FORT MYERS, Fla. — Spring training ends Tuesday and infielder Yu Chang has yet to play a game for the Red Sox. But he remains likely to make the roster for Opening Day.
His is an unusual case.
Chang played for the Guardians, Pirates, and Rays last season before the Sox claimed him off waivers Sept. 12. Chang appeared in 11 games and was released in November. The Sox then signed him to a major league contract Feb. 16.
Chang at that point was preparing to play for Taiwan in the World Baseball Classic and remained with that team. He was 7 of 16 with two homers and eight RBIs over four games and was named MVP of Pool A.
“I enjoyed the whole tournament,” Chang said via translator Mickey Chang, one of the minor league coaches. “I felt good in the box.”
Taiwan was eliminated on March 11, but Chang did not arrive at Fenway South until Friday because of a visa issue. In the interim, Chang worked out with his high school team in Taichung and with his personal trainer.
“I felt nervous waiting for a visa to come back to me,” Chang said. “There aren’t too many games, but I’ll be ready to go.”
Chang is likely to be in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Twins at JetBlue Park.
“The idea is to get him as many at-bats as possible,” manager Alex Cora said.
Chang has experience at all four infield positions over his four seasons in the majors but has hit only .213 over 196 games. The Sox feel he can be a helpful player off the bench.
The alternative would be Bobby Dalbec, a first baseman who has played more innings at third base and shortstop in camp.
“The Red Sox stayed in touch with me,” Chang said. “I felt like they showed interest so I decided to come back.”
Kenley Jansen was back in the clubhouse and “feeling a little bit better” after leaving Friday night’s game because of dizziness.
“I was just out of it. It’s not smart to keep pitching in spring training games when you’re kind of blacking out,” he said before returning home to rest.
Cora said the plan is for Jansen to pitch on Sunday, which seems optimistic.
Jansen had issues with atrial fibrillation in 2011, 2012, 2018, and 2022. He had ablation procedures to address the issue following the ‘12 and ‘18 seasons.
This latest incident, Jansen said, was not related to his heart. He speculated it might have been dehydration on a hot night or some type of illness.
“There’s no concerns about the other stuff that happened in the past,” Cora said.
Whitlock making progress
Garrett Whitlock pitched 3⅓ innings and threw 63 pitches to Connor Wong in a Double A game at Fenway South. He allowed three runs on four hits and struck out three with one walk.
Matt Wallner, a well-regarded Twins prospect, hit a two-run homer off Whitlock. They first faced each other in 2017 when Whitlock was at Alabama-Birmingham and Wallner played for Southern Miss.
“I’m stretching out and throwing all my pitches,” said Whitlock, who had hip surgery in September and was brought along cautiously at the beginning of camp. “It’s nice to feel like myself again. That’s just the biggest thing.”
Whitlock is scheduled to pitch five innings for Triple A Worcester in its home opener on Friday. The likely plan is for him to make two minor league starts before being activated off the injured list and going into the rotation.
Paxton faces hitters
Lefthander James Paxton threw an inning of live batting practice. His next step will be pitching two innings in a minor league game on Wednesday, then building up from there. He will open the season on the injured list and could be ready by late April … Decisions are coming due on the three Red Sox righthanders selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Thaddeus Ward has pitched well for the Nationals and is likely to make the team. Noah Song has not pitched for the Phillies because of a back injury and will open the season on the injured list. Andrew Politi has impressed the Orioles and may have a spot with reliever Mychal Givens dealing with a knee injury. If a Rule 5 pick does not make the team or is taken off the roster during the season, he goes on waivers and if unclaimed must be offered back to his original team. In Song’s case, he would have to spend 90 days on the active roster.
Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.