Red Sox pitcher Darwinzon Hernández recently underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee, the team informed reporters (including Ian Browne of MLB.com). While the club didn’t provide a specific timetable for his return, he’ll be out of action for the foreseeable future.
Hernández hasn’t appeared in the majors this season. The hard-throwing southpaw has spent the whole year on optional assignment to Triple-A Worcester, where he recently suffered the injury. Hernández had technically been working as a starting pitcher with the WooSox, opening seven of his eight appearances. He hadn’t worked more than three frames in any individual outing, though, positioning him as more of a multi-inning relief option for the MLB team.
That’ll be put on hold while he recovers from this procedure. It’s a hit to the Sox’s bullpen depth, as Hernández had been a frequently-used middle innings option for skipper Alex Cora in recent seasons. He tallied a personal-high 40 innings across 48 appearances last year, posting a 3.38 ERA. That solid run prevention mark masked control variability, as Hernández walked a far too high 17% of opposing hitters. That was also the case in 2019, when he walked 17.7% of batters faced over 30 1/3 frames as a rookie.
The 25-year-old has shown high-octane stuff alongside those strike-throwing woes. He averaged a bit north of 95 MPH on his heater and struck out 29.7% of batters faced last season. Both marks were actually down a bit from his 2019-20 numbers, but there’s little question the Venezuela native can miss bats at the MLB level if he’s around the strike zone.
Hernández has been placed on the minor league injured list for now, but he’ll continue to occupy a spot on the Red Sox’s 40-man roster. If Boston wants to remove him from the 40-man while he recovers, they could recall him and place him on the major league 60-day IL. That’d require paying him an MLB salary and allowing him to accrue major league service time, however, so the front office will presumably not make that call before the need for a roster spot becomes acute.