The Red Sox are going to designate left-hander Austin Davis for assignment before Monday’s game against the Twins in Minnesota, according to The Athletic’s Chad Jennings.
Davis, 29, has posted a 5.47 ERA and 3.95 FIP to go along with 61 strikeouts to 29 walks over 50 appearances (three starts) spanning 54 1/3 innings of work for the Red Sox this season.
Boston originally acquired Davis from the Pirates in the trade that sent Michael Chavis to Pittsburgh last July. Red Sox manager Alex Cora frequently turned to the lefty reliever during the latter half of the 2021 season and that remained to be the case this year.
To begin his first full season in Boston, Davis produced a solid 2.16 ERA and 3.46 FIP with 36 strikeouts to 16 walks across his first 31 outings (two starts) and 33 1/3 innings pitched through July 7. He was putting up those numbers while holding opposing hitters to a .202/.309/.294 slash line against.
Since July 8, however, Davis has struggled to the tune of a 10.71 ERA with 25 strikeouts to 13 walks in his last 19 appearances (one start) and 11 innings. He allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits, one walk, and one punchout over two innings of relief in Sunday’s 12-4 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park.
Davis, who turns 30 in February, is out of minor-league options. The Red Sox will have the next seven days to either outright or release the Arizona native. If he clears waivers, however, Davis could reject an outright assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency since he has already accrued more than three years of big-league service time.
By designating Davis for assignment, the Red Sox have created an opening on both their 26- and 40-man rosters. It remains to be seen how they will fill those spots, though they are required to carry 13 pitchers until rosters expand on Thursday.
If the Sox elect to fill Davis’ vacancy with a reliever who is already on the 40-man roster, Darwinzon Hernandez and Kaleb Ort are potential options who are currently with Triple-A Worcester. Tyler Danish was just optioned to Worcester on Sunday so he can not be called back up for the next 15 days unless he is replacing an injured player.
If Chaim Bloom and Co. look beyond the 40-man roster for Davis’ replacement, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier reports that there is ‘a good chance’ right-hander Zack Kelly gets called up to replace Davis in the bullpen.
Kelly, 27, has spent the last two years in the Red Sox organization after signing a minor-league deal with the club last January. In 44 appearances for the WooSox this season, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound hurler has pitched to a 2.72 ERA (2.81 FIP) with 72 strikeouts to 25 walks across 49 2/3 innings of work.
(Picture of Austin Davis: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)