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April 6, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Fitzgerald powers WooSox to opening day victory

4/6 Cup of Coffee:
The 2022 minor league season kicked off with a single game Tuesday evening.  Worcester remained in Florida, featuring a lineup that is one of the most prospect-laden the organization has had at Triple-A in some time. The WooSox have five players ranking among the SoxProspects.com Top 30, including top prospect Triston Casas and the evening's hero, Ryan Fitzgerald (pictured). 


Worcester drew a tough assignment on day one, facing off against Max Meyer, the third overall pick in the 2020 draft. Following an impressive spring training in which he nearly forced his way onto the major league club, Ryan Fitzgerald had an opening day to remember. He singled in the fifth, coming around to score on a Jarren Duran double to give Worcester a 3-2 lead. The following inning, the 27-year-old blasted a solo home run that proved to be decisive. Duran had a pair of hits out of the leadoff spot, while Connor Wong also delivered a two-hit effort. Triston Casas was hitless in four at-bats, but he did score a run after being hit by a pitch, as well as submit an RBI on a ground out. 

Darwinzon Hernandez, back with the minor league club to recalibrate after making 84 appearances at the major league level over three seasons, drew the opening day assignment. The left-hander did not allow a hit over 2 2/3 innings, but walked the final two batters he faced before being lifted for Kyle Hart. Both bequeathed runners came on to score. Hart surrendered three runs of his own on a pair of homers. Zack Kelly, Derek Holland, and Kaleb Ort each threw a scoreless inning to preserve the win. 


Player of the Day: Ryan Fitzgerald hit .313/.450/1.063 with four home runs in Grapefruit League play. He continued his stellar work with a 2-for-4 evening that included a solo homer. It has been a steady climb of the ladder for Fitzgerald since he signed out of the independent American Association in 2018, with a stop in Greenville that season, Salem the following year, and Portland for most of 2021 before a late-season promotion to Triple-A. 

Photo credit: Ryan Fitzgerald by Kelly O'Connor