Boston Red Sox Predictions: Top-5 September call-up options

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Jul 21, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Brian Johnson (61) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Johnson

This prediction is of course dependent on whether or not Brian Johnson is able to work his way back from injury before the season ends. Johnson was placed on the disabled list earlier this month with elbow irritation in the ulnar nerve area, but tests revealed no structural damage to the ligament. While the Red Sox still haven’t provided a timetable for his return, the team appears to be confident that he could pitch again this season.

Prior to his injury, Johnson had been enjoying a fantastic season in Pawtucket. He is 9-6 with a 2.53 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 96.0 innings over 18 starts for the PawSox this season. rates Johnson as the No. 4 prospect in the organization, with his strong season vaulting him ahead of Henry Owens for the top pitching spot.

The lefty made one start for Boston last month, surrendering 4 earned runs in 4.1 innings during a loss in Houston. Johnson actually looked pretty good at times during his debut, retiring 8 straight batters at one point, including striking out the side in the third inning. His outing began to unravel in the 5th as the Astros piled on three runs to knock Johnson out of the game.

The Red Sox may choose to ease Johnson back in by letting him get some work in the bullpen to limit the strain on his elbow. If he is deemed healthy enough to rejoin the rotation, perhaps Boston could move to a six-man rotation down the stretch, which would help limit the innings for fellow rookies Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Next: Deven Marrero