Double-A Portland’s Henry Owens kicked off the minor league season in style Thursday, throwing six hitless innings against Reading before the game was called due to rain.
Owens, probably Boston’s top prospect now that Xander Bogaerts is in the majors, was matched up against the Phillies’ best pitching prospect, fellow left-hander Jesse Biddle.
Owens, who went 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in six starts after a late-season promotion to Double-A last year, was probably done after six regardless, given that it was the first day of the season and he had thrown 86 pitches. He struck out nine and walked two in the gem.
Second basemam Mookie Betts, another one of Boston’s top prospects, went 4-for-4 with a homer from the leadoff spot to lead the offense in the 5-0 victory.
On Monday, Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil was placed on the 10-day injured list due to Carpal Tunnel syndrome. Cecil, who notably lost 42 pounds since the end of the 2018 season, was having trouble with his mechanics throughout spring training and only logged two official Grapefruit League innings.
Cecil, 32, is entering the third year of his four-year, $30.5 million contract. He struggled last year, finishing with a 6.89 ERA and a 19/25 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. The lefty dealt with shoulder and foot injuries during the season as well.
The Cardinals bolstered the bullpen in December, signing lefty Andrew Miller to a two-year, $25 million deal. It would be nice to have a healthy and effective Cecil, but the high-leverage workload will be managed by Miller and Jordan Hicks as well as Alex Reyes.
Cecil was among a handful of Cardinals to hit the injured list on Monday, joining Carlos Martínez (right shoulder cuff strain), Jedd Gyorko (right calf strain), Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement), and Justin Williams (right hand second metacarpal fracture).