Before opening up a three-game weekend series against the Orioles at Fenway Park on Friday night, the Red Sox activated first baseman/outfielder Kyle Schwarber from the 10-day injured list.
In order to make room for Schwarber on the major-league roster, utility man Marwin Gonzalez has been designated for assignment, Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) earlier Friday afternoon.
Schwarber, who Boston acquired from the Washington Nationals last month in exchange for pitching prospect Aldo Ramirez, will start at designated hitter and bat out of the six-hole in his Red Sox debut on Friday.
The 28-year-old slugger initially sustained a right hamstring strain while with Washington on July 2, resulting in him being placed on the 10-day injured list a day later.
Prior to getting injured, Schwarber was in the midst of a career year for the Nationals, as he had slashed .253/.340/.570 to go along with nine doubles, 25 home runs, 53 RBI, 42 runs scored, 31 walks, 88 strikeouts, and one stolen base over 72 games (303 plate appearances) while being named to his first-ever All-Star team.
In the month of June alone, the left-handed hitter clubbed 16 of his 25 homers, 12 of which came over a 10-game stretch from June 19 through June 29.
While a member of the Nationals, Schwarber exclusively played left field, which has essentially been his primary position throughout his big-league career.
That being said, the Sox acquired the 6-foot, 229 pounder with the idea that he could play some first base — in addition to left field and designated hitter — as well.
Despite the fact that he suffered a setback in that he experienced some left groin tightness while working his way back from his strained hamstring, Schwarber was in line to make a rehab appearance for Triple-A Worcester at Polar Park on Thursday.
That game for the WooSox in which they were slated to take on the Syracuse Mets wound up getting rained out, but those at the major-league level — including Cora and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom — must have felt as though Schwarber would be good to go on Friday regardless based off the way his workouts have gone.
Taking all those points into consideration, Schwarber, donning the No. 18 for his new team, will make his Red Sox debut against the Orioles on Friday night.
Gonzalez, meanwhile, winds up getting designated for assignment in order to create a space for Schwarber on Boston’s 26-man major-league roster.
The 32-year-old switch-hitter originally signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Red Sox in late February, but could never really find his footing at the plate.
Despite the fact he made at least one appearance at every defensive position besides catcher and center field, Gonzalez posted a dismal .202/.281/.285 slash line with 14 doubles, two home runs, 20 RBI, 25 runs scored, three stolen bases, 19 walks, and 70 strikeouts over 77 games (271 plate appearances) in his time with Boston.
By designating Gonzalez for assignment, the Red Sox cleared a 26-man roster spot for Schwarber as well as a spot on the 40-man roster, which will likely be used when left-hander Chris Sale is activated from the 60-day injured list ahead of his start against Baltimore on Saturday.
On top that, Boston now has seven days to either trade, release, or waive Gonzalez. Assuming the versatile veteran out of Venezuela clears waivers, he will more than likely decline an assignment to Worcester and instead elect free agency.
Update: The roster moves have been made official.
(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)