Red Sox acquire veteran reliever Hansel Robles from Twins in exchange for pitching prospect Alex Scherff

The Red Sox have acquired veteran reliever Hansel Robles and cash considerations from the Twins in exchange for pitching prospect Alex Scherff, the team announced Friday afternoon.

Robles, who turns 31 on August 13, posted a 4.91 ERA and 4.82 FIP to go along with 43 strikeouts and 24 walks over 45 relief appearances spanning 44 innings of work for Minnesota this season.

The right-hander, formerly of the Mets and Angels, signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Twins back in December and has converted 10 of a possible 12 save opportunities so far this year, though he has struggled to the tune of a 9.64 ERA in 10 outings (9 1/3 innings) in the month of July alone.

Per Baseball Savant, Robles operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a four-seam fastball, changeup, slider, and sinker. He has averaged 96.7 mph with his four-seamder — his go-to pitch — in 2021, which ranks in the 91st percentile among all major-leaguers.

Since he is on a one-year deal, Robles is essentially a rental since he can become a free agent at the end of the season. In the meantime, the Dominican-born righty will join a Boston bullpen mix that includes the likes of Matt Barnes, Adam Ottavino, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Yacksel Rios, Hirokazu Sawamura, and Austin Davis (more on him later).

Scherff, meanwhile, becomes the second intriguing pitching prospect the Red Sox have had to part ways with along with Aldo Ramirez — who was sent to the Nationals in exchange for All-Star outfielder Kyle Schwarber late Thursday night.

Originally selected by the Sox in the fifth round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Colleyville Heritage High School (Colleyville, Texas), the 23-year-old began his pro career as a starter but has since been converted into a reliever.

After opening the 2021 campaign with High-A Greenville and posting a 2.78 ERA and 2.73 FIP over 17 appearances and 22 2/3 innings, Scherff earned a promotion to Double-A Portland on July 6.

In six outings spanning 6 2/3 innings pitched with the Sea Dogs, the young right-hander allowed just two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts.

At the time he was traded, Scherff was regarded by SoxProspects.com as the No. 53 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He is also eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter, so the Red Sox create some more roster flexibility in dealing him away since they were unlikely to protect him, or in other words, add him to their 40-man roster by November 20.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: David Berding/Getty Images)

Red Sox manage just 5 hits in 9-1 defeat to Yankees, marking third straight series loss

For the third straight time dating back to before the All-Star break, the Red Sox won the first game of a series and followed by dropping the next two contests, as they fell to the Yankees by a final score of 9-1 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night.

After starting the season with seven wins in seven tries against their division rivals, the Sox have lost their last two to the Bronx Bombers and a scored a total of two runs in those defeats.

Martin Perez made his 19th start of the season for Boston on Sunday, and he ran into some early trouble shortly after tossing a 1-2-3 first inning.

That being the case because Gleyber Torres greeted the veteran left-hander by crushing a leadoff home run off him to begin things in the bottom of the second before back-to-back one-out singles in the third resulted in another New York run crossing the plate on an RBI groundout off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton.

The Yankees added on to their lead in the fifth, which turned out be an inning in which Perez failed to record an out in, as he yielded two straight singles to Rougned Odor and Ryan LaMarre that put runners at second and third with no outs on account of a throwing error from right fielder Hunter Renfroe.

At that point, Red Sox manager Alex Cora pulled Perez in favor of right-hander Garrett Whitlock, who allowed an inherited runner to score on a Greg Allen sacrifice fly before getting out of the inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 62 (41 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler ended up surrendering three runs — all of which were earned — on five hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over just four-plus innings of work. His next start should come against this same Yankees team back at Fenway Park on Saturday.

The Red Sox lineup, which had struggled mightily throughout the night against Yankees starter Jameson Taillon, had a golden opportunity to get on the board in their half of the sixth, with one out and runners in scoring position following a hard-hit double from Xander Bogaerts.

That double knocked Taillon out of this contest, and the Yankees brought in Chad Green to face off against Rafael Devers in a prime run-scoring spot, but the slugging third baseman struck out on a controversial check-swing call, while Hunter Renfroe grounded out to third to extinguish the threat.

Whitlock, after recording the final out of the fifth, came back out for the sixth and proceeded to sit down the final three hitters he faced in order to keep his side within the three runs they trailed by.

From there, however, the Red Sox bullpen let this one get away from them, as Darwinzon Hernanez entered in the seventh and gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner before serving up a two-run blast to Rougned Odor to put Boston in a 5-0 hole.

The left-hander then walked LaMarre and Allen back-to-back, prompting Brandon Workman to take over for him to only issue three consecutive free passes — two of which came with the bases loaded — with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, allowing New York to jump out to a 7-0 advantage.

In the bottom of the eighth, after plating their only run of the evening on a Renfroe RBI single in the top half of the frame, the Red Sox fell victim to more walk issues, as Yacksel Rios walked the first batter who came to the plate against him in Odor before giving up a two-run homer to LaMarre, who spent part of the 2016 season in the Boston outfield.

That put the Yankees up by a commanding eight runs at 9-1, which would go on to be Sunday’s final score.

All in all, the Red Sox went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. They left nine men on base as a team.

With the loss, the Sox fall to 56-38 on the season as they have now dropped six of their last eight games despite clinging on to a half-game lead over the Rays for first place in the American League East.

Arroyo suffers hamstring injury

Christian Arroyo was originally starting Sunday’s contest at first base for the first time in his professional career, but his debut at the position did not go according to plan.

The 26-year-old suffered a left hamstring strain after attempting to stretch out for a ball in order to complete a 6-4-3 double play in the bottom of the third inning.

After doing a split and rising to his feet, Arroyo was in visible discomfort and had to exit immediately. He was replaced by Bobby Dalbec at first base and seems likely to land on the injured list.

Next up: Blue Jays in Buffalo

The Red Sox will make the trek from the Bronx to Buffalo to take on a surging Blue Jays club in the first of a three-game series at Sahlen Field on Monday night.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta is slated to get the ball for Boston in the opener, while fellow righty Ross Stripling is lined up to do the same for Toronto.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Colten Brewer to Triple-A Worcester

Before making up their series finale against the Marlins at Fenway Park on Monday, the Red Sox outrighted right-hander Colten Brewer to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Monday afternoon.

Brewer, 28, was designated for assignment by the Red Sox last Thursday so that the club could make room on its 40-man roster for Brandon Workman.

In one lone appearance out of the Boston bullpen this season, Brewer yielded four runs — three of which were earned — on four hits, three walks, and one strikeout in one inning of relief against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 31.

Originally acquired in a November 2018 trade with the Padres, the righty has posted a 4.98 ERA, a 5.20 FIP, and a 78:51 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 70 total appearances (four starts) in parts of three seasons with the Red Sox.

Because he went unclaimed on waivers and was not traded, Brewer will report back to Worcester, where he put up a 9.00 ERA in four outings (four innings pitched) in two separate stints with the affiliate.

With the WooSox, Brewer rejoins a bullpen mix that includes plenty of other relievers with big-league experience, such as Marcus Walden, Kevin McCarthy, John Schreiber, Brandon Brennan, Matt Hall, Bobby Poyner, and Austin Brice.

Among those relievers, Brennan is the only name listed above currently on Boston’s 40-man roster. Eduard Bazardo, who has made two appearances with the Red Sox this season, is also on the 40-man, but he has been on the injured list since May 24 due to a lat strain.

(Picture of Colten Brewer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox select Brandon Workman from Triple-A Worcester, designate Colten Brewer for assignment

The Red Sox have selected the contract of Brandon Workman from Triple-A Worcester, the team announced prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Astros.

In order to make room for Workman on both the 26-man and 40-man roster, fellow reliever Colten Brewer was optioned to Worcester following Wednesday’s game before being designated for assignment on Thursday.

Workman, 32, triggered the June 1 opt-out clause in his minor-league contract with the Red Sox on Tuesday, which in turn gave the club 48 hours to either promote or release him to pursue other opportunities.

The right-hander initially inked a minor-league pact with Boston last month shortly after getting released by the Cubs in late April. He posted a 1.29 ERA and a 2.75 xFIP to go along with four walks and 10 strikeouts over seven relief appearances spanning 7 2/3 innings pitched with the WooSox.

After mulling over their options these past two days, the Sox ultimately decided to bring back a familiar face in Workman, who spent the first six years of his major-league career and first 11 years of his professional career with Boston.

2019 was undoubtedly Workman’s best year in a Red Sox uniform, as he put up a miniscule 1.88 ERA over 73 outings in the process of emerging as Boston’s closer.

The 2020 campaign, however, was a different story. The former second-round pick out of the University of Texas was dealt from the Sox to the Phillies in late August as part of a four-player trade and never really got things going in Philadelphia (6.92 ERA in 13 innings).

It took until February for Workman to land a one-year deal with the Cubs. But, as previously mentioned, he was designated for assignment and eventually released by Chicago after just 10 April appearances.

Workman’s second go-around in free agency did not last nearly as long as the first with the Sox signing the veteran hurler to a minor-league deal on May 6.

With his promotion to the big-leagues, Workman now joins a Red Sox bullpen mix that includes the likes of Matt Barnes, Adam Ottavino, Josh Taylor, Darwinzon Hernandez, Phillips Valdez, Hirokazu Sawamura, Matt Andriese, and Garrett Whitlock. He will retain his No. 44.

Brewer, meanwhile, was designated for assignment in order to make room for Workman on Boston’s 40-man roster.

The 28-year-old was originally acquired by the Red Sox in a November 2018 trade with the Padres and has produced a 4.98 ERA and 5.20 FIP in 70 appearances (four starts) over the last three seasons.

After the right-hander was shelled for four runs in his 2021 debut at Minute Maid Park on Monday, the Sox must have felt like Workman was an upgrade over Brewer — at least for the time being.

Boston will now have seven days to either trade, release, or waive Brewer. He could be outrighted to the WooSox if he winds up clearing waivers.

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox ‘going through the process’ when it comes to making a decision on Brandon Workman, Alex Cora says

When it comes to their decision regarding what to do with Brandon Workman, the Red Sox are still mulling over their options.

Workman, who triggered an opt-out clause in his minor-league contract with the Sox on Tuesday, threw a bullpen session at Polar Park in Worcester Wednesday afternoon.

The veteran reliever can become a free-agent in the next 24 hours if Boston chooses not to promote him to the major-leagues and instead cuts him loose so that he can pursue opportunities elsewhere.

“I spoke to Chaim [Bloom],” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Astros. “Work was going to throw a bullpen today, again. But he’s not there — he opted out. We still got, what? 24 hours to make a decision.”

After inking a one-year deal with the Cubs over the winter and getting released by the club in late April, the 32-year-old signed a minor-league pact to reunite with the Sox last month.

In seven appearances for Triple-A Worcester, the right-hander posted a 1.29 ERA and a 2.75 xFIP while striking out 10 and walking four in seven relief appearances spanning 7 2/3 innings pitched in the month of May.

“His last two outings were outstanding,” WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott recently said of Workman. “I feel like that was the Brandon Workman we’d seen in the past. I feel like he came here on a mission to show he could be that guy and I think he was more trying to impress, that he has the stuff and was just a little disconnected with his delivery [at first]. The last two outings he got back to where he felt good, he got into his legs better and everything for me ticked up, quality, consistency. I don’t know what’s going to happen with him, but I was really happy with the last two outings, he looked pretty good.”

If the Red Sox opt to promote Workman, they will need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to do so. One possible way to make that happen would be to designate a fellow reliever currently for assignment.

Colten Brewer, who yielded four runs in his season debut against the Astros on Monday, could be the casualty in this scenario depending on which reliever (Brewer or Workman) the Red Sox view as a better bullpen option moving forward.

“We’re going through the process,” said Cora. “We’re talking a lot [about] where we’re at roster-wise, what benefits or doesn’t benefit us. So the conversations are ongoing.”

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Brandon Workman opts out of minor-league deal with Red Sox; Boston has 48 hours to either promote or release reliever

Veteran reliever Brandon Workman has triggered an opt-out clause in his minor-league contract with the Red Sox, manager Alex Cora told reporters prior to Tuesday’s game against the Astros.

Workman, 32, initially inked a minor-league pact to rejoin the Sox on May 6 after being released by the Cubs in late April.

The right-hander posted a 1.29 ERA and a 2.75 xFIP while striking out 10 and walking four in seven relief appearances spanning 7 2/3 innings of work for Triple-A Worcester. He was not with the WooSox on Tuesday.

The Red Sox now have until Thursday — approximately 48 hours — to make a decision in which they will either promote Workman to the majors or release him and subsequently allow him to to become a free agent once more.

While the clock is ticking, it’s safe to assume that the club is still mulling over their options.

“It’s his right. It’s part of the contract,” Cora said of Workman’s situation. “I’m not sure if he did opt out or he’s going to. That’s part of the contract. We were very pleased with the way he’s throwing the ball. He has been throwing his cutter a little bit better. Velocity is OK. Breaking ball has been great. But as of now, that’s all I have. He’s going to opt out and I think we have two days or something to make a decision.”

Workman, who Boston selected in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft out of the University of Texas, spent the first 11 years of his professional career and first 5 1/2 years of his big-league career with the Red Sox organization.

In 2019, Workman proved to be one of the most effective relievers in the American League, putting up a miniscule 1.88 ERA while converting 16 of a possible 22 save opportunities over 73 appearances (71 2/3 innings pitched) out of the Boston bullpen.

His 2020 campaign was a bit of a different story, as he was dealt to the Phillies as part of a four-player trade in late August and went on to struggle to the tune of a 6.92 ERA in 14 outings with the Phillies.

Hitting the open market at an inopportune time, Workman had to settle for a one-year deal with the Cubs in February. But his time in Chicago did not last long considering the fact he was designated for assignment and subsequently released after just 10 appearances with the club.

Workman’s second go-around in free agency did not last nearly as long as the first, as he reunited with the Sox last month and could still very well be part of Boston’s plans for 2021.

That said, the Red Sox would need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster — which is currently at full capacity — if they do decide to promote Workman between now and Thursday.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, fellow reliever Colten Brewer, who got shelled for four runs in his 2021 debut on Monday, could be designated for assignment in order to create that open slot for Workman.

“There’s a lot of stuff on the table,” said Cora. “We’ve got a 26-man roster right now and he’s not part of it.”

(Picture of Brandon Workman: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox outright Austin Brice to Triple-A Worcester after reliever clears waivers

Four days after being designated for assignment, Red Sox reliever Austin Brice has cleared waivers and has subsequently been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced Tuesday afternoon.

Brice, who turns 29 next month, was designated by Boston last Friday when utility man Danny Santana was called up from the WooSox ahead of this past weekend’s series against the Phillies in Philadelphia.

Originally acquired in a January 2020 trade from the Marlins, the veteran right-hander struggled to find his footing in his second season with the Sox, posting an unsightly 6.94 ERA, 6.40 FIP, and 9:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 12 appearances (11 2/3 innings pitched) this year.

Because he went unclaimed on waivers, Brice will report to Worcester, where — as noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo — he will join a WooSox bullpen that includes the likes of Brandon Brennan, Colten Brewer, Matt Hall, Kevin McCarthy, John Schreiber, Marcus Walden, and Brandon Workman, all of whom have big-league experience with the Red Sox or elsewhere.

Cotillo also adds that if the Red Sox found themselves in need of bullpen help at the minor-league level, they would likely turn to Brewer since he is one of two names above who are currently on Boston’s 40-man roster.

(Picture of Austin Brice: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Josh Taylor among baseball’s best left-handed relievers since calendar flipped to May; ‘This is the guy we envisioned,’ Alex Cora says

Junior welterweight Josh Taylor, who became just the sixth men’s boxer since 1988 to claim undisputed champion status over the weekend, is not the only professional athlete named Josh Taylor who is having a strong month of May.

Going from the world of boxing to the world of Major League Baseball, Red Sox left-hander Josh Taylor has also put together an impressive month of work for himself over the last three-plus weeks.

In three relief appearances against the Blue Jays and Phillies during the Sox’ most recent road trip, Taylor tossed a total of two scoreless, no-hit innings while yielding just one walk to go along with two strikeouts. He retired six of the seven batters he faced in that three-game stretch in which Boston went 3-0.

Going back to April 30, the 28-year-old has strung together 10 consecutive scoreless outings (7 1/3 shutout innings) while limiting opponents to a .087/.192/.087 slash line.

Among 56 left-handed major-league relievers who have pitched at least seven innings since April 30, Taylor ranks first in ERA (0.00), first in weighted on-base average (.148), second in batting average against, second in on-base percentage against, second in slugging percentage against, second in WHIP (0.68), and 11th in FIP (2.47), per FanGraphs.

In the process of looking as sharp as ever out of the bullpen lately, not only has Taylor trimmed his ERA down by more than three runs (8.68 on April 30, 5.17 now), but he is also dominating against left-handed hitters, which has not always been the case throughout his career.

“This month of May, he has been throwing the ball well,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Taylor on Saturday. “Overall, amazing against lefties, which is a big difference from ’19. In ’19, he was a reverse-split guy. Now, you can mix and match with the [three-batter] rule. You’ve seen him. We’ve got two outs and there’s a lefty coming up, we use him there, then depending on where we’re at in the lineup with the opposition, we’ll push him out there or we shut him down. We’re very pleased with what he’s done.

“He’s done an amazing job also taking care of himself,” Cora added. “His routine in the weight room, in the training room. It’s a lot better than in ’19, and you can see the results… He has to keep pushing. It’s a long season. Last year, obviously was a struggle with the virus and everything. But so far, he’s been amazing in May. This is the guy we envisioned.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Red Sox claim reliever Brandon Brennan off waivers from Mariners, place Ryan Brasier on 60-day injured list

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Brandon Brennan off waivers from the Seattle Mariners and optioned him to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced Monday afternoon.

In order to make room for Brennan on the 40-man roster, fellow right-hander Ryan Brasier was placed on the 60-day injured list.

Brennan, 29, was designated for assignment by the Mariners last Wednesday after starting the season at the team’s alternate training site in Tacoma.

In two big-league seasons with Seattle (2019-2020), the California native posted a 4.45 ERA, a 4.73 FIP, and a 54:29 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 49 total relief appearances spanning 54 2/3 innings of work.

He was however limited to just five outings last year on account of suffering a left oblique strain in late July.

A former fourth-round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox out of Orange Coast College, Brennan originally joined the Mariners via the 2018 Rule 5 Draft.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-4, 207 pound hurler works with a changeup, a sinker, a four-seam fastball, and a slider.

Among the 198 major-league relievers who compiled at least 50 innings pitched over the last two seasons, Brennan ranked 26th in terms of swinging strike percentage (15.3%), per FanGraphs.

Now that he has been added to Boston’s 40-man roster, Brennan — who has three minor-league options remaining — will look to provide right-handed bullpen depth for the Sox in Worcester. He will join the likes of Eduard Bazardo and Colten Brewer as WooSox relievers currently on the Sox’ 40-man.

Brasier, meanwhile, opened the 2021 season on the 10-day injured list for the Red Sox, so transferring him to the 60-day IL is more of a formality than anything.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the 33-year-old “has dealt with two significant injured since the end of last season, as he fractured his pinky finger during an off-season workout and then strained his calf during a ‘B’ game during the last week of spring training.”

The earliest Brasier can be activated from the injured list now is May 28 after the start of his initial IL stint was backdated to March 29.

(Picture of Brandon Brennan: Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Darwinzon Hernandez has struck out 6 of the last 7 hitters he has faced: ‘The fastball up in the zone is hard to hit,’ Alex Cora says

There was a stretch between April 16-28 where Darwinzon Hernandez appeared in a grand total of one game for the Red Sox.

In that one game, which came against the Mariners on April 22, the left-handed reliever gave up four runs (three earned) on two hits, two walks, and one strikeout in the 10th inning of what would go down as a 7-3 loss for Boston. Three of those runs came on a three-run home run off the bat of Mitch Haniger.

“That home run he gave up against Seattle, I don’t want to say it was a wake-up call,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Friday. “But it was kind of like, ‘I need to attack hitters differently.'”

For a full week after that implosion, which raised his ERA on the year to an unsightly 5.14, Hernandez was not used for the remainder of the Sox’ series against the Mariners, nor was he used in their two-game set against the Mets in New York.

It was not until this past Thursday night that the 24-year-old was called upon again, as he took responsibility for the eighth inning in a game the Red Sox were trailing by three runs to the Rangers.

Matched up against Texas’ 3,4, and 5 hitters — Joey Gallo, Adolis Garcia, and Nate Lowe — Hernandez needed just 13 pitches (nine strikes) to punch out the side in order. He induced seven swings-and-misses in the process of getting all three of Gallo, Garcia, and Lowe to strike out swinging.

On Friday, Hernandez was once again deployed in the eighth inning against the Rangers, though this time his side had a five-run lead to work with.

Even with that lofty cushion, the Venezuelan hurler stayed on the aggressive side of things by thoroughly attacking the strike zone in the process of punching out three more batters.

He very well could have struck out the side in yet another perfect inning of relief, but an 0-2 fastball to Lowe with two outs that was very clearly a strike was ruled a ball by home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. Lowe wound up reaching base on an infield single moments later.

So although he could not notch the 1-2-3 inning, Hernandez punched out the very next hitter he faced in Garcia on three straight strikes to retire the side.

“We talk about his fastball up in the zone,” Cora said. “Yesterday, he did it. He did it again today. He made a great pitch to the lefty that got a hit at the end (Lowe). It was a good pitch in the zone. It was called a ball. But, he’s slowing down now. The slider is playing. The fastball up in the zone is hard to hit.”

Following Friday’s showing, Hernandez lowered his ERA on the season to 4.00 through his first 10 outings and nine innings pitches of 2021.

Per Baseball Savant, the 6-foot-2, 244 pound southpaw currently ranks in the 99th percentile in whiff rate (44.8%). And as noted by Red Sox Stats, he is getting hitters to swing-and-miss at his fastball a major-league-best 50% of the time.

“If that guy throws the ball the way he did,” said Cora, “it’s going to put us in a great place with the bullpen.”

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)