Already having picked up Chris Carpenter, the Red Sox have now acquired fellow right-hander Aaron Kurcz from the Cubs as the player to be named in the Theo Epstein compensation package.
This comes almost five months after Epstein left the Red Sox to become the Cubs’ president of baseball operations. The Red Sox still owe the Cubs a player as part of the deal.
Kurcz, 21, was an 11th-round pick in the 2010 draft. He spent the entire 2011 season at high-A Daytona, finishing with a 3.28 ERA and a 91/34 K/BB ratio in 82 1/3 innings. Initially strictly a reliever, he made 12 starts last season with fine results. Still, he didn’t rate a mention in Baseball America’s top 30 Cubs prospects.
Kurcz figures to open this season in Double-A, though whether he’ll be a starter or a reliever is unclear. Carpenter is likely to start off in the bullpen at Triple-A Pawtucket.
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.