The Red Sox won’t count on Hanley Ramirez being capable of playing first base again this year, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Shoulder troubles have persisted for the veteran, relegating him to DH duties. “The potential negatives of him going out and [playing first], at this point don’t outweigh the positives that we get from having his bat in as our DH,” Dombrowski explained. “We just have to maneuver around it.” For the time being, at least, rookie Sam Travis is up to provide a right-handed-hitting option at first along side lefty Mitch Moreland.
The Red Sox have halted rehab work for utilityman Brock Holt, as Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe was among those to report on Twitter. Holt was advised “to shut down from playing for the foreseeaable future” by a head trauma specialist, per the report.
Holt, 28, has already missed significant time with vertigo. It seemed he was nearing a return when recurring symptoms arose, leading to the change in plans. It seems the experts advised a more cautious approach after prior efforts at recovery proved halting.
There’s no timeline at present for Holt’s return; indeed, the entire undertaking seems designed to allow the issues to fully abate before Holt pushes again. As Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald tweets, the plan is to wait until Holt’s “symptoms totally fade.” It’s obviously not possible to know just when that will occur; the focus will surely be on ensuring Holt’s overall well-being before considering how to get him back on the field.
Boston would surely have liked to have Holt available to help out at third base, but instead the club has gone most of the year without the versatile defender. Holt has appeared in just six contests after averaging more than one hundred annually over the past three campaigns. Over that span, he compiled a .274/.335/.381 slash with 13 home runs and 24 stolen bases over 1,325 plate appearances.
Here are the day’s minor moves:
- The Orioles released outfielder Henry Urrutia, per a club announcement. The 30-year-old had been removed from the 40-man roster last year after seeing minimal major league action in 2013 and 2015. Urrutia, who the O’s signed out of Cuba, had struggled to a sub-.500 OPS in seventy plate appearances this season at Triple-A. Through parts of five seasons and over 1,000 plate appearances at the highest level of the minors, he owns a .277/.327/.374 batting line with 13 long balls.
- Outfielder Jeremy Barfield is heading to the Red Sox after his contract was purchased from the indy ball Sugar Land Skeeters, per an announcement from Boston’s Double-A affiliate. Barfield, 28, has spent quite a bit of time in the upper minors with the Athletics and Rockies organizations but has never cracked the major leagues. He was performing well again for the Skeeters early this season, leaving him with a composite .299/.379/.539 batting line in 878 trips to the dish in Atlantic League action since leaving the affiliated ranks in 2015.
The Red Sox will activate lefty David Price to make his season debut on Monday, skipper John Farrell told reporters including Ian Browne of MLB.com (via Twitter). He had spent the early portion of the season rehabbing from an elbow injury.
That’s obviously welcome news for a Boston organization that hasn’t exactly sprinted out of the gates. While the club is in fine position at three games over .500, it sits third in a tightly packed AL East.
The rotation, in particular, has been a source of some consternation. Chris Sale has been every bit as good as advertised, and Eduardo Rodriguez is throwing quite well. But reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello hasn’t been nearly as dominant as he was last year, Drew Pomeranz has struggled, and Steven Wright was knocked out for the rest of the year with a knee injury.
With the plug-in options scuffling in Wright’s stead, Price will be welcomed back with open arms. The expectation had been that he and Sale would make up the best lefty-lefty rotation duo in the game, but his worrying spring injury threw that in doubt. Now, the team will finally see what it has in a complete staff, though all eyes will remain on Price to see how he responds.
After all, the 31-year-old southpaw isn’t just another pitcher. He signed the richest-ever contract for a starter in the 2015-16 offseason, landing with the Red Sox for $217MM over seven years. But the long-time ace managed only a 3.99 ERA in his league-leading 230 frames last year before the elbow injury arose this spring. His return — and his health and effectiveness — are thus of significant importance to the team. (It matters for Price’s bottom line, too; he can opt out after 2018, but will surely only do so if he thinks he could earn quite a bit more money.)
Given the stakes, it’s perhaps a bit surprising that the Sox are moving Price back up to the majors right now. He has thrown only 5 2/3 innings over two starts on his rehab assignment, allowing six earned runs on 12 hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. Perhaps that’s not particularly concerning for a pitcher of Price’s standing, but if nothing else it’ll increase the challenge for managing his workload. Skipper John Farrell acknowledged that he expects to hold Price to a pitch count — that coming by way of Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald, on Twitter — while also saying that he thinks the poor rehab starts were attributable to the veteran shaking off the rust from his long layoff.
Though the Red Sox haven’t lived up to their preseason status as division favorites, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowksi told reporters Tuesday that he doesn’t place the blame for the team’s relatively slow start on manager John Farrell (link via Jen McCaffery of MassLive.com). Dombrowki pointed to the fact that the Sox won the AL East under Farrell’s guidance last season and also noted that injuries up and down the roster are beyond Farrell’s control. Indeed, the team has been without David Price, Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith all season, while injuries to Pablo Sandoval, Brock Holt and now Marco Hernandez have created a revolving door at third base.
That said, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal penned a lengthy column of his own on Farrell’s job security today, noting that while the manager doesn’t necessarily appear to be at immediate risk, there are some Red Sox players that would like to see Farrell defend them more to the Boston media during the team’s struggles. Rosenthal points to the Manny Machado debacle and a more recent dugout altercation with Drew Pomeranz as two instances this season in which Farrell hasn’t looked his best.
Red Sox infielder Marco Hernandez will undergo surgery to repair his injured left shoulder on Friday and is likely to miss the remainder of the regular season, tweets Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Hernandez has been on the disabled list due to a left shoulder subluxation since May 4.
The 24-year-old Hernandez hasn’t solidified himself as a regular big league contributor to this point in his career, but he’s been a useful utility option for the Sox since making his MLB debut last year. In 61 games and 116 plate appearances, Hernandez has batted .284/.328/.349, and he’s logged time at second base, shortstop and third base in the Majors.
[Related: Boston Red Sox depth chart]
Hernandez’s season-ending injury further thins out a depleted third base mix for the Sox. In addition to Hernandez, both Brock Holt and Pablo Sandoval are on the disabled list, leaving Deven Marrero and Josh Rutledge to split third base duties for the time being in Boston. Hernandez will now accrue a full year’s worth of Major League service in 2017, and the ability to move him to the 60-day disabled list will give Boston a bit of flexibility with the 40-man roster.
As for Boston’s third base alternatives, it doesn’t seem that the 28-year-old Holt is especially close to returning to action; Britton also tweeted that the versatile 28-year-old was removed from his rehab assignment due to the fact that he wouldn’t be ready for activation within the requisite 20-game window. He’s being shut down for another five days as he continues to deal with the aftereffects of a concussion. Sandoval, meanwhile, is on a rehab assignment in Triple-A but is out of the lineup today due to illness, per Britton.
- The Red Sox have announced that first baseman Sam Travis has been called up for his first taste of the majors. The team demoted righty Hector Velazquez to create roster space. Travis, 23, missed much of last year with a torn ACL. He has hit well in 139 plate appearances this year at Triple-A, though, slashing .286/.353/.452 with four home runs while taking 13 walk against 24 strikeouts. Travis, a right-handed hitter, was taken in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Indiana University — where he was a teammate of young Cubs outfielder/catcher Kyle Schwarber — and currently rates third among Red Sox prospects in the eyes of MLB.com.
The Padres have claimed infielder Chase d’Arnaud off waivers from the Red Sox, tweets Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. D’Arnaud had been in limbo since the Red Sox designated him for assignment Thursday.
This marks the second time a team has claimed d’Arnaud this season. The 30-year-old ended up with Boston last month shortly after Atlanta waived him. In 11 combined plate appearances with the Braves and Red Sox, d’Arnaud collected four hits and two walks. Also a former Pirate and Phillie, d’Arnaud owns a .233/.289/.314 batting line in 448 major league trips to the plate.
In San Diego, the out-of-options d’Arnaud will join Allen Cordoba and Luis Sardinas as the Padres’ infield-capable reserves. Cordoba has mostly played the outfield this year, though, while Sardinas has slumped to a .163/.226/.163 showing in 53 PAs.
- Red Sox left-hander David Price didn’t last long in his rehab start Friday, so he’ll make at least one more before rejoining the big club, manager John Farrell announced Saturday (via Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald). While Price “feels great physically,” per Farrell, he’s not stretched out to the team’s liking. Price, working his way back from a strained elbow, went two innings and threw 65 pitches in his initial start for Triple-A Pawtucket. That fell well short of the 85- to 90-pitch goal Boston had set for Price, who will take the hill again for Pawtucket on Wednesday.
- With Jhonny Peralta relegated to backup duty in St. Louis, Cafardo wonders if the Red Sox would considering acquiring Peralta to help their shaky third base situation. Given Peralta’s recent injury problems and his .251/.299/.387 slash line (in 341 PA) since the start of the 2016 season, of course, there’s no guarantee that Peralta is necessarily an upgrade. Peralta is also owed around $7.4MM for the remainder of the season, though Cafardo feels the Cardinals would cover “a great portion” of that salary. Cafardo notes that Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski knows Peralta well, having traded for Peralta in 2010 back when Dombrowski was the Tigers GM.
- The Red Sox have been scouting a veteran third baseman in Todd Frazier, and like in a hypothetical Peralta scenario, the White Sox would cover some salary in a trade (Frazier is owed a little under $9MM for the rest of 2017). Also like Peralta, Frazier isn’t in good form, hitting just .191/.280/.357 in 132 PA this season. Frazier has hit 75 homers over the last two years, however, and is a well-regarded clubhouse leader.