Before opening up a three-game series against the Twins at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, the Red Sox recalled right-hander Tanner Houck from Triple-A Worcester.
In a corresponding move, outfielder Jarren Duran was optioned to Worcester, the club announced earlier Tuesday afternoon.
Houck will make his eighth start and 10th overall appearance of the season for Boston in Tuesday’s series opener against Minnesota. Through nine outings (eight starts) at the major-league level this year, the 25-year-old has posted a 3.12 ERA and 2.54 xFIP to go along with 46 strikeouts and seven walks over 34 2/3 innings pitched.
In his last time out, Houck served as the Sox’ 27th man in last Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Yankees in the Bronx. The righty allowed two earned runs on five hits, zero walks, and two strikeouts in four innings of work during the day cap of the twin bill and was promptly returned to Worcester shortly thereafter.
Under normal circumstances, the Red Sox would have to wait 10 days to recall Houck again, but they took advantage of the fact he was used as the 27th man for a doubleheader to call him back up after just one week.
In order to create a spot for Houck on the major-league roster, Duran winds up getting sent down to the WooSox.
Originally beginning the season with Worcester, Duran earned a big-league promotion during the All-Star break on July 16 after lighting it up against Triple-A pitching.
Making his major-league debut a day later, the speedy 24-year-old has since slashed .221/.236/.372 (56 wRC+) with three doubles, two triples, two home runs, eight RBI, 12 runs scored, one stolen base, two walks, and 33 strikeouts over his first 27 games (89 plate appearances) with Boston.
Despite seeing the ball better lately (.313 batting average going back to August 13), Duran had seen his playing time take a hit in the wake of Kyle Schwarber making his Red Sox debut earlier this month.
With Schwarber making his first start in left field in Monday’s 8-4 win over the Rangers after solely being used as a designated hitter in his first six starts with the team, Duran’s role was essentially reduced as he slid down the outfield depth chart.
By optioning him down to Worcester, the Red Sox ensure that Duran will get more regular playing time and at-bats as opposed to the limited opportunities he was and would be getting at the big-league level.
Duran, who turns 25 in early September, is still regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking tops among outfielders in the organization.
Prior to getting called up in July, the former 2018 seventh-round draft pick was hitting a solid .270/.365/.561 to go along with eight doubles, one triple, 15 home runs, 32 RBI, 37 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 24 walks, and 52 strikeouts across 46 games (219 plate appearances) with the WooSox.
Because Duran is a member of the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, it seems likely that the speedster would be a candidate to re-join the team once rosters expand from 26 to 28 players on September 1.
Of course, the soonest he could be called up again would be next Friday, September 3 (10 days from Tuesday), so there is that to consider as well.
(Picture of Tanner Houck: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)