The Boston Red Sox plan to activate left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez and catcher Christian Vazquez for the weekend series in Chicago.
The first of September affords MLB teams the opportunity to expand from 25 players up to the full 40-man roster. The Boston Red Sox will take advantage by activating a pair from the disabled list.
Eduardo Rodriguez is expected to be activated on Saturday in time to face the Chicago White Sox. The lefty has been sidelined since mid-July by a gruesome ankle injury. He’s been deemed ready to return to action after striking out 14 batters over eight scoreless innings between two rehab starts with Double-A Portland.
The Red Sox will also welcome back Christian Vazquez on Saturday. The 28-year old has been on the shelf since early July with a fractured pinkie finger. He began a rehab assignment with Portland on Monday, going 1-for-2 with three RBI and a run scored.
Getting Rodriguez back in the rotation will provide a much needed boost for a pitching staff that is still missing its ace. He’s been Bostons’ second-best starter behind Chris Sale. Rodriguez is 11-3 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 9.46 K/9 this season.
E-Rod was rolling on the mound up until the point he rolled his ankle attempting to cover first base. He tossed 17 scoreless innings with 16 strikeouts and only four walks over his last three starts prior to landing on the DL. If his dominant rehab starts are any indication, Rodriguez is ready to pick up where he left off.
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The role of Vazquez is less clear. He opened the season as the clear cut top catcher on the roster but was already losing his grip on his status as a starter before the injury.
Vazquez has been abysmal at the plate, batting .213/.249/.300 in 60 games this season. Sandy Leon hasn’t been any better with the bat but his outstanding defense and rapport with the pitching staff has earned him the right to shoulder the majority of catching duties.
Claiming the backup job is no sure thing either. Blake Swihart is swinging the bat well, hitting .256 with a .700 OPS since the break. He’s also been better than advertised behind the dish, proving to be a more than capable option at the catcher position.
The expanded rosters is September will open a spot for Vazquez but playing time could be scarce. Once the postseason begins, Vazuqez could be on the outside looking in.
The Red Sox have been struggling of late but reinforcements are on the way. By waiting until next month, Boston avoids making any difficult decisions about who to jettison from the active roster. There’s plenty of room for everyone in September.