Jarren Duran will not be the only fresh face joining the Red Sox in New York, as the club is also planning on calling up right-hander Tanner Houck ahead of Thursday’s series opener against the Yankees in the Bronx, according to WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche.
Houck, 25, opened the 2021 season in Boston’s starting rotation and posted a 4.35 ERA and .806 OPS against over three outings (two starts) and 10 1/3 innings pitched across two separate stints with the team, the second of which concluded after he yielded three runs over 4 1/3 frames as the 27th man in the first game of a doubleheader against the White Sox on April 18.
Since then, the lanky righty had to be shut down for approximately six weeks beginning in early May after experiencing flexor muscle soreness in his throwing arm, but was able to return to the mound for Triple-A Worcester on June 17.
In the five starts he has made with the WooSox since returning to action last month, Houck has put up a 4.50 ERA and 3.28 FIP to go along with 22 strikeouts to seven walks over 18 total innings of work.
At the moment, how the Red Sox plan on using Houck is unclear. As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the former first-round pick could be used as a starter, a multi-inning reliever out of the bullpen, or a hybrid-type who is capable of doing both when needed.
That being said, Sox manager Alex Cora did hint earlier this month that Houck’s role with the club during the second half of the season was going to be a multifaceted one.
“He’ll be versatile,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) back on July 1. “We’ve been talking about a few things. After the All-Star break, how are we going to do this? And where or how are we going to use him? Where and how are we going to use everybody else understanding that we’re going to play all those games in a row against division rivals. And we don’t have an off day until August 2.
“So we’ll stretch him out,” added Cora. “That’s the most important thing. And then we’ll decide how we’re going to use him. But versatility is something that might come into the equation and he might fit that bill.”
For the Red Sox to add both Duran and Houck to the major-league roster, a series of roster moves will need to be made.
While Houck is already on Boston’s 40-man roster, the same cannot be said for Duran, so a spot will need to be created there for the speedy outfield prospect.
Additionally, Cotillo notes that Marwin Gonzalez is likely headed to the injured list after the veteran utility man re-aggravated his right hamstring on Sunday.
Reliever Austin Brice, who was added back to the 40-man roster on Saturday, meanwhile, is a candidate to be designated for assignment in order to open up a spot on the 40-man for Duran, though that is just pure speculation at this point.
(Picture of Tanner Houck: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)