Red Sox roster moves: Hirokazu Sawamura, Austin Davis activated; Brad Peacock, Stephen Gonsalves returned to Triple-A Worcester

Before opening up a pivotal three-game series against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on Monday, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, right-handed reliever Hirokazu Sawamura was activated from the COVID-19 related injured list, while left-handed reliever Austin Davis was activated from the paternity leave list.

Secondly, right-hander Brad Peacock and left-hander Stephen Gonsalves were both returned to Triple-A Worcester to make room for Sawamura and Davis on the major-league roster.

The Red Sox made these transactions official earlier Monday night. They also reinstated righty Eduard Bazardo from the 60-day injured list and optioned him to Worcester.

Sawamura rejoins the Sox after initially testing positive for COVID-19 while the club was in Tampa Bay in the final days of August. At that time, he was the fifth player on the team to return positive results since their outbreak began in Cleveland on Aug. 27.

Upon his quarantine period coming to an end, the 33-year-old — who is vaccinated against coronavirus — traveled with the Red Sox to Chicago for their weekend series against the White Sox and even threw a bullpen session at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday.

On Monday, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo tweeted that Boston would be making Sawamura available to reporters ahead of the series opener against Seattle, indicating that he would indeed be activated.

In his first season with the Red Sox, Sawamura has posted a 3.09 ERA and 5.35 FIP to go along with 54 strikeouts to 29 walks over 50 relief appearances spanning 46 2/3 innings of work. The Japanese hurler last pitched in a game on August 28, as he did not require a rehab assignment.

Davis, on the other hand, returns to the Red Sox bullpen after being placed on paternity leave over the weekend.

Acquired from the Pirates in exchange for Michael Chavis ahead of the July 30 trade deadline, the 28-year-old southpaw has put up a 4.61 ERA, but much more respectable 3.38 FIP, with 14 strikeouts to six walks in 14 outings (13 2/3 innings pitched) since making his Boston debut on July 31.

In activating Davis, the Sox gain yet another left-handed bullpen option alongside the likes of Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, and Martin Perez, who is expected to be reinstated from the COVID IL himself on Tuesday.

With Sawamura and Davis back in the fold, the Red Sox returned another pair of hurlers to Worcester in the form of Peacock and Gonsalves.

Peacock had just been sent back to the WooSox on Saturday when Connor Seabold was called up to make his major-league debut, but remained on Boston’s taxi squad before having his contract selected once again on Sunday after Phillips Valdez was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on account of a positive test.

That being said, it’s safe to assume that the 33-year-old righty will remain with the Red Sox in Seattle as part of the taxi squad in the event that they need to add another pitcher for the final leg of this road trip.

Gonsalves, meanwhile, had his contract selected from Worcester on August 31 — when both Taylor and Sawamura were added to the COVID-related IL.

The 27-year-old lefty made his Red Sox debut that very same day and appeared in three games for the club, allowing a total of two earned runs on two hits, two walks, one hit batsman, and four strikeouts over 4 1/3 total innings in that stretch.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Phillips Valdez on COVID-19 related injured list after reliever tests positive for virus; Brad Peacock selected from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed reliever Phillips Valdez on the COVID-19 related injured list after the right-hander tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday.

In a corresponding move, fellow righty Brad Peacock had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced shortly before the start of Sunday’s series finale against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Valdez becomes the 12th Red Sox player to test positive for COVID-19 since their outbreak began a little more than two weeks ago on August 27. He also becomes the 10th player the club has out on the COVID-related IL, joining the likes of Christian Arroyo, Jonathan Arauz, Yairo Munoz, Jarren Duran, Martin Perez, Matt Barnes, Hirokazu Sawamura, Chris Sale, and Danny Santana.

Santana, like Valdez, tested positive this weekend as both Dominican nationals will now have to quarantine at the team’s hotel in Chicago.

Boston did just get Nick Pivetta from the COVID IL to start Sunday’s game against Chicago, but lose a potential relief option in Valdez for the time being.

At the moment, it’s unclear if Valdez is vaccinated against COVID-19, which could determine how much time he is forced to miss depending on if he exhibits any symptoms.

Through 28 appearances out of the Red Sox bullpen this season, the 29-year-old has posted a 5.85 ERA and 4.66 FIP to go along with 35 strikeouts to 19 walks over 40 innings of work across three separate stints with the club.

With Valdez entering into a quarantine period on account of his testing positive, the Sox quickly selected the contract of Peacock from Worcester.

The 33-year-old righty had just been returned to the WooSox on Saturday when Connor Seabold was called up to make his first career big-league start, but remained on Boston’s taxi squad and is back up already.

Acquired from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations on August 30, Peacock has allowed a total of nine runs — all earned — on six hits (two home runs), three walks, and three strikeouts in two outings spanning 5 1/3 innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 15.19.

(Picture of Phillips Valdez: Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

Red Sox call up pitching prospect Connor Seabold for major-league debut Saturday; Brad Peacock returned to Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday night, the Red Sox recalled right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Brad Peacock was returned to Worcester to make room for Seabold on the active roster, the club announced earlier Saturday afternoon.

Seabold, 25, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 12 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking sixth among pitchers in the organization.

The right-hander will make his major-league debut and first career start in Saturday’s contest against the White Sox, as he was one of four players who traveled with the Red Sox to Chicago as part of the team’s taxi squad.

Nick Pivetta was originally in line to get the start on Saturday, but has since had to be scratched from that outing on account of testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

That being said, Pivetta will be able to make his return to the mound and start in place of Chris Sale, who also recently tested positive for coronavirus, in the finale of this three-game weekend series on Sunday.

While Pivetta will take over for Sale on Sunday, Seabold will essentially take over for Pivetta on Sunday.

The Red Sox originally acquired Seabold and Pivetta from the Phillies in a trade that sent relievers Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree to the Phillies last August.

The 25-year-old was added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft and was also invited to major-league camp earlier this spring, but had the start of his 2021 season pushed back by approximately 2 1/2 months due to right elbow inflammation.

After a brief rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League, Seabold made his debut for Worcester on July 23. He has posted a 3.67 ERA and 4.17 FIP to go along with 44 strikeouts to 13 walks over eight starts spanning 41 2/3 innings of work for the WooSox since then.

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, the California-born righty operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 91-93 mph fastball that tops out at 95 mph, a deceptive 80-82 mph changeup, and an 83-85 mph slider, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report.

Considering the fact that his most recent start for the WooSox came on September 4, it’s safe to assume that Seabold — who will be wearing the No. 67 — will be plenty stretched out for his big-league debut later Saturday night.

With the addition of Seabold to the major-league roster, the Red Sox returned a veteran in the form of Peacock to Worcester.

Boston picked up the 32-year-old in exchange for cash considerations in a minor trade made with the Indians late last month.

Peacock appeared in two games for the Sox, making his first start for the club in their bout against the Rays on August 31 and being used out of the bullpen exactly one week later.

As he makes his way to Worcester, Peacock will look to provide the Red Sox with experienced starting rotation and bullpen depth for the final few weeks of the regular season.

Prior to getting traded, Peacock put up a 7.68 ERA and 5.16 xFIP in addition to 38 strikeouts and 14 walks over 11 appearances (10 starts) and 34 innings pitched with Triple-A Columbus after signing a minor-league pact with Cleveland in June.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Katie Morrison/MassLive)

Red Sox rally comes up short in 8-5 loss to Rays as team’s COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow

The road trip from hell rolled on for the Red Sox at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night.

In addition to having two more players — Hirokazu Sawamura and Xander Bogaerts — testing positive for COVID-19, the Sox committed two errors and fell to the Rays by a final score of 8-5, marking their third consecutive loss.

Matched up against Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough to begin things on Tuesday, Bogaerts actually got the Red Sox on the board first, as he followed up a two-out double from J.D. Martinez by ripping an RBI single to right field to give his side an early 1-0 lead.

Bogaerts was, however, removed from this contest in the middle of the second inning after his latest test came back positive, and it all started to go downhill for Boston from there.

That being the case because Brad Peacock, who was just acquired from the Indians on Mondy, got somewhat roughed up for five runs — all of which were earned — on two hits, two walks, one hit batsman, and zero strikeouts over 2 1/3 innings of work in his first start with the Red Sox.

After needing just seven pitches to get through a scoreless bottom of the first, Peacock served up a solo home run to Randy Arozarena with one out in the second inning, thus allowing the Rays to even things up at one run apiece.

The veteran right-hander did manage to get out of the second, but ran into some more trouble in the bottom half of the third when he issued a leadoff walk to Kevin Kiermaier and plunked Francisco Mejia.

A mental mistake and poor throw from Alex Verdugo on a fly ball to center field off the bat of Brandon Lowe allowed both of those runners to advance an additional 90 feet, and Peacock promptly loaded the bases with one out by walking Nelson Cruz.

Rookie sensation Wander Franco broke the 1-1 stalemate and brought in two of those runners on a hard-hit single to right field that was corralled by Hunter Renfroe, but Renfroe’s throw back to the infield got past Bobby Dalbec, which subsequently allowed both Kiermaier and Mejia to score as opposed to just Kiermaier. Dalbec was charged with a fielding error as the Rays went up on the Sox, 3-1.

Franco’s go-ahead hit also marked the end of the line for Peacock, who got the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora while leaving runners at second and third base with one out in the third. The 33-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 48 — 25 of which were strikes.

In relief of Peacock, left-hander Stephen Gonsalves, just selected from Triple-A Worcester, officially closed the book on Peackock’s night by allowing both runners he inherited to score on a wild pitch and Austin Meadows RBI single.

Gonsalves then plunked Arozarena to put runners at first and second, and Yandy Diaz took full advantage of that by blooping a softly-hit, 73.7 mph two-run double in between Yairo Munoz and Renfroe in right field.

Kiermaier proceeded to strike out on a foul tip to end the inning, but the damage had already been down since the Red Sox suddenly found themselves in a 7-1 hole.

To his credit, Gonsalves — in what was his first major-league outing in nearly three years — tossed two additional scoreless frames to keep the deficit at six runs through the end of the fifth.

Kyle Schwarber trimmed that deficit to five runs at 7-2 by crushing his 28th homer of the season off Yarbrough to lead off the top of the sixth, but Tampa Bay responded by getting that (unearned) run back off Phillips Valdez on an HBP, Dalbec fielding error, and sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the frame.

Valdez managed to keep the Rays off the scoreboard in the seventh and eighth innings, while Rafael Devers pushed across another run as he collected his 97th RBI of the year in the top half of the eighth.

Devers’ run-scoring single made it an 8-3 game in the eighth. In the ninth, after Schwarber and Martinez made things interesting with a pair of run-scoring singles, it came down to Devers.

Matched up against Rays closer Andrew Kittredge, Devers came up to the plate representing the tying run with two outs and runners at first and second. He fanned on four pitches to cut the rally short as 8-5 would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 75-59 on the season while dropping 10 full games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East. Boston began the month of August trailing Tampa Bay by just 1/2 a game for the top spot in the division.

Tuesday’s defeat also wraps up a disappointing August in which the Sox went 12-16, marking the first time this season they finished a month with a losing record.

Next up: Sale vs. Rasmussen to begin September

The Red Sox will turn to ace left-hander Chris Sale on Wednesday night as they look to put an end to this three-game skid and start the month of September on a positive note. Rosters on Wednesday will expand from 26 players to 28 players for the remainder of the season.

Wednesday will mark Sale’s fourth start of the season since returning from Tommy John surgery on August 14. It also represents his toughest test thus far considering the opponent he will be going up against.

The Rays, meanwhile, will send right-hander Drew Rasmussen to the hill as they go for yet another series victory over their division rivals.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Cora: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Hunter Renfroe, select Brad Peacock and Stephen Gonsalves; Josh Taylor and Hirokazu Sawamura placed on COVID-19 related injured list

Before taking on the Rays at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night, the Red Sox made yet another flurry of roster moves as they continue to battle against a COVID-19 outbreak.

First off, relievers Josh Taylor and Hirokazu Sawamura were placed on the COVID-19 related injured lists, while right-hander Raynel Espinal was returned to Triple-A Worcester.

Secondly, right-hander Brad Peacock and left-hander Stephen Gonsalves were both selected to the major-league roster, while outfielder Hunter Renfroe was activated from the bereavement/family medical emergency list.

The Red Sox announced all of these moves earlier Tuesday evening.

Taylor and Sawamura become the fifth and sixth Sox players to be placed on the COVID-19 related injured list since last Friday, as they join the likes of Enrique Hernandez, Christian Arroyo, Matt Barnes, and Martin Perez.

Hernandez tested positive for the virus on Friday, while Arroyo — who was initially identified as a close contact of Hernandez’s — tested positive for the virus on Sunday. Both Hernandez and Arroyo, as well as strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose, who tested positive on Sunday, remain quarantined in Cleveland.

Barnes and Perez, meanwhile, both tested positive for COVID-19 in St. Petersburg on Monday, as did quality control coach Ramon Vazquez.

Because of those two being placed on the COVID-related IL, Taylor — as well as first base coach Tom Goodwin — was identified as a close contact and has been placed into a mandatory quarantine at the team hotel. Sawamura, on the other hand, tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

Per MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, “Sawamura, Barnes, Pérez, Vázquez, Goodwin and Taylor will be forced to stay in St. Petersburg until they are cleared.”

Espinal, who was selected to Boston’s 40-man roster in the wake of Barnes and Perez going on the COVID IL, was returned to Worcester after making his major-league debut in Monday’s 6-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

The 29-year-old right-hander allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk over two innings of relief on Monday night. He will remain with the Red Sox as part of their taxi squad.

Turning to the additions the Sox made to their big-league roster now, Renfroe was activated from the bereavement list after leaving the team on Thursday following the death of his father.

Renfroe, also 29, was able to clear the necessary COVID-19 protocols and is starting in right field and batting leadoff in Tuesday’s contest against the Rays.

Peacock, just acquired from the Indians for cash considerations on Monday, will make his first career start for the Red Sox on Tuesday. The 33-year-old righty had posted a 7.68 ERA across 11 appearances (10 starts) and 34 innings pitched at Triple-A Columbus this season, but had been pitching better in the month of August.

Finally, we arrive at Gonsalves, who — like Espinal on Monday — was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster for the first time this year on Tuesday.

Originally claimed off waivers from the Mets last July, Gonsalves was once regarded as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball during his time with the Twins organization.

Through 17 appearances (10 starts) with the WooSox this season, the 27-year-old left-hander has put up a 4.97 ERA and 4.96 xFIP to go along with 92 strikeouts to 50 walks over 67 total innings of work.

Gonsalves will wear the No. 78 with Boston, while Peacock will wear the No. 44.

Following Tuesday’s series of transactions, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster now sits at 37 players.

(Picture of Hunter Renfroe: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Brad Peacock to make first start for Red Sox against Rays Tuesday night

Just one day after being acquired from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations, Brad Peacock will make his first career start for the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

Peacock, who Boston acquired from Cleveland on Monday afternoon, made the trek to St. Petersburg and presumably cleared the necessary COVID-19 protocols in order to start Tuesday’s contest against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

Prior to being traded on Monday, the veteran right-hander originally signed a minor-league contract with the Indians in late June and was subsequently assigned to the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Columbus.

In 11 appearances (10 starts) for the Clippers, Peacock posted a 7.68 ERA and 5.16 xFIP to go along with 38 strikeouts to 14 walks over 34 total innings of work dating back to June 30.

August has, however, proven to be a better month for Peacock as a whole, as the 33-year-old hurler put up a much more respectable 4.22 ERA and 4.27 FIP in five starts this month. That includes an outing this past Friday in which he allowed three runs on five hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work against Triple-A Memphis.

Given the fact that he will be working on just three days rest, it’s likely Peacock will not have the longest of leashes in what will be his first major-league appearance since last September on Tuesday night.

Originally selected by the Nationals in the 41st round of the 2006 amateur draft, the Florida native has spent the bulk of his big-league career with the Astros, where he played a key role as a member of their World Series-winning team in 2017 as both a starter and reliever.

After primarily serving as a reliever in 2018 and again as a hybrid-type in 2019, Peacock was limited to just three appearances in 2020 on account of right shoulder soreness that ultimately required arthroscopic surgery last October.

That soreness kept Peacock sidelined through April, but the righty now appears ready to contribute at the big-league level once more. Per Baseball Savant, the -foot-1 and 207 pounder operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, slider, changeup, curveball, and four-seam fastball.

In 83 career major-league starts, Peacock owns a lifetime 4.04 ERA and .727 OPS against over 432 total innings pitched. Tuesday will mark his first-ever start at Tropicana Field.

The Red Sox should be able to add Peacock to their 40-man roster without clearing a space for him given all the COVID-19 difficulties the club is currently going through.

(Picture of Brad Peacock: Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Red Sox muster just 6 hits in quiet 6-1 loss to Rays

After taking a steady amount of blows off the field leading up to the start of an important four-game series against their division rivals, the Red Sox were knocked down by the red-hot Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday night.

In the wake of adding two more players — relievers Martin Perez and Matt Barnes — to the COVID-19 related injured list, the Sox mustered all of six hits as they fell to Tampa Bay by a final score of 6-1 to kick off the week.

Nick Pivetta, making his 26th start of the season for the Sox on Monday, was forced into a struggle right away when he served up a leadoff home run to Brandon Lowe on his very first pitch of the contest in the bottom of the first inning.

That homer proved to set the tone for what would be a grind of a night for Pivetta, as the right-hander allowed a total of four runs (all earned) on six hits and five walks to go along with six strikeouts over five-plus innings of work.

After falling behind early, though, the Red Sox lineup was able to answer back with a home run of their own in their half of the second. While matched up against Rays starter Luis Patino, Bobby Dalbec stayed hot by scorching a 397-foot solo shot to deep left field that left his bat at over 114 mph.

Dalbec’s 18th homer of the season — and seventh in his last 15 games — pulled Boston back even with Tampa Bay at one run apiece, but the Rays bats prevailed off Pivetta in the third and never had to look back as a result.

Following a leadoff walk of Lowe to begin things in the third inning and a wild pitch that allowed Lowe to advance to second base, Pivetta issued a two-out, run-scoring single to Austin Meadows, thus giving the Rays a brand-new, 2-1 lead.

In the fourth, Pivetta ran into some two-out trouble once again, this time giving up a hard-hit double to Kevin Kiermaier, but following that up by getting Mike Zunino to strike out on a slider in the dirt.

Zunino was, however, able to reach first base safely since said slider eluded Christian Vazquez behind the plate, and the inning continued. This, in turn, led to Lowe hitting an RBI infield single over the head of Dalbec that pushed across Kiermaier to make it a 3-1 game.

Pivetta did manage to work his way around a two-out double and intentional walk in the fifth and came back out for the sixth, but was unable to record an out after surrendering a leadoff single to Kiermaier that was followed by a walk of Zunino.

That sequence led to Pivetta getting the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, but the righty’s night was not officially done yet since he left a pair of runners on base for newly-inserted reliever Hansel Robles out of the Boston bullpen.

Robles proceeded to load the bases by issuing a walk of his own, then got Nelson Cruz to hit a soft grounder to Rafael Devers at third, but it was one in which Devers bobbled, which allowed Kiermaier to score from third to give his side a 4-1 edge.

With that, Pivetta’s night was done. The 28-year-old hurler finished his evening having thrown 108 pitches — 66 of which were strikes. He was also hit with his seventh loss of the season while raising his ERA on the year to 4.67.

Robles, to his credit, did manage to retire the next three battters — Wander Franco, Meadows, Yandy Diaz — in order to strand the bases loaded and keep the deficit at three runs.

That being said, the Red Sox offense could not do much against Patino, nor the Rays’ bullpen.

After Patino came out with two outs and a runner on in the sixth, J.P. Feyereisen came on, got Dalbec to fly out to right field to end the inning, then struck out a pair in a scoreless top half of the seventh.

Raynel Espinal, who was selected from Triple-A Worcester earlier in the day, made his major-league debut for the Sox in the bottom of the seventh. The 29-year-old rookie looked sharp in his first inning of work, a 1-2-3 frame at that, but surrendered a two-out, two-run single to Franco in the eighth that gave the Rays a commanding 6-1 lead.

On the other side of things, Pete Fairbanks punched out Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez in order in the top half of the eighth, while Adam Conley induced a game-ending double play off the bat of Vazquez that sealed a disappointing 6-1 defeat for the Sox.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 75-58 on the season and are now nine games back of the Rays for first place in the American League East with 29 games remaining in the regular season. They do, however, remain two games ahead of the Athletics for the second American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: TBD vs. Yarbrough

The Red Sox have yet to name a starter for the second game of this four-game series against the Rays on Tuesday, though it seems likely they could go with veteran right-hander Brad Peacock — who they acquired from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations on Monday.

The Rays, on the other hand, will turn to left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who has allowed a total of 19 runs (16 earned) in three outings (two starts) spanning 12 innings of work against the Red Sox so far this season. That’s good for an ERA of 12.00.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)