March 13, 2014 at 12:13 PM
The Red Sox announced their first round of cuts from major league spring training this morning. Pitchers Anthony Ranaudo and Alex Wilson, outfielders Alex Hassan and Bryce Brentz, and third baseman Garin Cecchini were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Meanwhile, pitchers Henry Owens (pictured), Matt Barnes, Michael Celestino, and Noe Ramirez, first baseman Travis Shaw, catcher Blake Swihart, and utility man Heiker Meneses were reassigned to minor league camp.
Wilson is the only member of the group with major league experience. The 27-year-old righthander went 1-1 with a 4.88 ERA in 26 appearances across three stints with the Red Sox in 2013.
Added to the 40-man roster in the offseason, Ranaudo drew the assignment in the Red Sox spring opener against the Twins, striking out four of the six batters he faced. Overall, he made three appearances, allowing five runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Ranaudo is likely to be part of the PawSox starting rotation.
Coming off a somewhat disappointing 2013, Brentz had an excellent showing in his first major league spring training. The 25-year-old was 9 for 22 with a team-leading three home runs and seven RBI. He also impressed with his arm, making a pair of strong throws to third base from right field.
While Hassan was officially in major league camp in 2013, he was unable to participate due to ongoing problems with a stress fracture in his foot. The outfielder has appeared in 10 games this spring, going 3 for 21 with a double.
Cecchini waas added to the 40-man roster this winter after a fantastic 2013 where he hit .322/.443/.471 between High A Salem and Double-A Portland. Following a 3-for-16 spring, he will begin 2014 as Pawtucket's starting third baseman.
In his first major league spring training, Owens took the loss in both of his appearances, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits in 4 1/3 innings. The youngest pitcher in camp, the 21-year old had a breakout season in 2013 with Salem and Portland.
Like Owens, fellow 2011 draftee Matt Barnes was taking part in his first major league camp. Barnes appeared in the exhibition against Boston College, but has not pitched again due to shoulder stiffness. The injury is not seen as serious as manager John Farrell said the team was being "overly cautious." Barnes is expected to join Ranaudo in the Pawtucket rotation.
Celestino was re-signed in the offseason as a minor league free agent. The hard-throwing right-hander was originally acquired before the 2010 season in the deal that also brought Bill Hall to Boston in exchange for Casey Kotchman. He appeared in three games this spring, notching a scoreless inning apiece in his first two outings before getting hit hard in Saturday's loss to Miami.
Ramirez was tied with the team lead in appearances in spring training with four. Ramirez saw his stock rise with a successful transition to the bullpen in 2013.
In limited game action, Swihart impressed, going 3 for 7 and stealing a base. Another pick from the strong 2011 draft class, the 21-year-old catcher hit .298/.366/.428 for Salem in 2013.
Shaw, son of former major league reliever Jeff Shaw, was another player making his first appearance in major league camp. The first baseman appeared in nine games this spring, driving in three runs.
Meneses was 4 for 11 with a double and a pair of RBI. The utility infielder made some news this offseason by taking reps at catcher, but he did not see any playing time behind the plate this spring.
The moves leave the Red Sox with 46 players in camp. That number includes pitchers John Ely and Steven Wright, who will both begin the 2013 season on the disabled list.
Photo Credit: Henry Owens by Kelly O'Connor