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June 21, 2022 at 7:11 AM

Cup of Coffee: Sale begins rehab assignment, Johanfran Garcia goes 3 for 4


6/21 Cup of Coffee: It was quiet on the farm, as the full-season affiliates took their usual Monday off from games. Chris Sale pitched an inning to begin his rehab assignment, facing off with Rays star Wander Franco, while the FCL team took extra innings to secure a win, registering merely three base knocks. In the Dominican Summer League, the two squads split their games, partially due to some quiet offenses, as the teams combined for just 13 hits. However, Johanfran Garcia was 3 for 4, while Armando Sierra had two doubles.

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There were a pair of rehabbing players, as long with Chris Sale, Wander Franco was in the opposing dugout for the Rays. The two faced off in the first inning and Sale won the battle, as Franco struck out swinging. Sale allowed a run in his one inning of work, aided by the wild pitch that struck out Franco, as he also permitted a walk and a hit. Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz followed with four innings of shutout, five-hit ball, striking out six Rays, while Luis Talavera (pictured) contributed an additional four frames. He surrendered the tying run in the sixth, but gave up merely two hits and did not walk a batter, while striking out four.

Despite only three hits, the Red Sox were able to get it done, tying the game at 1-1 on a fielder's choice by Eduardo Vaughn, while the next batter, Ahbram Liendo, singled to give his team the lead. In the 10th, the automatic runner advanced to third on a productive out and would score on a wild pitch, proving to be the difference.
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A three-run sixth broke a 1-1 tie for the Red Sox and proved to be the difference in the game, despite the team registering only five hits. Two of those base knocks belonged to Armando Sierra, who had a pair of two-baggers, driving in a run in the process. Meanwhile, Kelvin Diaz added a triple, as well. Inmer Lobo handled the bulk of pitching duties in his four-inning start. The Astros were able to get just three hits on him, scoring one run. Lobo also struck out five without walking a batter. Andres Ortuno got the save with 2 1/3 shutout innings, striking out six hitters with just two hits allowed.

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Free passes and errors were the name of the game for Red, as a trio of errors and six more walks helped their opponents to victory. Only one run was considered earned due to the defensive miscues. Johanfran Garcia led the way for the Red Sox offensively, registering a 3-for-4 afternoon, accounting for three of his team's eight base knocks, while Axel James added an RBI double in the fifth.

As a team, the Red Sox pitching staff scattered eight hits, but were unable to keep runs off the board, partially due to the eight walks surrendered. Each of Carlos Reyes and Yonfi Rodriguez contributed 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, throwing the bulk of the game. Reyes, who came first, allowed four hits and three runs (one earned), with a walk and strikeout mixed in, while James coughed up merely an unearned tally on a pair of hits, with one free pass and three punchouts.

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Player of the Day: Continuing a strong professional debut thus far, Johanfran Garcia earns player of the day honors. He was the only player with three hits in the organization and despite the one-run loss, had three of his team's eight hits. The 17-year-old is now hitting .323/.463/.419 over 31 at-bats, with nine walks to six strikeouts. The organization expects him to stick at catcher and earned an $850,000 bonus in January 2022, the third-largest bonus handed out during the signing period.

Photo Credit: Luis Talavera by Kelly O'Connor