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Red Sox trade two pitchers to Rays in exchange for No. 13 prospect in Tampa system

Catcher Ronaldo Hernández, 23, has been in the Rays system since 2015.
Catcher Ronaldo Hernández, 23, has been in the Rays system since 2015.Eric Espada/Getty

The Red Sox announced Wednesday that they traded pitchers Jeffrey Springs and Chris Mazza — both recently designated for assignment to open spots on the 40-man roster — to Tampa Bay in exchange for minor league catcher Ronaldo Hernández and another prospect.

Hernández, 23, was recently ranked the No. 13 prospect in the Rays system. He posted impressive offensive numbers from 2016-18, including a .284/.339/.494 line with 21 homers in 109 games as a 21-year-old at Single A Bowling Green in 2018, but saw his numbers dip to .265/.299/.397 with 9 homers in 103 games with High A Port Charlotte in 2019.

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The Sox first scouted Hernández at instructional league this past fall and believe he has real power potential. He’s described as a work in progress behind the plate, but he’s athletic and has a solid work ethic.

The Sox also acquired middle infielder Nick Sogard, a 2019 12th-rounder, in the deal. Sogard hit .290/.405/.313 in his pro debut in the New York-Penn League in 2019.

Sogard doesn’t have much pop in his bat. In three seasons at Loyola Marymount, he hit just two homers — both in his sophomore season. In 262 minor league plate appearances, Sogard has yet to homer, and has just five extra-base hits.

But what Sogard has shown is elite bat-to-ball skills and patience at the plate, striking out just 16 percent of the time during the 2019 season while walking at a 14.9 percent clip. Sogard is the cousin of veteran infielder Eric Sogard, who has played with four teams in his 10-year major league career.

Springs, a 28-year-old lefthanded reliever, had a 7.08 ERA in 20⅓ innings with the Sox last year, but struck out 28 batters and walked seven. He was acquired prior to the 2020 season from the Rangers in exchange for Sam Travis.

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Mazza, 31, went 1-2 with a 4.80 ERA in nine games (six starts), striking out 29 and walking 15 in 30 innings. He’d been claimed off waivers from the Mets following the 2019 season.

Plawecki on COVID list

The Red Sox also announced Wednesday that backup catcher Kevin Plawecki has been placed on the COVID-19 related injured list. Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., Wednesday.

More to come.


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on twitter at @alexspeier.