Before taking the Minnesota Twins in the first of a three-game series Monday, the Red Sox activated right-hander Hector Velazquez from the 10-day injured list and reinstated right-hander Ryan Brasier from the bereavement/family medical emergency list.
In a corresponding move, both right-handers Travis Lakins and Josh Smith were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room on the 25-man roster. The club made the transaction official earlier Monday.
Placed on the injured list back on May 30th due to a lower back strain, Velazquez has not appeared in a big league game for Boston since the 29th of last month, where he allowed four runs in two innings of relief against the Cleveland Indians.
In a brief one start rehab stint with Short-Season A Lowell this past Saturday, the 30-year-old fanned two and gave up one hit in a scoreless first inning for the Spinners.
On the 2019 season as a whole, Velazquez currently sports a 1-3 record to go along with an ERA of 5.97 and .260 batting average against over 16 appearances, seven of which have been starts. He should resume his role as a potential spot starter or long man out of Boston’s bullpen.
Brasier, meanwhile, has not appeared in a game for the Sox since June 10th after being placed on the bereavement list the following day.
Through 31 relief outings this season, the 31-year-old has surrendered 14 runs (12 earned) on 23 hits and eight walks over 28 2/3 total innings of work. That’s good for a 3.77 ERA and .217 batting average against. But, despite what those numbers say, it’s clear to see that Brasier has been far less effective than he was towards the later parts of the 2018 season.
With two spots needed to be made on Boston’s active roster for Brasier and Velazquez, Travis Lakins and Josh Smith were optioned back down to the PawSox five days after they were both recalled on June 12th.
In what was their third and fourth stints with the Red Sox this season respectively, Lakins, 24, appeared in three games and allowed one run on two hits in 2 1/3 frames of relief, while Smith, 31, picked up his first career major league save and finished two other games despite posting an ERA of exactly 6.00 over three total innings pitched.
This is the first time the Sox have had Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez available at the same time since the beginning of April. Manager Alex Cora has gone as far to say those two were the team’s MVPs last year for the versatility they provided out of the bullpen and rotation when needed.
So, with those two back in the mix, things may be looking up for a Red Sox bullpen that has felt depleted at times in the past few weeks.
First pitch against the Twins is scheduled for 8:10 PM EDT on NESN.