Before taking on the Toronto Blue Jays in the finale of a three-game series on Thursday, the Red Sox reinstated right-handed reliever Heath Hembree from the 10-day injured list. In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever Trevor Kelley was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. The club made the transaction official earlier Thursday.
Hembree, 30, had been shelved since June 14th due to an extensor strain in his throwing elbow suffered the night before, when the Red Sox went through all their relievers besides the right-hander, and Josh Smith wound up recording his first career save in a 7-6 win over the Texas Rangers on the 13th.
Sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on July 2nd, Hembree struck out two in a scoreless seventh inning against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. 12 of the 16 pitches he threw Tuesday went for strikes.
On the 2019 season as a whole, the South Carolina native has posted a 2.51 ERA and .189 batting average against through 31 appearances and 28 2/3 innings pitched.
In his last 17 appearances leading to the IL stint, Hembree had only yielded one earned run in his last 15 frames of work dating back to the start of May.
Given the current state of the Red Sox bullpen, Hembree should be a welcomed addition after he missed nearly a month of action.
Kelley, meanwhile, had a big league debut to both forget and remember in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 10-6 victory over Toronto.
Recalled from the PawSox the day before, the 25-year-old surrendered three earned runs on two hits and a walk before picking up his first career strikeout to secure the four-win victory for his side.
First pitch for the Red Sox Thursday is scheduled for 7:07 PM EDT on NESN.