FORT MYERS, Fla. — Who stopped by one of the backfields to watch Darwinzon Hernandez’s live batting practice Monday at the JetBlue Park complex?

Chris Sale.

Oh, and principal owner John Henry, President Sam Kennedy, Tony La Russa, Manager Alex Cora, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and Steven Wright also stood behind the cage.

Hernandez is one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox organization. The Red Sox added him to the 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.

Hernandez ended the season with the Portland Sea Dogs last season, making five relief appearances. He had a 3.00 ERA in six innings with 10 strikeouts.

The 6-foot-2 lefty, who has upper-90s heat with a nasty slider, recorded a 1.88 ERA (522/3 innings, 11 earned runs), 1.22 WHIP, .209 batting average against, 74 strikeouts and 25 walks in his final 10 starts for High-A Salem during 2018.

“That’s something, we talk about it,” Cora said about Sale watching Hernandez’s live BP. “I know Darwinzon appreciates it.

“And we found out a few things today about Darwinzon with all the equipment out there. I didn’t know about the spin rate for his breaking ball. It’s way up there. That’s cool.

“Just to have Chris and David (Price) paying attention to those guys, that’s what it’s all about. They know these kids are going to contribute sooner or later and be part of the equation. So why not help them out right now and try to speed up their development.”

STARTING PITCHING prospect Mike Shawaryn worked mostly as a reliever during the Arizona Fall League. He posted a 2.13 ERA (122/3 innings, three runs), 1.18 WHIP, .234 batting average against, 15 strikeouts and four walks in eight relief outings and one start.

The Red Sox wanted him to gain experience pitching against top hitters in the AFL. But they also wanted to keep his inning count down after he threw 1491/3 innings during the regular season. So he pitched out of the bullpen.

“And it’s never a bad thing to be able to do both: start and relieve,” Shawaryn told MassLive.com.

Shawaryn, a 2016 fifth-round draft pick out of Maryland, is here in camp as a nonroster invitee. The Red Sox don’t need to add him to the 40-man roster until next November when he’s Rule 5 draft eligible.

The 24-year-old righty combined for a 3.44 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .233 batting average against in 26 games (25 starts) between Double-A Portland (19 starts) and Triple-A Pawtucket (7 outings, 6 starts) in 2018.

Shawaryn will start for Boston in its annual game against Northeastern University on Friday.

“Any chance I get to help the team hopefully contribute to another World Series I’d be more than happy to do,” said Shawaryn, who was 6-8 in 19 starts for the Sea Dogs with a 3.28 ERA. “And you’re kind of seeing that more and more in the game anyways where guys who are starters, especially in the postseason, come back as relievers.

“So just to have that flexibility and to have that experience, too, it can never be a bad thing.”

Cora said Shawaryn and anyone in camp has the ability contribute in 2019.

“I mean, Ryan Brasier contributed last year and he wasn’t even in the conversation here,” Cora said. “That’s the message I’ve been telling them. (Brandon) Workman in 2013 was a big part of the World Series.”

Cora also pointed out how Marcus Walden and Bobby Poyner made the 2018 Opening Day roster after entering spring training as nonroster invitees.

“So everyone’s in play,” Cora said.

“We talked to him about usage, how we can maximize his stuff,” Cora added about Shawaryn. “So it will be cool to see him.”

Shawaryn arguably is Boston’s top depth starter option behind Hector Velazquez and Brian Johnson. And don’t rule out him serving in any type of bullpen role, including as a multiple-inning super reliever.

“It’s always a possibility,” Shawaryn said about making his debut in 2019. “The pitching staff they have up there is pretty great. All those guys are bulldogs and really good guys. So if I get an opportunity, I’m going to make the best of it. But it would definitely be cool to pitch at Fenway this year.”


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