Short notches first career knock

Detroit Tigers

There has never been a greater emphasis or value placed on building a strong bullpen than there is right now. And this trio of rookie arms — J.B. Bukauskas, Ryan Hendrix and Garrett Whitlock — were all handed the ball on Friday night for their respective clubs and delivered scoreless outings.

Bukauskas entered the D-backs’ 5-4 loss to the Braves in the sixth inning with his squad already trailing 4-2. The right-hander made quick work of the eight, nine and one hitters in Atlanta’s lineup — retiring the side in order on 10 pitches.

Arizona’s 17th-ranked prospect whiffed Alex Johnson on three pitches before Ehire Adrianza sent a bullet to left that was hit right to David Peralta. Ronald Acuña Jr. worked the count to 2-2 before rolling over an 86.9 mph slider and grounding out to the shortstop.

Bukauskas has yet to yield a run through his first three career appearances, and the 24-year-old has fanned a pair over two innings pitched.

Hendrix made his Major League debut in the sixth inning of the Reds’ 5-4 defeat to the Cardinals, and there were no indications that nerves affected the right-hander. Hendrix came on in relief of Heath Hembree and threw five straight sliders before unleashing his 96.7 mph heater.

The 21st-ranked Reds prospect whiffed Justin Williams on four pitches before getting Tyler O’Neill to fly out to right on a 2-2 slider. Tommy Edman jumped ahead 2-1, but Hendrix responded with a 96 mph fastball that was fouled off and then buried a slider in the dirt that Edman swung over.

Hendrix made three appearances with the D-backs this spring and whiffed four over three frames.

Whitlock continued his impressive start to the year in Boston with 2 1/3 shutout frames in the Red Sox’s 6-5 victory over the Mariners at Fenway Park. The righty was credited with his second hold of the season after working around a hit to retire the side in the sixth on 12 pitches. In the seventh, the 24-year-old set down the side in order with a pair of punchouts.

After yielding a leadoff double to Kyle Lewis in the eighth and issuing a six-pitch walk to Evan White, Whitlock coaxed José Marmolejos into a groundout to first that advanced the runners. The No. 29 Red Sox prospect was promptly lifted for Adam Ottavino who escaped the jam unscathed and kept Whitlock’s line intact.

In five appearances this season, Whitlock has yet to yield a run while allowing five hits and a walk with 14 punchouts over 11 1/3 innings.

More notable performances from rookies on Friday:

Andrew Vaughn, 1B/OF, CWS (MLB No. 12)
The top White Sox prospect notched his first career multi-hit performance on Friday. The 23-year-old lined a base hit to center with two outs in the third before hitting a rocket to left for a base knock in the seventh. Vaughn extended his hitting streak to four straight games and is 5-for-14 with a double and a walk in this span. Gameday »

Yermín Mercedes, C, CWS
Everything just seems to be coming up Mercedes lately. The 20th-ranked White Sox prospect continues to pummel the ball, turning in his sixth multi-hit effort on Friday — second with at least four hits. The 28-year-old finished a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with a double, three RBIs and a run scored. Mercedes’ two-run single in the third capped a five-run frame for the South Siders, and his double to center in the seventh gave Chicago the lead for good. The Dominican native — who has a burger named after him — is now batting .429/.463/.698 through his first 17 career games. Gameday »

Zack Short, SS, DET
After making his big league debut with an at-bat on Wednesday, Short notched his first career hit in his second game on Friday. The 25-year-old came to the plate with one out in the sixth, and quickly fell behind 0-2 to Royals starter Mike Minor. But Short battled back to work the count full, and after fouling off a couple of pitches, the 24th-ranked Tigers prospect connected with the eighth pitch of the at-bat and lined it into left field for a base hit. Gameday »

Adolis García, OF, TEX
The Texas rookie doubled down with a pair of jacks for the Rangers. García cut his club’s deficit to one with a two-run blast to center field with two outs in the fifth. Then in the ninth, with two outs again and the game down to a final strike, García connected with an 88.6 mph hanging slider and crushed it to left for a solo blast. It’s the third multi-hit performance for the 28-year-old in the last four games, and he went yard in each of them. Gameday »

Jazz Chisholm Jr., 2B, MIA
The Marlins’ star rookie found the seats on Friday for his third blast of the season. Chisholm wasted little time as he launched the third pitch of the game — a 2-0 fastball that came in right down the middle — 437 feet at 110.5 mph to give Miami an early lead. The jack also extended the 23-year-old’s hitting streak to three games. Chisholm is sporting a .315/.415/.630 slash line with nine runs scored and seven RBIs this season. Gameday »

Randy Arozarena, OF, TB
The five-tool standout did it all for the Rays on Friday night with a pair of knocks — including a dinger — and an outstanding defensive play in the fifth inning. After literally coming out of left field to make a sensational diving catch in the top of the fifth, the 26-year-old absolutely crushed a 2-0 fastball from Steven Matz and deposited it into the seats in center for a three-run tater. Arozarena also found the gap in right-center for a base hit in the third. It’s his fifth multi-hit effort of the season, second in three games, and puts the Cuban native on a four-game hitting streak, during which he is 7-for-15 with four RBIs. Gameday »

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