Boston Red Sox set 25-man roster for 2018 Opening Day

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with Mookie Betts #50 after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros during game four of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 09: Andrew Benintendi #16 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with Mookie Betts #50 after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros during game four of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 9, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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The Boston Red Sox have trimmed their roster down to the 25 players they will carry with them to Tampa Bay for Opening Day.

The Boston Red Sox have set their roster for Opening Day. The team made several roster moves on Monday that allow us to figure which 25 players they will take to Tampa Bay to face the Rays on March 29.

Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez were placed on the 10-day disabled list. Steven Wright also joined them on the DL, although he wasn’t a candidate for the roster given he still has a suspension to serve.

Right-hander Brandon Workman was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Right-hander Justin Haley was reassigned to minor league camp.

That leaves the following players who have earned a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Starting PitchersChris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Hector Velazquez, Brian Johnson

Relief PitchersCraig Kimbrel, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, Joe Kelly, Carson Smith, Bobby Poyner, Marcus Walden

CatchersChristian Vazquez, Sandy Leon.

InfieldersHanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland, Eduardo Nunez, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Blake Swihart, Brock Holt.

OutfieldersJ.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi.

Martinez will serve primarily as the designated hitter, yet counts as an outfielder and is expected to see some time in both corner outfield spots this season.

Swihart can serve as a third catcher in addition to his role covering various infield positions. He’s also a capable corner outfielder. That Red Sox bench has no shortage of versatile options between Swihart and Holt. Toss Nunez in that mix as well once Dustin Pedroia returns from the DL to reclaim his role as the starting second baseman.

The Red Sox had to dig deep into their starting pitcher depth chart due to a string of injuries depleting the rotation. Velazquez and Johnson are merely placeholders until Pomeranz and Rodriguez return.

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The surprise additions are Poyner and Walden. Neither is currently on the 40-man roster, although the Deven Marrero trade does open a spot for one of them. Placing Marco Hernandez on the 60-day disabled list would open another spot to squeeze both relievers on the roster.

The 25-year old Poyner has never pitched above Double-A in his career. He tossed 38 1/3 innings for Portland last year, converting 9 of 10 save opportunities. It was starting to appear as if the Red Sox would start the season without a lefty in the bullpen given the struggles of Robby Scott and Roenis Elias, plus the need for Johnson in the rotation. Poyner’s brilliant spring (0.87 ERA) changed their minds.

The 29-year old Walden split time between the rotation and bullpen in Triple-A Pawtucket last year. He went 10-6 with a 3.92 ERA in 29 appearances, including 15 starts. He posted a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings this spring.

The Red Sox will have some tough decisions ahead once Pedroia and their injured starting pitchers are ready to be activated. A few of these players will inevitably lose their roster spots, perhaps before we make it through the end of April.

Next: Over/Under on Red Sox projections

Boston’s roster may look drastically different by the end of the season but this is what they are starting with.

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