The Red Sox made a major splash in the international market on Wednesday, signing two of the top 16-year-old pitchers: righthanders Anderson Espinoza of Venezuela and Christopher Acosta of the Dominican Republic.
Espinoza is the top pitcher in the international class, according to Baseball America, and was signed for $1.8 million. Acosta was signed for $1.5 million and was one of the top 10 prospects available.
The Red Sox far exceeded their $1.88 million international bonus pool with just those two signings and will pay a 100 percent tax on the excess. They also will be prohibited from signing a player for more than $300,000 during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods.
The Sox also signed Dominican shortstop Elwin Tejada.
Espinoza is only 5 feet 11 inches, 175 pounds but has hit 94 m.p.h. with his fastball and has command of a curveball and changeup. His bonus is a record for a Venezuelan player.
The 6-3 Acosta has an advanced feel for pitching, according to a Baseball America scouting report. His build suggests the ability to get stronger and that could add to a fastball that already is 91-92. He also throws a good changeup.
Tejada is 6-2 but weighs only 150 pounds. What he lacks in physical tools he makes up for in skill, according to several scouting reports.
Uehara availableCloser Koji Uehara spoke generally of feeling “fatigue” after he gave up a run in the ninth inning and took the loss Tuesday. But the 39-year-old was available on Wednesday night. Not that he was needed in a 16-9 loss against the Cubs.
“There’s been times he’s expressed that with some regularity of use,” manager John Farrell said. “Can’t say that he’s been overused. But the one thing that Koji has been clear about is that any time he does feel something, he’s expressive and we wouldn’t do anything to put him in harm’s way.”
Through Tuesday, Uehara had allowed four runs on seven hits (three home runs) over a stretch of seven innings. That raised his earned run average from 0.57 to 1.40.
Marrero promotedThe Sox promoted shortstop Deven Marrero and righty reliever Miguel Celestino to Triple A Pawtucket.
Marrero, a first-round draft pick in 2012, hit .287 for Double A Portland with five home runs, 39 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases over 68 games. The 23-year-old hit .368 in June with nine extra-base hits and 11 RBIs.
Marrero started at shortstop for Pawtucket on Wednesday and went 2 for 4. Celestino, 24, had a 3.07 ERA in 23 appearances for Portland.
Portland added infielder Michael Almanzar to its roster. He was returned from the Orioles on Tuesday after being selected in the Rule 5 draft. He never appeared in a major league game for Baltimore.
Pawtucket righthander Anthony Ranaudo and catcher Christian Vazquez were named to the International League All-Star game.
Ranaudo, a supplemental first-rounder in 2010, is 9-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 17 starts. He’s tied for second in the league in wins and is fifth in ERA.
Through Tuesday, Vazquez was hitting .275 with 19 extra-base hits and 19 RBIs in 62 games. He had thrown out 18 of 46 base stealers, the third-best percentage in the league.
The IL All-Star Game is July 16.
Farrell has sayFarrell will manage the American League All-Star team July 16 and has some say in the roster.
He has yet to solicit the opinion of other managers but will do that in the coming days before working in conjunction with Major League Baseball to pick the roster. The teams will be announced on Sunday.
Farrell will have the most say picking the five players on the “Final Vote” ballot.
He suggested he could select those players based on a position need or their status in the game.
Victorino runsShane Victorino did some running on the warning track during batting practice and is scheduled to take batting practice on Thursday when the team is off . . . Mike Carp continued his rehabilitation assignment with Pawtucket, starting at first base and going 0 for 2 with two strikeouts. He played four innings in the field. Carp has played five games for Pawtucket and is 1 of 13. Carp has not played in the majors since May 31 because of a broken right foot . . . Will Middlebrooks was the DH for Pawtucket, his second game since restarting his rehab assignment, and went 1 for 3 with a homer. Middlebrooks has been on the disabled list since May 17 with a broken right index finger . . . The Red Sox have been swept at Fenway four times this season . . . Dustin Pedroia (3 for 5) is 12 of his last 20 and has improved his average to .282 . . . The Red Sox fell to 20-22 at home. They have been outscored by nine runs at Fenway. The Sox outscored the opposition by 99 runs at home last season.
Ring it up
The Red Sox gave David Ortiz a ring for being named the World Series MVP last season. Fans can try on that ring on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fenway. Enter at gate E and purchase a $10 raffle ticket to benefit the Red Sox Foundation. Raffle prizes include a set of authentic Red Sox World Series rings. The 2004, 2007, and 2013 World Series rings also will be available for fans to try on.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.