The Red Sox have called up infield prospect Jeter Downs from Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for Downs on the major-league roster, recently-acquired right-hander James Norwood was designated for assignment, the team announced prior to Monday’s series opener against the Tigers.
Downs, who turns 24 next month, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally acquired the Colombian-born infielder — along with Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong — from the Dodgers in the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles in February 2020.
After spending the entirety of the 2021 campaign with Triple-A Worcester and closing it out in the Arizona Fall League, Downs returned to the WooSox for the start of the 2022 season. Coming into play on Monday, the right-handed hitting 23-year-old was batting .180/.297/.397 (86 wRC+) with six doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 21 RBIs, 35 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 25 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 53 games spanning 222 plate appearances.
Defensively, Downs has seen all his playing time this season come at shortstop. But the 5-foot-11, 195 pounder also has extensive experience at second base and should provide the Red Sox with solid infield depth up the middle while he is up with the club.
According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Downs’ first stint in the majors is expected to be short-lived with both Christian Arroyo (COVID-19) and Enrique Hernandez (right hip flexor strain) slated to return to action before Boston’s three-game series against Detroit comes to an end.
As of Sunday night, the Sox had 14 pitchers and 12 position players on their big-league roster. By Monday, all MLB teams were required to cut the number of pitchers on their roster down to 13. Boston accomplished this by effectively swapping Norwood in favor of Downs.
Norwood, who was acquired from the Phillies in exchange for cash considerations on Saturday, was activated for Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals but did not pitch in the game. The Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or possibly sneak the 28-year-old through waivers and keep him in the organization.
Following Monday’s transaction, the Sox still have 39 players on their 40-man roster. That will increase to 40 once Arroyo is activated from the COVID-19 related injured list.
(Picture of Jeter Downs: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)