The Red Sox announced a set of roster moves prior to their doubleheader with the Orioles today, and as expected, right-hander Josh Winckowski was added to the roster as the 27th man. Winckowski is slated to make his Major League debut when he starts the second game of the doubleheader. In other moves, Hansel Robles was placed on the 15-day injured list, and Hirokazu Sawamura was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, while right-handers Ryan Brasier and Phillips Valdez were called up from Triple-A.
Robles is battling back spasms and hasn’t pitched since May 22 (his IL placement is retroactive to the 25th). In an inconsistent season for the Red Sox bullpen, Robles has emerged as a closer candidate, recording two saves and recording a 2.65 ERA over 17 innings of work. However, the secondary metrics aren’t impressed with Robles’ work — his strikeout rate is only 16.2%, and Robles has benefited from a .188 BABIP.
Sawamura has a solid 3.60 ERA over 15 innings this year, and his demotion is likely less a reflection of his performance than it is about restocking the bullpen with some fresher arms. After pitching in three of the last four days, Sawamura will likely get a short breather in Triple-A before being called back up to Boston in a few days’ time. Brasier (6.28 ERA) and Valdez (6.10) have each struggled at the big league level this year, and will get another chance to turn things around as the Sox continue to look for reliability late in games.