Boston Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez has been placed on paternity leave. Who starts in his place on Tuesday in Toronto?
Congratulations are in order for Eduardo Rodriguez, who is away from the team to welcome the birth of his second child. With E-Rod on paternity leave for a few days, the Boston Red Sox will need someone else to step in for his next scheduled start.
A starter won’t be needed until Tuesday, when the team heads to Toronto to take on the struggling Blue Jays. The Red Sox will take advantage of the open roster spot on Monday be calling up reliever Ben Taylor to add some extra depth to the bullpen.
Taylor was outstanding in his brief stint with the big league club to begin the season, allowing only one run over 5 1/3 innings of relief. The right-hander gave up three hits, three walks and struck out seven. That type of production certainly didn’t warrant a demotion to Pawtucket, but the Red Sox needed to activate Robbie Ross after he recovered from his bout with the flu and Taylor’s remaining minor league options made him the obvious choice to send down.
Taylor also tossed 66 pitches in his last appearance, when starter Steven Wright failed to make it out of the second inning. Taylor stepped up with 3 2/3 innings of mop-up duty that saved the team from burning through the rest of their bullpen. He wouldn’t have been available to pitch again for a few days after that workload, so his heroic efforts turned out to be another factor leading to his demotion. Sometimes baseball isn’t fair.
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The Red Sox are expected to call up left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson to start Tuesday’s game in Rodriguez’ spot. Johnson has allowed only two runs over 10 2/3 innings through two starts in Pawtucket this season. His first outing was cut short when he was struck in the back of the head by a line drive, yet he managed to make his next scheduled start and appears to have avoided any serious damage from a scary situation.
This isn’t the first time Johnson has been hit in the head. He was hit by a line drive in 2012 while pitching for the Class A Lowell Spinners, fracturing several bones in his face. He required season-ending surgery, which thankfully won’t be necessary this time.
Johnson couldn’t dodge that line drive, but appears to have dodged the metaphorical bullet by walking away without serious damage.
The 26-year old only has one appearance at the major league level, which came in 2015. Johnson allowed four runs on three hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Houston Astros. He would make only two more starts that season after being sent back to Pawtucket before the team shut him down with an army injury.
Last year, Johnson went 5-7 with a 3.60 ERA in 19 starts covering three minor league levels. He’s shown some potential during a minor league career that has been interrupted by injuries a number of times. He’s healthy now and looking to give the Red Sox rotation a boost, even if it’s only for one game.
Rodriguez will miss no more than three games for paternity leave, so expect him to make the start the next time his turn in the rotation comes up again.