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Red Sox Notebook: Tanner Houck Reveals He’s Unvaccinated, Rich Hill Pitching For Late Father Monday

Red Sox

Boston Red Sox right-handed starter Tanner Houck won’t be able to make his start on April 26 in Toronto against the Blue Jays, as the right-hander revealed to Julian McWilliams of The Boston Globe today that he has not been vaccinated. Manager Alex Cora also revealed that several other players are not vaccinated and will not be able to play as well.

Canada requires you to be fully vaccinated with either two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer, or have one shot against the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“I think it’s a personal choice for everyone whether they get it or not,” Houck told the Globe. “So, that’s all I really got to say on it.”

Cora says the Sox still have several unvaccinated players despite Xander Bogaerts and Christian Arroyo both saying they’re vaccinated in spring training, and with Chris Sale — who revealed last year that he’s not vaccinated — on the injured list. Kevin Plawecki also confirmed he’s vaccinated this spring.

Players who aren’t vaccinated when the team heads to Toronto, including Houck, will be placed on the restricted list. The Athletics just had three players on the restricted list with their recent trip to Toronto, including relievers A.J. Puk and Kirby Snead as well as catcher Austin Allen. It’ll be interesting to see who the Sox choose as their starter in place of Houck — the leading candidate is probably Garrett Whitlock.

Houck is disappointed he’ll be missing a start.

“I’m definitely bummed that I won’t be able to make that start,” Houck said. “But the starts that I am able to make, I plan on giving 100 percent for this team, if not more, so. Anything I can do for this team to help them win, I’ll do it.”

How Josh Taylor did in first rehab outing with Triple-A Worcester 

Josh Taylor (low back strain) began his rehab outing today for the WooSox, serving up a leadoff homer to Roman Quinn on a full count but set down Nick Maton on a popout before Donny Sands grounded out. Taylor ended the outing by punching out Darick Hall.

The left-hander will have four to five more rehab outings for Worcester. The Sox have to have 13 pitchers on the squad by May 1, as the roster will be cut down to 26, and there’s a max of 13 pitchers a team can have on the roster with the current mark being 15. It will have to be three pitchers taken out of the equation, not just two when Taylor comes back.

It’ll also be interesting to see what the team does with Darwinzon Hernandez, who remains in Triple-A Worcester and has done solid but hasn’t been able to avoid walks and hit batsmen — which is what the Sox were trying to do when they assigned him to Worcester at the beginning of the year, and also give him the ability to work between outings. His outings are only three innings on a normal occasion.

Rich Hill to pitch after passing of father this Friday

Lloyd Hill Sr., Rich Hill’s father, passed away this Friday. Instead of heading to the bereavement list, something players often do after the death of somebody close — and as Christian Vazquez and Hunter Renfroe did last season, Hill will pitch on Marathon Monday, the day of the Boston Marathon. Something that Lloyd ran a grand total of 37 times, starting all the way back in 1958.

“I can’t describe how kind he was towards everybody and the way he treated everyone. But also running 37 Boston Marathons was an amazing feat,” Hill told WBZ’s Dan Roche. “We just found that out the other day. I always thought it was in the 20s and then I asked him. And he said, ‘No, we started in 1958.’”

Lloyd was 94 and grew up a Sox fan, for he was a big fan of Ted Williams, Wade Boggs. It’s probably certain he was glad to see his son join Boston for the third time in his career. The right-handed starter says a job is still to be done though.

“He loved the Red Sox,” said Hill. “He loved Ted Williams and Wade Boggs and a lot of the players that came through here and was fortunate enough to watch a lot of games. There’s going to be a lot of emotion tomorrow, but at the same time, there’s a job that has to be done. I know that the task at hand is extremely important. And for my dad, that’s how he would appreciate and what he would want.”

Hill, 42, wants to run a marathon himself in honor of his late father.

“I definitely have to do one,” said Hill. “I have a friend, Mike Ferris, who continues to remind me that he ran two Marathons. So I have to at least get one in. One of these days I will run it, and it will be in honor of my dad and just be there for him and his memory and legacy.”

Cora commented on Rich Hill’s loss.

“He’s in a good place… Obviously, thoughts and prayers to his family,” Cora said. “It’s tough but he’s in a good place. He is. Just go out there and pitch. I know it means a lot to him, to his family, and to us. We’ll be pulling for him as we always do.”

Lloyd, also a Milton native as Rich is, played football at Brown University, an Ivy League Institute, going on to become an All-American and captain before becoming a veteran of the Korean War. He then ended up as a high school principal in Quincy.

“Seeing him at the finish line and grabbing the silver paper or blanket to keep you warm after he was done running the Boston Marathon. Or he would just sometimes take the train home, the Red Line, and come back to Milton,” Hill said with a smile.

“So yeah, it was a lot of emotions, a lot of feelings around Marathon Monday and understanding how much of that meant to him on that day,” he added. “And just the event, I know it’s really special to Boston and the people here in Boston. It’s very unique because it’s a one-of-a-kind thing in the city and here for the state of Massachusetts. So it will be a special day.”

Michael Wacha talks 2013 experience in World Series at Fenway Park vs. Sunday

Michael Wacha made his first start for Boston at Fenway Park, though it wasn’t his first lifetime start at Fenway. The 30-year-old right-hander pitched Games 2 and 6 for the Cardinals as a rookie all the way back in the 2013 World Series, and compared the two opposite experiences.

“Wasn’t getting harassed down in the bullpen and in the dugout and basically on the mound the entire time,” Wacha said. “It was good hearing the cheers on my side for sure.”

Wacha let up just one hit and two walks through five innings, fanning five in Boston’s 8-1 win over Minnesota.

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