The Red Sox acquired Nick Pivetta from the Phillies last August, and they have him penciled in as their No. 5 starter. Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Manager Alex Cora doesn’t want Nick Pivetta to feel like he has something to prove, and it doesn’t sound like the Red Sox right-hander has a chip on his shoulder, either.

The Red Sox traded for Pivetta last August in the deal that sent Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Phillies, and he’s projected to start the season as the No. 5 starter. But after spending four seasons with the Phillies, where he produced a 5.40 ERA while starting only 15 games over 2019 and 2020, the 28-year-old Pivetta isn’t looking back; he’s just focused on his new chance.

“I’m very grateful that the Red Sox wanted me as a starting pitcher,” Pivetta said. “I think I’ve said that before, but that’s really important for me because that’s what I value myself as. I can help a team do that, and I put myself in that position. You just go with it. It’s part of the business, part of the game. You get moved around. It’s just, when a team goes out and gets you and gets some guys and they value you at the position you value yourself at, it’s really important. It’s a really big confidence booster as well.”

Though he gave up a home run in his first start of the spring in the Red Sox’s 14-6 win over the Twins on Wednesday at Fort Myers, Florida, Pivetta is feeling good about himself.

After heading to the alternate site after being traded last season, he made two starts for the Red Sox in the last week of the year and went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 10 innings. That momentum seemed to translate to his work this winter and early this spring training. On Wednesday, his fastball velocity averaged 95 mph and topped out at 96, and he felt good about his pitches.

“I’ve definitely taken a lot of steps forward from when I was at the alternate site to now,” Pivetta said. “I worked really, really hard in the weight room this offseason, worked hard on my mechanics, worked on how I delivered pitches, commanding my pitches better, game-planning better all in all. So I’d say a lot better. I’d say I’m in a really good position right now. I’m feeling really confident.”


Pivetta is excited to be a member of the Red Sox, where he believes he’ll have a chance to contend for a championship. He complemented how well-run the organization is from its coaching and training staffs, which he thinks can help maximize his talent and reach his potential.

“For me, it’s just getting back to my normal self, how I started my career,” Pivetta said. “Just having that confidence, having just my plan and sticking to it and just going out and being myself for the most part. Obviously, the Red Sox have a lot to offer. (Dave) Bush is a tremendous pitching coach and he has a lot of really great knowledge all around the board, so it’s working with him, getting those details fine-lined down and getting ready for the season to compete and do a really good job and help this team really get to where we want to go.”

AFTER A lengthy wait, Hirokazu Sawamura is finally in Fort Myers and pitching.

The Japanese pitcher, who the Red Sox officially signed in mid-February, landed in Florida late last week after visa issues delayed his arrival from Japan. Sawamura had to wait a little longer as he went through intake testing and adjusted to the time difference before joining his new team at the facility Tuesday morning. On Wednesday morning, he pitched for the first time as he completed his first bullpen session in the United States.

“I was so excited, but at the same time I was a little bit nervous,” Sawamura said, via translator Yutaro Yamaguchi.

Sawamura is still adjusting to a new environment, with the weather in Fort Myers seemingly being his biggest change.


“It’s been good weather,” Sawamura said. “Pretty hot. Nice environment, I’ve been loving that. So if I can just get it going with this climate, environment, I should be good to go.”

It’s unclear when Sawamura will pitch in spring training games, but he continued to work out while in Japan, and as a reliever, he shouldn’t need much time to build up. He said he’ll throw another bullpen soon and then talk to pitching coach Dave Bush about what’s next.

“I’m healthy,” Sawamura said. “I’m in good condition. If I can make progress quickly, that would be great.”

Cora already ruled out Sawamura as a closer candidate, but he’ll certainly be a big part of the Red Sox’s plans in the bullpen. The manager, though he was only able to see three pitches of Sawamura’s bullpen session, will take it slow with the 32-year-old pitcher as he adjusts to a new environment and team.

“We told him to just make sure he’s comfortable with the surroundings of where the weight room is, the training room, his locker is somewhere here, I don’t even know which locker he is,” Cora said. “Very likable guy. I remember when we talked to him in the offseason, he was very honest about what he wanted to do, why he wanted to come here. He asked questions. Chaim (Bloom) got some answers. We talked about the bullpen and the city and everything that’s involved to be part of this organization. Very likable. …

“He owes me a bottle of wine because I was in the middle of a mini-vacation, no twins, nobody,” Cora joked. “We were in the mountains in Puerto Rico. Yeah, because of that phone call, I get a bottle of wine from him. I’m waiting for that one, too.”


THE START of the Triple-A season, which was scheduled to begin April 6, will be delayed until early May, according to a report Tuesday by ESPN.

The Worcester Red Sox’s inaugural season is now tentatively scheduled to begin May 4 at Buffalo, with their home opener at Polar Park slated for May 11 against Syracuse, per the schedule on the team’s website. It’s expected that Polar Park will be the location for the Red Sox’s alternate training site during April, as players will train in preparation for the season and stay ready in case they need to be called up to Boston.

BRYAN MATA, Boston’s top pitching prospect, was scheduled to pitch Wednesday but was scratched due to soreness on the backside of his triceps. Cora doesn’t believe it’s serious but he’ll have an MRI on Thursday.

“He’s very important for us,” Cora said. “We’re making sure we slow it down the right way. Hopefully he can get on the mound sooner rather than later.”

WEDNESDAY’S GAME: Bobby Dalbec hit his second and third homers, driving in three runs as Boston beat Minnesota 14-7 at Fort Myers, Florida.

J.D. Martinez had two hits for a second straight game, driving in his first two runs of spring training. Hunter Renfroe hit a three-run double in an eight-run fourth inning.

Jose Berrios allowed one hit in two shutout innings and Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer in his first game. Mitch Garver hit a solo homer.

Comments are not available on this story.