The Boston Red Sox made a couple of unexpected roster moves Thursday, placing Xander Bogaerts and Matt Barnes on bereavement leave.
A rain out couldn’t have come at a better time for the Boston Red Sox.
Thursday’s series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates has been pushed back a week due to inclement weather in Boston, buying the Red Sox some extra time to get some of their missing players back. Mookie Betts, Brock Holt and Robbie Ross missed last night’s thrilling extra-innings affair with flue like symptoms and may not have been available if there had been a game today. Now the team is down two more players.
The Red Sox are expected to place shortstop Xander Bogaerts on the bereavement list tomorrow. Players on bereavement are required to be out at least three days and a maximum of seven, meaning Bogaerts won’t be available to rejoin the team until Monday when the team finishes their four-game series in Detroit.
Marco Hernandez will be recalled from Pawtucket to take his place on the 25-man roster. The 24-year old is capable of filling in at multiple infield positions, including shortstop, third base and second.
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He made a strong case for making the Opening Day roster after a scorching spring in which he hit .377 with a 1.105 OPS, only for the Red Sox to pass him over for Steve Selsky because of his ability to play first base. A backup at the position became a need entering the season with Hanley Ramirez‘ shoulder preventing him from taking the field.
Joining Bogaerts on the bereavement list is reliever Matt Barnes. The roster move was made prior to when today’s rain out was announced, which makes Barnes eligible to return on Sunday.
Barnes has been called upon out of the bullpen in each of the first two games this season. His first outing in relief of Rick Porcello was a bit shaky, as he allowed both inherited runners to score. He bounced back with a clean inning last night and has yet to have a run charged to him over 1 2/3 innings.
The Red Sox have called up Noe Ramirez to take his spot on the roster. Ramirez may have been needed if today’s game hadn’t been rained out, given the bullpen logged five innings of work in last night’s 12-inning contest. With the day off, the team’s relievers should be well rested entering the weekend series against the Tigers. They may be able to get by the next two games without needing Ramirez unless it’s for mop-up duty. The right-hander posted a 4.66 ERA and walked six batters over 9 2/3 innings this spring.
While Boston still has a number of key pieces on the disabled list, their Opening Day roster should be back to full strength by the end of the weekend. Until then, it’s up to other players to step up.