Villar appeared to catch the line drive, but with his back turned to the infield, the ball trickled out of his glove. Villar quickly shoveled the ball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who quickly fired the ball to first base to complete the 4-6-3 double play.

Xander Bogaerts, who was on first base, was confused by the whole situation. Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to argue that Villar intentionally dropped the line drive. If the umpires agreed, Moreland would be out but Bogaerts would stay on first base according to rule 6.05(l). The umpires did not agree, so the inning ended on Villar’s shrewd double play.

Watching the video, especially in slow motion, it does appear that Villar intentionally dropped the line drive, so he probably got away with that one. It didn’t matter, though, as the Red Sox won 4-1.

Chris Sale exits game with hip contusion

Chris Sale
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Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale made a hasty exit from his final Grapefruit League outing on Saturday after sustaining a left hip contusion. He was struck on the leg with a line drive from the Astros’ J.D. Davis in the first inning and immediately collapsed on the mound. He was able to walk off the field without a noticeable limp, however, and later told reporters that the ball struck a nerve and temporarily stunned his leg. As a precautionary move, the Red Sox pulled him after the incident and will have the left-hander undergo X-rays to rule out any further injury to his hip.

This was expected to be Sale’s last start of spring training. Prior to Saturday’s matinee against the Astros, the 28-year-old southpaw made three starts in camp, allowing five runs, one home run, three walks and striking out 18 batters in 14 innings. He’s still on track to start the season for the Red Sox during their road opener against the Rays next Thursday.