The Red Sox announced this evening that reliever Heath Hembree is going on the 10-day injured list. He’s said to be dealing with a “right elbow extensor strain.”
It had been hoped that the injury wouldn’t force an IL stint, but evidently Hembree is going to need a bit of time on ice to let things heal up. Lefty Josh Taylor will take the open roster spot but won’t be able to step into Hembree’s important setup role.
Hembree has been a key stabilizing force in a Boston bullpen that has had some difficulties at times. He’s through 28 2/3 innings of 2.51 ERA ball thus far on the year.
While his peripherals don’t quite support those results, Hembree is a solid performer by most measures. He owns 11.0 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9. Hembree’s swinging-strike rate sits at 14+% for the third-straight season. So long as he can keep the ball in the yard — the extreme flyball pitcher is allowing 1.26 per nine on a 9.5% HR/FB rate to this point — he ought to be a quality piece.
If Hembree just needs a brief respite, this doesn’t figure to pose much of a problem. The Red Sox can hope to have him back in short order, well in advance of what could be a tricky deadline period. But if his recovery drags, it’ll only add to the bullpen questions — and broader strategic dilemma — that the organization faces this summer.