Before opening up what is now a three-game series against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday night, the Red Sox made a flurry of roster moves.
First off, outfield prospect Jarren Duran was selected to the major-league roster from Triple-A Worcester. In order to create room for Duran on both the 26-man and 40-man rosters, right-handed reliever Austin Brice was designated for assignment.
Secondly, utility man Marwin Gonzalez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain. The beginning of his stint on the injured list was backdated to July 13. To fill Gonzalez’s spot on the major-league roster, right-hander Tanner Houck was recalled from Worcester
The Red Sox made all these transactions official earlier Friday evening. Their 40-man roster is now full.
Duran, 24, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking tops among outfielders in the organization.
Selected by the Red Sox in the seventh round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Long Beach State (Calif)., the left-handed hitter opened the 2021 minor-league season with Triple-A Worcester, where he has slashed .270/.365/.561 with eight doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, 32 RBI, 37 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 24 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 46 games spanning 219 trips to the plate.
While Duran, who turns 25 in September, is not in the Sox’ starting lineup for Friday’s contest, he will likely join the likes of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts as top Red Sox outfield prospects to make their major-league debuts at Yankee Stadium.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, Duran will wear the No. 40, which was last worn by former infielder Marco Hernandez.
As for Brice, the right-hander wound up getting designated for assignment in order for the Red Sox to clear a spot on their 40-man — and subsequently their 26-man — roster for Duran.
Brice, 29, opened the 2021 campaign in Boston’s bullpen, but was designated on May 21 after getting off to a rough start in which he posted a 6.94 ERA and .867 OPS against over 12 appearances spanning 11 2/3 innings of work.
After clearing waivers and being outrighted to Worcester on May 25, Brice found success with the WooSox, as he put up a miniscule 1.20 ERA in 12 games (15 innings pitched).
That decent run resulted in the righty earning a promotion back to Boston on July 10, though he appeared in just one game for the big-league club this time around and allowed one run on two hits over two innings in an 11-2 loss at the hands of the Phillies on July 10.
In designating him for assignment once again, the Red Sox will have seven days to either trade, release, or outright Brice if he clears waivers.
Turning to the second installment of Friday’s roster moves, Marwin Gonzalez was placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to July 13) after re-aggravating and straining his right hamstring in Sunday’s loss to the Phillies.
The versatile 32-year-old sustained the injury while running out a groundball in the second inning of that contest, resulting in him being replaced by Bobby Dalbec at first base in the top half of the third.
Because his stint on the injured list was backdated to July 13, the soonest Gonzalez could be activated is next Friday, July 23, though it certainly seems as though the switch-hitter could very well miss more than the minimum 10 days.
While Jarren Duran essentially takes Gonzalez’s place on the roster in terms of position player-to-pitcher composition, it’s right-hander Tanner Houck who literally takes Gonzalez’s spot on the major-league squad.
Houck, 25, last pitched for the Red Sox on April 18 after beginning the year in the club’s starting rotation and later making a spot start during a doubleheader against the White Sox.
In his three outings (two starts) with Boston this season, Houck — who made his big-league debut last September — posted a 4.35 ERA, a 2.39 FIP, and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 12:1 over 10 1/3 total innings of work.
Upon being optioned to Triple-A Worcester in late April, however, the right-hander was forced to miss approximately six weeks of action after experiencing flexor muscle soreness in his throwing arm during his first start of the year for the WooSox on May 4.
Following a lengthy shutdown period, Houck was able to return to the mound for Worcester on June 17 and pitched to the tune of a 4.50 ERA and 3.28 FIP while striking out 22 and walking 18 in five starts (18 innings pitched) between then and the time he was called up on Friday.
The Red Sox plan on using Houck in a hybrid role in which the lanky righty will both start and pitch out of the bullpen when needed. The former first-round pick’s first start of the second half will come against the Blue Jays in Buffalo next Wednesday.
(Picture of Jarren Duran: Boston Red Sox)