Red Sox claim lefty reliever Brennan Bernardino off waivers from Mariners, transfer Zack Kelly to 60-day injured list

The Red Sox have claimed left-hander Brennan Bernardino off waivers from the Mariners, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon. In order to make room for Bernardino on the 40-man roster, right-hander Zack Kelly was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day injured list.

Bernardino, 31, was designated for assignment by Seattle last Wednesday and has since been optioned to Triple-A Worcester. The lefty made his major-league debut for the Mariners last July and made just two appearances for the club, allowing three runs (one earned) on three hits, two walks, and zero strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings of relief.

A native of California, Bernardino was originally selected by the Reds in the 26th round of the 2014 amateur draft out of Cal State Dominguez Hills. After four years in the Reds organization, Bernardino was released by Cincinnati in July 2018. He then latched on with the Guardians the following February, but was cut loose again shortly thereafter so he could pursue an opportunity in the Mexican League.

After spending parts of three seasons in Mexico, Bernardino returned to affiliated ball when his contract was purchased by the Mariners last June. He made 23 relief appearances for Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma last season and posted a 2.20 ERA with 35 strikeouts to 10 walks over 32 2/3 innings of work.

To begin the 2023 campaign, Bernardino surrendered 11 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits, one walk, and 11 strikeout in his first two outings (six innings) for the Rainiers before losing his spot on Seattle’s 40-man roster last week.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, Bernardino operates with a two-pitch mix that consists of a low-90s sinker and a high-70s curveball. The southpaw should provide the Red Sox with some optionable, left-handed bullpen depth. As things stand now, Richard Bleier is the only lefty reliever on Boston’s big-league roster while Joely Rodriguez (right oblique strain) remains on the injured list.

Kelly, meanwhile, was initially placed on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation on April 13. That came one day after the 28-year-old injured his right elbow in the fifth inning of last Wednesday’s loss to the Rays in St. Petersburg.

Though Kelly was visibly upset as he was taken out of the game, an MRI on Friday apparently revealed no structural damage to his right UCL (ulnar collateral ligament). Because Kelly had an internal bracing procedure on his right elbow in May 2020, though, the Red Sox have sent the results of Friday’s MRI to the physician who performed the surgery for a second opinion.

Regardless of the outcome there, Sunday’s decision means Kelly will not be eligible to be activated until mid-June at the earliest. Kelly becomes the latest player to be placed on Boston’s 60-day injured list, joining fellow reliever Wyattt Mills and infielders Adalberto Mondesi and Trevor Story.

(Picture of Brennan Bernardino: Steph Chambers/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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