Sept. 10: Motter was not claimed on waivers and has been assigned outright to Triple-A Worcester, the Red Sox announced Friday
Sept. 7: The Red Sox announced a series of roster moves before this evening’s game against the Rays. Utilitymen Kiké Hernández and Danny Santana were both reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list. To open active roster space, outfielder Franchy Cordero was optioned to Triple-A Worcester while infielder Taylor Motter was designated for assignment.
Hernández was the first player on the Red Sox to test positive amidst the recent viral spread that has affected a sizable chunk of the roster. He’s also the first player to return from that group, and he’ll take his customary place atop the lineup this evening. Signed over the offseason to a two-year deal, Hernández has put together one of the better seasons of his career in his first year in Boston. The 30-year-old owns a .258/.346/.465 line over 483 plate appearances.
Motter was claimed off waivers from the Rockies last Thursday to bolster the infield depth with Hernández, Santana, Xander Bogaerts and Yairo Muñoz all on the COVID IL. He’ll lose his roster spot after just three games with a couple of the original options returning. While internal players selected as COVID replacements can be bumped from the active and 40-man rosters without being made available to other teams, those acquired from outside the organization (like Motter) still need to stick on the 40-man or be exposed to waivers.
While Motter hasn’t gotten much of a big league look this season, he posted fantastic numbers with the Rockies’ top affiliate in Albuquerque. Over 265 plate appearances with the Isotopes, Motter hit .335/.460/.759 with 24 home runs and matching strikeout and walk rates (18.5%). That strong showing — coupled with his positional versatility — could pique the interest of another club once he lands on waivers.
While the Red Sox have begun to get some players back from the COVID IL, it wasn’t unanimously positive news on that front. Starting pitcher Nick Pivetta, who landed on the IL last Sunday, has tested positive for the virus, manager Alex Cora revealed to reporters (including Alex Speier of the Boston Globe). The positive test will keep another key player for Boston out of action for at least the next week-plus. The Red Sox enter play tonight holding a three-game advantage over the Blue Jays and Mariners in the American League Wild Card race.