Red Sox Use Mercy Rule After Garrett Richards' 23-Pitch 1st Inning vs. Braves

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 1, 2021

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Garrett Richards throws in the first inning during a spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Monday, March 1, 2021, in Fort Myers, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

A new spring training rule saved the day for Boston Red Sox starter Garrett Richards.   

Richards threw 23 pitches, loading the bases and walking in one run in his first start of spring training before manager Alex Cora called the inning, invoking a mercy rule that allows a manager to end the frame after 20 pitches without factoring in the outs or runners on base. 

"Obviously, you want to finish it and you want to you want to make all the outs that your outing requires," Richards said, per an Associated Press report. "So, yeah, it was a little frustrating."

Ending the inning early worked as Richards came back out to retire the side in order in the second inning. Boston still fell to the Atlanta Braves, 5-3, committing four errors in the process.

Richards is entering his 11th season in MLB, having joined Boston off a 2-2 season with the San Diego Padres. He amassed a 4.03 ERA in his first complete campaign after 2018 Tommy John surgery.