The Red Sox announced a number of moves before tonight’s series opener with Oakland. Infielder Yu Chang is back from the 60-day injured list and starter James Paxton returned from paternity leave. In corresponding moves, infielder David Hamilton was optioned while reliever Kaleb Ort was placed on the 15-day injured list due to right elbow inflammation. Boston designated reliever Ryan Sherriff for assignment to create a 40-man roster spot for Chang’s return.
Chang has been down since late April after fracturing the hamate bone in his wrist. He’s expected to assume the primary shortstop role now that he’s healthy, at least until Trevor Story is able to return from the internal brace procedure on his elbow. Chang steps back into the starting lineup tonight, hitting ninth against A’s southpaw Sam Long.
Boston has used a revolving door at shortstop in Story’s absence. They haven’t found any kind of consistency. Boston shortstops have hit .214/.284/.328 on the season. They’re 25th in on-base percentage and 28th in slugging. Chang contributed to those offensive struggles, hitting only .136/.174/.341 through 47 trips to the plate. He has a modest offensive track record at the big league level, but the Sox will hope he can at least stabilize things defensively.
Hamilton had picked up 10 starts at the position since receiving his first big league call a few weeks ago. The 25-year-old infielder hit .138/.265/.207 to begin his career. He’ll head back to Triple-A Worcester, while Chang’s return pushes Sherriff off the roster entirely.
Boston signed Sherriff to an offseason minor league contract and selected his contract two months ago. The left-hander made five big league appearances, allowing two runs in 6 2/3 innings. He’s now up to 51 MLB frames over parts of five seasons, putting together a 3.53 ERA despite a middling 18.5% strikeout rate.
Sherriff has had a decent season in Worcester, allowing 2.82 earned runs per nine while fanning just under 26% of opposing hitters. He’d unfortunately been on the minor league injured list since late June and was reinstated yesterday. The Sox will have a week to trade him or put him on waivers.