The Red Sox announced Friday morning that they’ve designated right-hander Chandler Shepherd for assignment in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster for catcher Oscar Hernandez, whose contract has been selected from Triple-A Pawtucket. Hernandez will join the active roster in place of catcher Sandy Leon as he departs for paternity leave.
Shepherd, 26, has struggled through a brutal start to his 2019 campaign, pitching to a 10.01 ERA through 29 2/3 inning of Triple-A ball. He’s yielded a staggering 53 hits in that time, including 11 home runs, issued 16 walks and also been tagged for another 10 unearned runs. Shepherd, to his credit, has punched out 30 hitters in those 29 2/3 innings and did turn in a solid 2018 season in Pawtucket when he logged a 3.89 ERA in 129 2/3 innings. Despite this season’s alarming home run woes, he allowed just 13 long balls in 2018.
The 25-year-old Hernandez was the top pick in the Rule 5 Draft back in 2014 but saw only minimal time with the D-backs over the next two seasons and hit .167/.239/.262 in a tiny sample of 47 plate appearances in the big leagues. The defensive-minded backstop has thwarted 43 percent of stolen base attempts against him in his minor league career and has consistently drawn above-average framing marks, but he’s just a .190/.2440/.344 hitter in 431 plate appearances at the Double-A level and a .203/.282/.284 hitter in 225 plate appearances at Triple-A. Lack of production in the upper minors notwithstanding, Boston needs a backup catcher with Leon away from the club for a few days, so Hernandez will return to a big league roster for the first time since 2016.