Who should be Nick Pivetta's replacement in Red Sox rotation?

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Nick Pivetta brought the electricity for the Boston Red Sox in his first two starts of the 2024 campaign.

But the Red Sox recently announced Pivetta needs a stint on the injured list. The pitcher has a flexor strain in his throwing elbow, one of the latest blows in a barrage of pitcher injuries throughout MLB.

Luckily for Boston, Pivetta's injury doesn't appear to be season-ending. Before their Opening Day game at Fenway Park on April 9, chief baseball officer Craig Breslow said the Red Sox expect Pivetta to be back in the lineup after his 15-day IL stint that began on April 6. Given Boston's recent string of bad luck when it comes to injuries, this is great news. However, flexor strains tend to lead to something more severe and we can rule out the injury being more problematic.

Fifteen days on the sidelines means Pivetta could miss 2-3 starts if all goes according to plan with his recovery. Kutter Crawford will start in Pivetta's stead on April 10, but the Sox will need to find someone to fill in for Crawford or Houck in the back end of the rotation.

Red Sox starting pitching depth without Nick Pivetta

Cooper Criswell could be a good option for the fifth starter spot. He was in contention for the Opening Day roster and starting rotation until the end of spring training when the final rosters were released. Over 10.1 innings in Triple-A, Criswell has pitched to a 0.87 ERA, struck out nine batters, and allowed eight hits, one run and three walks. Criswell's command may be a bit shaky, though, as he's hit three batters over two starts.

The Sox could also go with Chase Anderson in a starting role. The majority of Anderson's pitching experience came as a starter, however, his ERA has ballooned later in his career in a starting role.

Anderson has pitched well in long relief for Boston. In two three-inning appearances, Anderson has pitched to a 3.00 ERA and collected two saves. He's fanned four batters, walked one and allowed one run.

The Red Sox acquired former Nippon Professional Baseball pitcher Naoyuki Uwasawa from the Rays just before the regular season started. The 30-year-old got off to a rough start in spring training and racked up a 31.50 ERA after his first outing. His average declined in the rest of his spring training outings but it still sits at an inflated 13.03.

Uwasawa participated in an extended spring training and was activated by the Woo Sox on the morning of April 10. He started in the club's outing in Syracuse later that same day.

It's too early for the Red Sox to call up Richard Fitts, one of the organization's newest pitching prospects. Fitts was acquired in the Alex Verdugo trade, and after one start of 4.1 innings, the right-hander's ERA still sits at zero.

Criswell is probably the best option to fill Pivetta's vacancy as of now. He's started hot in Triple-A, and knowing the Red Sox's luck with pitcher injuries, it would be a good idea to get him some big-league experience in the early goings of the season. Anderson has pitched well in relief and Boston's new-look pitching has worked so well that it's likely best not to shuffle the staff around too much.

If Pivetta's injury is actually as mild as the Red Sox claim, fans could see him in action again as soon as soon as April 21. Boston's pitching depth is good enough to fill in for him with confidence in the meantime.

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