Before opening a three-game series against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday night, the Red Sox placed veteran reliever Richard Bleier on the 15-day injured list due to left shoulder inflammation. In a corresponding move, fellow left-hander Brennan Bernardino was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.
Bleier made his 19th appearance of the season for Boston in Sunday’s 7-0 loss to the Padres in San Diego. Over 1 1/3 innings, the 36-year-old gave up one run on one hit, which came on a solo homer off the bat of the left-handed hitting Matt Carpenter in the bottom of the third.
Following Sunday’s performance, Bleier now owns a 5.85 ERA and 5.44 FIP with 12 strikeouts to three walks across 20 innings of relief in his first season with the Red Sox. While the southpaw has excelled when it comes to getting batters to chase (36.6 percent chase rate) and not giving up free passes (3.4 percent walk rate), he has struggled in other areas.
According to Baseball Savant, Bleier currently ranks in the 10th percentile of all big-league pitchers in expected batting average (.291). He also ranks in the 13th percentile in expected slugging percentage (.498), the seventh percentile in strikeout rate (13.8 percent), the fourth percentile in whiff rate (16.3 percent), the first percentile in fastball velocity (86.9 mph), and the third percentile in fastball spin.
Acquired from the Marlins for Matt Barnes and cash considerations in late January, Bleier was brought in to tame opposing left-handed hitters out of the bullpen. As was the case on Sunday, though, Bleier has not had the best of time against lefties and is actually faring better against righties.
So far, lefties are hitting a stout .429/.467/.786 with one double and three home runs in 31 trips to the plate against Bleier this season. Righties, on the other hand, are batting just .231/.268/.346 with three doubles and one home run over 56 plate appearances.
At this point in time, it remains to be seen if Bleier will require more than 15 days on the injured list. If that is not the case, Bleier will first be eligible to be activated on Tuesday, June 6, when the Red Sox open a three-game set against the Guardians in Cleveland.
Bernardino, meanwhile, is up with Boston for the second time this season. The 31-year-old was optioned to Worcester last Tuesday, but he actually joined the big-league club in San Diego over the weekend as a member of the taxi squad. He was eligible to be called up on Monday since he is replacing an injured player.
Claimed off waivers from the Mariners in mid-April, Bernardino has appeared in 11 games for the Red Sox thus far. In that time frame, the native Californian has pitched to a 3.65 ERA (4.75 FIP) with 10 strikeouts to three walks over 12 1/3 innings of work.
With Bleier going on the injured list, Bernardino joins Joely Rodriguez as the only two lefties available to manager Alex Cora out of the Red Sox bullpen.
(Picture of Richard Bleier: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)