NEW YORK — Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier was struck in the head with a line drive Friday during a simulated game in Fort Myers. Manager Alex Cora said Brasier got hit in the temple area but is stable. Nevertheless, the righthander was hospitalized and will be monitored for the next 24 hours.
“I actually had texted with him not too long ago,” Cora said Friday before Friday’s 5-2 win in the series opener vs. the Yankees. “Obviously [he’s] not happy. We’re going to have more information throughout the day and then tomorrow. I just asked you guys to pray for him and your thoughts for his family.”
Brasier suffered a left calf strain in March. The team planned on sending him on a rehab assignment next week, but those plans have changed.
“It’s been a tough four or five months for him,” Cora said. “We put baseball out of the equation and there’s another human being and we just want him to be healthy.”
Workman makes debut
Brandon Workman made his season debut Thursday by closing out the Sox’ 5-1 win vs. the Astros in Houston. Workman struck out two in the ninth inning but did allow a Yuli Gurriel solo shot to left.
Workman struggled to find his footing after he was traded to the Phillies last summer, posting a 6.92 ERA in just 13 innings with the club. He followed that up this season with a 6.75 ERA in eight innings with the Cubs before he was released.
“I just was in some bad mechanical habits,” Workman said Thursday. “I wasn’t on the ball the way I needed to and then it kind of snowballed on me a little bit. I feel like I made an adjustment toward the end, but then the 60-game season was over. And I didn’t really have time to right the ship once I got that far off track.”
Despite averaging just 92.1 miles per hour on his four-seam fastball for his career, Workman’s velocity — which dipped in 2020 and this year with the Cubs — is important. It helps dictate the success of his curveball. Additionally, Workman’s cutter is important to his mix, but was eliminated from his arsenal last season. The Red Sox plan on having him utilize that cutter again this year.
“I think it changes the eye level of the hitter,” Cora said. “It’s that vertical attack. But then when you got something away from that, it gives you more options as a pitcher. And he can get swings and misses. He can induce people to weak contact.”
Benintendi deal completed
The Andrew Benintendi trade is finally complete. The Red Sox announced they have acquired minor league righthanders Luis De La Rosa and Grant Gambrell from the Royals, in addition to minor league outfielder Freddy Valdez from the New York Mets as the players to be named later in the Feb. 10 trade that sent Benintendi to Kansas City. De La Rosa, 18, pitched 38⅔ innings in the Dominican Summer League in 2019. He fanned 52 batters and posted a 2.33 ERA in that span. Gambrell, a third-round draft choice by the Royals in 2019, has a 4.37 ERA this year in 22⅔ innings of work in High A. Valdez, 19, hit .274/.367/.448 with six homers in 2019 between the Dominican Summer League and rookie ball during 2019 . . . Michael King took the ball for the Yankees in Friday’s series opener. King, a 12th-round pick by the Marlins in 2016, played at Boston College . . . Cora said he has been in touch with Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, whose team took a 2-1 lead in their playoff series against the New York Islanders with Thursday’s overtime win. “They asked me for suggestions for a few things in the playoffs,” Cora said. “And we go back and forth. We give each other ideas. And the more time you spend in the city and working here, you become fans of the teams that you’re surrounded by. I don’t know much about hockey, but I’m pulling for the Bruins.” . . . Team USA beat Canada, 10-1, in Friday’s Olympic qualifier. Jarren Duran was 3 for 5 with a double, triple, two runs scored, and an RBI. Triston Casas was 1 for 4 with a double, RBI, and a run. Team USA’s next game is Saturday (7 p.m.) vs. Venezuela.