A Boston Red Sox bullpen that has struggled so far this season lost one of their few bright spots when Bobby Poyner was placed on the 10-day disabled list.
The Boston Red Sox announced on Thursday that they have placed left-handed reliever Bobby Poyner on the 10-day disabled list with a strained hamstring.
Right-handed pitcher Marcus Walden has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Poyner’s roster spot. Walden was scheduled to start for the PawSox on Thursday but will instead take on a bullpen role with the big league club.
Poyner was quickly establishing himself as one of the feel-good stories of the season. The 25-year old was a surprise addition to the 25-man Opening Day roster. He had no previous experience above Double-A yet his stellar spring convinced the Red Sox to put him in their bullpen to begin the season.
The lack of lefties in the bullpen was presumed to be a factor in the decision to include Poyner on the roster. However, the Red Sox have hardly relegated him to a lefty-specialist role. Poyner has been utilized as much as any reliever on the roster, making six appearances and tossing seven innings through the first 11 games of the season.
Poyner has been effective in those opportunities. He’s allowed two runs to produce a solid 2.57 ERA while striking out eight batters with only one walk.
The breakout season will be put on hold for at least 10 days with Poyner landing on the DL. It’s unclear at this time if he’ll be sidelined longer than that.
Boston’s struggling bullpen can’t afford to be without Poyner for long given that he’s been one of their best relievers. Only Craig Kimbrel has performed better than Poyner so far. The trio expected to set up for the closer – Matt Barnes (5.79 ERA), Carson Smith (7.71 ERA) and Joe Kelly (7.71 ERA) – have been brutal.
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The Red Sox have only lost twice this season and the bullpen faltered in both cases. A meltdown from Kelly and Smith spoiled a stellar Opening Day start from Chris Sale.
While the box score will show David Price was tagged with last night’s loss, the bullpen had plenty to do with it. Price was pulled after only one inning due to feeling a “sensation” in his left hand. Essentially, he lost feeling in his fingers and couldn’t control the ball, which explains why he was lit up for four runs in the shortest start of his career.
Price put the Red Sox in an early hole but Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka wasn’t sharp either, coughing up six runs in five innings. Boston’s offense produced enough to rally back from the rough start but the bullpen couldn’t keep the Yankees off the board.
Poyner was responsible for one of the runs in his two innings of work against the Yankees. Aside from that, he’s been solid out of the bullpen.
For a reliever few fans were familiar withÂ two months ago, Poyner has carved out a vital role for himself. Now the Red Sox will be forced to patch together a bullpen without one of the few relievers who has been successful this season.