The Red Sox have placed right-hander Brayan Bello on the 15-day injured list due to a left groin strain. Boston also optioned righty Kaleb Ort to Triple-A Worcester, with recently-acquired first baseman Eric Hosmer and relievers Matt Barnes and Darwinzon Hernández taking the active roster spots. Barnes is back from the 60-day injured list. He takes the 40-man roster spot of Jackie Bradley Jr., who was released this morning.
Bello left yesterday’s outing against the Astros after suffering the groin issue. The strain is apparently significant enough to keep him out of action for at least a couple weeks, thinning Boston’s rotation depth. One of the club’s top pitching prospects, Bello has made his first five MLB appearances (three starts) this season. He’s been tagged for an 8.47 ERA through 17 innings, but he’s averaging north of 97 MPH on his heater and has induced ground-balls at a huge 65.5% clip.
The Sox have been forced to lean on Bello a bit in recent weeks, as they were concurrently without Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill and Michael Wacha due to injury. Sale will be out for a while due to a finger fracture, but the Sox recently welcomed back Eovaldi and Hill. Wacha is set to toss a four-inning rehab start today, as Chris Cotillo of MassLive relayed yesterday (Twitter link). That suggests he’s likely to be back with the big league club relatively soon, perhaps next week.
Barnes has been out since the end of May with inflammation in his throwing shoulder. The two-month absence capped what had been an awful start to the season for the veteran righty, who has struggled since signing a two-year contract extension last July. He owns a 7.94 ERA across 17 innings on the season, striking out a personal-worst 17.3% of opponents against an untenable 14.8% walk rate. It’s possible the shoulder soreness played a role in that production, however. Manager Alex Cora figures to work Barnes back in lower-leverage situations, but he’s only a year removed from functioning as a key late-game option. Getting Barnes anywhere close to his previous level would be a key boost for a Boston team that ranks 24th in bullpen ERA (4.21).