Red Sox Notes: Blake Swihart, Eduardo Rodriguez Already Flashing Potential

Saturday was a very productive day for the Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox defeated both the Minnesota Twins and the Baltimore Orioles in split-squad Grapefruit League action, with several encouraging storylines emerging from the pair of victories.

The Red Sox downed the Twins 4-2 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myersm, then toppled the O’s 7-6 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

Let’s go over some notes and takeaways from Saturday’s Red Sox spring training action.

Versus Twins at JetBluePark
— Clay Buchholz was very effective while setting the tone.

Buchholz didn’t allow a hit over three shutout innings. He struck out four and walked one.

The Twins ultimately posted two runs — one in the seventh inning, one in the ninth — but Boston held Minnesota hitless through the first 6 1/3 innings.

— Craig Breslow, Brandon Workman, Anthony Varvaro and Mitchell Boggs each worked a hitless/scoreless frame.

— Mookie Betts’ dynamism was on display. If he has a productive spring, there’s absolutely no way Boston can start the season without him hitting atop the order.

Betts went 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored while batting out of the leadoff spot. His triple came on a ball hit off the screen located on the JetBlue Park Green Monster in left field.

Betts was known last season for making things happen with his aggressiveness. So, on Saturday, it was business as usual.

— Dustin Pedroia, who hit a grand slam Thursday, went 2-for-3. He’s now 5-for-6 in his first two Grapefruit League games.

Yes, Pedey. We’re watching.

— David Ortiz collected a hit and knocked in a run.

— Hanley Ramirez and Mike Napoli each had two hits.

Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval drilled back-to-back line-drive singles in the sixth inning.

Ramirez didn’t have any mishaps in left field.

— Sean Coyle produced an RBI double in the seventh.

Versus Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium
— Blake Swihart, the Red Sox’s top prospect, crushed a three-run homer in the first inning. He ended up with three hits before all was said and done.

It’ll be interesting to see what type of power Swihart shows in camp. He has shown up to spring training bigger and stronger each of the last two seasons, so it could become a more noticeable part of his game.

— Allen Craig might not have a clear role, but he’s giving the Sox something to think about in camp.

Craig reached base in all four of his plate appearances Saturday. He collected two hits, walked twice and drove in a run.

— Steven Wright, who drew the start, allowed one unearned run on two hits over two innings.

Wright, who also struck out two, is sort of a forgotten man amid the Red Sox’s crop of pitching prospects, but the 30-year-old knuckleballer has experience as a starter and a reliever. He could be a valuable swingman for Boston at points this season.

— Eduardo Rodriguez dazzled against his former team.

Rodriguez, who was acquired from Baltimore last July in exchange for Andrew Miller, fired three perfect innings in which he struck out three.

The left-hander might have the most upside of any starting pitching prospect in the Red Sox organization, including Henry Owens. But don’t expect to see Rodriguez in Boston early this season, especially in relief. He’ll continue to be groomed as a starter before eventually making the jump.

— Dalier Hinojosa, a Cuban defector who signed a $4 million signing bonus in October 2013, was touched for three earned runs on two hits and two walks in the ninth inning.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

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