Red Sox place Matt Strahm on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Hirokazu Sawamura from Triple-A Worcester

Before wrapping up their five-game series against the Orioles at Fenway Park on Monday night, the Red Sox placed left-handed reliever Matt Strahm on the COVID-19 related injured list.

In a corresponding move, right-handed reliever Hirokazu Sawamura was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the team announced.

At this time, it is not yet clear if Strahm has tested positive for COVID-19 or is simply experiencing virus-like symptoms. Through 18 relief appearances this season, the 30-year-old southpaw has posted a 3.68 ERA and 1.77 FIP with 16 strikeouts to three walks over 14 2/3 innings of work.

Sawamura, meanwhile, returns from Worcester after being optioned there on Saturday. Unsurprisingly, the Japanese-born righty did not get into a game with the WooSox. This season with the big-league club, he has produced a 3.60 ERA and 3.47 FIP to go along with 13 strikeouts to six walks across 18 appearances spanning 15 innings pitched.

Following Monday’s roster move, the Red Sox will now be without Strahm and Hansel Robles (on the 10-day injured list due to back spasms) for the time being. Alex Cora’s bullpen currently consists of the likes of Sawamura, Matt Barnes, Jake Diekman, Austin Davis, John Schreiber, Tyler Danish, Ryan Brasier and Phillips Valdez. Tanner Houck could be included there, too, but he is not available to pitch on Monday, per Cora.

(Picture of Matt Strahm: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Rafael Devers homers twice as Red Sox erase 5-run deficit and come from behind to beat Mariners, 6-5

The Red Sox once again fell behind early against the Mariners on Saturday but battled their way back at Fenway Park. Boston defeated Seattle by a final score of 6-5 to win their fourth straight game and third consecutive series while improving to 18-22 on the season.

Before the Sox could even take their first at-bats of the afternoon, they already found themselves trailing by four runs. Garrett Whitlock, making his sixth start of the year, allowed the Mariners to score four times in the top half of the first inning.

After getting through a scoreless second inning, the right-hander ran into more trouble in the third by giving up back-to-back two-out hits to Mike Ford and Luis Torrens, which resulted in another Seattle run crossing the plate.

The third would prove to be Whitlock’s final inning of work, as he wound up surrendering a season-high five earned runs on 10 hits, no walks, and three strikeouts on 71 pitches (48 strikes). The 25-year-old’s ERA now sits at 3.58.

To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had yet to do anything of significance against opposing starter Chris Flexen. That changed in the bottom half of the third though, as Rafael Devers got his productive day at the plate started by crushing a 413-foot solo shot into the bleachers to get his side on the board and make it a 5-1 ballgame.

Fast forward to the fifth, after Tyler Danish had hurled two scoreless frames out of the Sox bullpen, and Devers struck again. Following a leadoff double from Enrique Hernandez, the left-handed slugger took Flexen 386 feet over the Green Monster for his second big fly of the game and ninth of the season.

Devers’ two-run blast, which had an exit velocity of 102.1 mph, cut the deficit down to two runs at 5-3. But the Red Sox were not done there. A J.D. Martinez double and Xander Bogaerts single chased Flexen from the contest and put runners on the corners for Bobby Dalbec, who greeted new Mariners reliever Sergio Romo by lifting an RBI single to center field to drive in Martinez and move Bogaerts up to third. Trevor Story followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Bogaerts to tie things up at five runs apiece.

From there, Jake Diekman punched out the side in the sixth, Hansel Robles worked his way around a two-out double in the seventh, and John Schreiber retired the only three batters he faced in the top of the eighth to keep the 5-5 tie intact.

With one out in the bottom half of the eighth, Franchy Cordero laced a 110.5 mph triple off the Green Monster to put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position for Christian Vazquez, who came through with the game-winning single off Drew Steckenrider that plated Cordero and gave the Sox a 6-5 lead.

Looking to protect that lead, Red Sox manager Alex Cora called upon Matt Barnes to take the mound in the ninth inning. Barnes, in turn, needed just 15 pitches (and a little defensive help from Hernandez) to slam the door shut on the Mariners and notch his second save of the season.

All told, five Boston relievers (Danish, Diekman, Robles, Schreiber, and Barnes) combined to toss six shutout innings in relief of Whitlock on Saturday. The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, went 4-for-6 with runners in scoring position while putting together their largest comeback win of the season thus far.

Next up: Gilbert vs. Eovaldi in series finale

The Red Sox will look to close out the weekend with a four-game sweep over the Mariners on Sunday afternoon. Veteran right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will get the start for Boston opposite fellow righty Logan Gilbert for Seattle.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Josh Taylor suffers setback while rehabbing from back strain

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor suffered a setback while rehabbing his back injury and has been temporarily shut down from throwing, manager Alex Cora announced before Tuesday’s game against the Angels at Fenway Park.

Taylor, who had been out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester, is back with the Red Sox to receive treatment and undergo tests in Boston.

When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Cotillo) on Tuesday, Cora revealed that Taylor’s back locked up on him recently, leaving the team with no choice but to return him from his rehab assignment.

“He had a setback a few days ago,” Cora said. “Feels better today, but of course, we had to take him off his rehab assignment. We’re going through testing and all that stuff. We’ll know more during the week.”

Taylor began the season on the 10-day injured list due to a low back strain that first began bothering him last September and was first sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester on April 17. The left-hander got the start for the WooSox against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park that afternoon and allowed one run (on a solo home run) in his lone inning of work. He was then shut down for the next six days after being identified as a close contact to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.

On April 24, Taylor returned to the mound — this time for Double-A Portland — and once again served as an opener. The 29-year-old surrendered two runs on three hits and one strikeout while recording the first two outs of the Sea Dogs’ 13-5 win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies at Hadlock Field. Three days later, he was back in action for the WooSox and tossed a scoreless fifth inning in the second game of a doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons.

Since then, Taylor has not appeared in a game and is not close to doing so anytime soon. As noted by Cotillo, Cora previously said the hope was for Taylor to make five or six rehab outings before being activated, so the southpaw will presumably need to start from scratch once he is cleared to resume throwing.

“Let’s see how it goes in the upcoming days and how it goes with testing and all that stuff,” said Cora. “Then we’ll decide what we do with him.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Derek Holland opts out of minor-league deal with Red Sox to become free agent

Derek Holland has opted out of his minor-league contract with the Red Sox and is now a free agent, as was first reported by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo earlier Sunday morning.

Holland, 35, originally signed a minor-league deal with Boston back in March with the hopes of earning a bullpen spot with the team out of spring training. When he was informed that he would not be making the Sox’ Opening Day roster, the veteran left-hander elected to remain in the organization and begin the season with Triple-A Worcester.

In 10 relief appearances for the WooSox, Holland posted a 6.35 ERA to go along with 13 strikeouts to seven walks over 11 1/3 innings of work. Given that the Red Sox already have lefties like Austin Davis, Jake Diekman, and Matt Strahm in their bullpen with another southpaw rehabbing from injury in Josh Taylor, adding Holland to the major-league mix was clearly not a priority for the club.

Instead, Holland — who had multiple opt-out clauses in his contract since he was an article XX(B) free agent — will once again hit the open market and look to latch on elsewhere.

A former 25th-round draft pick with 13 seasons of big-league experience under his belt, Holland his pitched for the Rangers (2009-2016), White Sox (2017), Giants (2018-2019), Cubs (2019), Pirates (2020), and Tigers (2021). With Detroit last year, he produced a 5.07 ERA and 3.96 FIP across 39 appearances (one start) spanning 49 2/3 innings.

(Picture of Derek Holland: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Garrett Whitlock to make third start of season for Red Sox against Angels on Wednesday

Garrett Whitlock will make his third start of the season for the Red Sox in Wednesday night’s game against the Angels at Fenway Park, manager Alex Cora said Saturday.

After opening the year in Boston’s bullpen as a multi-inning reliever, Whitlock moved into the starting rotation on April 23 and has made two starts against the Rays and Blue Jays on the road. Over 16 2/3 total innings of work, the right-hander has posted a miniscule 0.54 ERA and 2.20 FIP to go along with four walks and 20 strikeouts.

While Whitlock will remain in the Sox’ rotation for the time being, Cora would not commit to the 25-year-old as a starter beyond Wednesday since the club has three off days within the next two weeks.

“Let’s see how it goes,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). “We’ve got the off day on Monday. Obviously, we’ve got another off day a week from Monday. He’ll start on Wednesday and then we’ll keep making decisions.”

Cora also indicated that Whitlock’s pitch count on Wednesday will surpass the career-high of 61 he threw in Toronto this past Thursday. In his first time out as a starter in St. Petersburg last Saturday, the righty needed just 48 pitches (33 strikes) to toss four scoreless, one-hit innings.

With Whitlock sticking as a starter for now, Tanner Houck is expected to remain in the bullpen. Houck began the season as a member of Boston’s starting rotation but his last two appearances have come in relief after missing the team’s four-game series in Toronto on account of not being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Between the two, the Sox can mix and match with Houck and Whitlock if they so choose when it comes to their respective roles. Also, as noted by Cotillo, the impending returns of left-handers James Paxton and Chris Sale at some point this summer will further shake up the club’s rotation mix in the coming months.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Red Sox blow late lead, get walked off on by Blue Jays in extra innings four fourth straight loss

The Red Sox continue to find ways to lose games in heartbreaking fashion, with Tuesday’s walk-off loss to the Blue Jays marking their fourth consecutive defeat and their sixth in the last seven games.

Boston fell to Toronto in 10 innings by a final score of 6-5 at Rogers Centre to drop to 7-11 on the season. They are now 1-4 halfway through their 10-game, three-city road trip.

Nick Pivetta, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, allowed two runs on three hits and four walks to go along with six strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

It was a grind for Pivetta, who breezed through his first two innings but ran into some trouble in the bottom of the third when he issued a leadoff walk to Santiago Espinal. Espinal and Gosuke Katoh effectively switched places when the latter grounded into a force out at second base, but he advanced into scoring position himself on a wild pitch.

Another walk of Bradley Zimmer put runners at first and second for the Jays with one out. Christian Vazquez gunned down Zimmer as he unsuccessfully attempted to steal second base but Katoh moved up to third on the play as well. He then scored on an RBI single off the bat of George Springer, who was just getting his productive night at the plate started.

Despite falling behind by a run early on, the Sox lineup quickly responded in their half of the fourth when Xander Bogaerts led off the inning with a hard-hit single off opposing starter Kevin Gausman. Bogaerts successfully stole second base on a J.D. Martinez strikeout and advanced to third on a Zack Collins throwing error. Enrique Hernandez drove him in on a sacrifice fly to knot things up at 1-1.

Pivetta, however, struggled with his command yet again in the latter half of the frame. The Canadian-born right-hander issued another leadoff walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that was followed by a line-drive single from Collins. Guerrero Jr. scored from second on an Espinal RBI single, but Collins was left on base as Pivetta managed to limit the damage to just the one run.

After working hard in both the third and fourth innings, Pivetta recorded the first two outs of the fifth before walking Bo Bichette on seven pitches. Bichette would be the final batter Pivetta faced. The 29-year-old hurler wound up finishing with a final pitch count of 98 (60 strikes) while throwing 52 four-seam fastballs, 28 knuckle curveballs, and 18 sliders. He induced seven swings-and-misses and averaged 93.8 mph with his heater.

In relief of Pivetta, Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call from acting manager Will Venable out of the Boston bullpen. Sawamura stranded the lone runner he inherited in Bichette by getting Guerrero Jr. to ground out.

From there, Austin Davis tossed a scoreless sixth inning and got the first two outs of the seventh before making way for Ryan Brasier, who — like Sawamura — inherited one runner but left him on base by getting Springer to fly out to Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

To that point in the contest, the Sox had not been able to get much of anything going against Gausman or the first reliever out of the Blue Jays bullpen in Trevor Richards.

Boston’s fortunes changed in their half of the eighth, though, and that happened when Rafael Devers came off the bench to pinch-hit for Christian Arroyo and immediately greeted Yimi Garcia by ripping a leadoff single off of him. Another single for Vazquez put runners at first and second for Trevor Story, who came through with a clutch, 111.8 mph RBI double that scored Devers and made it a 2-2 game.

That stalemate did not last long, though, as Alex Verdugo kept the rally going with a sacrifice fly that brought in Vazquez and Bogaerts followed with a run-scoring double of his own that pushed across Story. Hernandez then drove in Bogaerts on an RBI single that gave the Red Sox a 5-2 lead just like that.

With a three-run lead to protect all of the sudden, Hansel Robles was dispatched for the eighth inning and worked his way around a two-out single in an otherwise clean frame.

The Sox had an opportunity to add on to their lead in the ninth but could not take advantage of the two walks issued by Ryan Borucki. In the bottom half of the inning, it was Jake Diekman who was in for the save.

Diekman immediately yielded back-to-back doubles to Tapia and Espinal, cutting Boston’s lead down to two runs and putting the tying run (Espinal) in scoring position. The veteran lefty punched out the pinch-hitting Lourdes Gurriel and Zimmer in back-to-back fashion, meaning he was just one out away from closing things out.

Instead of picking up the save, however, Diekman grooved a 2-1, 96 mph fastball down the heart of the plate to Springer, who took it and deposited it 423 feet to center field for the game-tying home run.

Springer’s clutch homer pulled the Blue Jays back even with the Red Sox at 5-5. Matt Barnes got the final out of the ninth and — after his side squandered another scoring opportunity — came back out for the last of the 10th.

Barnes and Co. elected to intentionally walk Guerrero Jr. in hopes of turning a double play. That strategy did not pay off, though, as Barnes walked Alejandro Kirk on seven pitches to load the bases with no outs.

A strikeout of Matt Chapman is how Barnes’ night ended with left-hander Matt Strahm being called upon to face the left-handed hitting Tapia, who proceeded to lace a 298-foot sacrifice fly to left field. Bichette easily scored from third to lift the Blue Jays to a 6-5 walk-off victory in extras.

Next up: Wacha vs. Stripling

The Red Sox will look to put an end to their four-game losing streak against the Blue Jays on Wednesday night. Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston and he will be opposed by fellow right-hander Ross Stripling for Toronto.

First pitch from Rogers Centre is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Bo Bichette and Christian Vazquez: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Sporting colorful glove, Phillips Valdez has been effective out of Red Sox’ bullpen early on this season

In case you have not noticed, Red Sox reliever Phillips Valdez is sporting a new glove this season.

Previously, Valdez has worn a red glove throughout his first two seasons in Boston. This year, however, the right-hander has been rocking a bright blue glove that features red lacing.

When asked about what led to the change by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith earlier this month, Valdez said he saw his friend, Cardinals reliever Genesis Cabrera, wearing a similar glove in the Dominican Republic. He thought Cabrera’s glove looked “nice,” so he decided to get one for himself.

After making the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster for a third consecutive year, Valdez has gotten his 2022 campaign off to a strong start. While pitching mostly in low-leverage situations out of Boston’s bullpen, the 30-year-old has struck out 10 and walked only one over six relief appearances spanning eight innings of work.

It’s obviously early, but among major-league relievers who have pitched eight or more innings so far this season, Valdez ranks second in strikeout rate (35.7%), sixth in walk rate (3.6%), second in batting average against (.080), first in WHIP (0.38), third in FIP (1.68), and first in xFIP (2.36), per FanGraphs.

According to Baseball Savant, Valdez has also been effective in other areas while utilizing his changeup, sinker, and slider. The 6-foot-4, 192 pound hurler currently ranks in the 89th percentile in fastball spin, the 86th percentile in expected batting average, the 85th percentile in expected slugging percentage, the 87th percentile in walk rate, and the 89th percentile in punchout rate.

Whether it be the new glove or something else, Valdez has proven to be a valuable member of Alex Cora’s bullpen a few weeks into the 2022 season. Boston may be in 0-6 in Valdez’s appearances, but he is at the very least allowing Cora to preserve his other, more high-leverage relievers for another day.

With that, Valdez could very well remain on the Sox’ big-league roster even after roster sizes shrink from 28 to 26 players on May 2. That is no guarantee at this point, but still something worth monitoring nonetheless.

(Picture of Phillips Valdez: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Red Sox ride strong start from Michael Wacha, 6-run eighth inning to 8-1 win over Twins

Powered by strong starting pitching and a late rally, the Red Sox won their second straight over the Twins at Fenway Park on Sunday by a final score of 8-1. Boston has now won three of its last four games to improve to 5-4 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his second start of the year for the Sox, thoroughly impressed while donning the yellow and blue City Connect uniforms for the first time. Over five scoreless innings of work, the veteran right-hander yielded just one hit and two walks to go along with five strikeouts on the afternoon.

Wacha took a perfect game bid into the third inning by retiring each of the first seven Minnesota batters he faced. He then issued a one-out walk to Miguel Sano in the top of the third, but stranded Sano there before taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning.

To lead things off in the fifth, Gio Urshela greeted Wacha by roping a single to center field. Once more, though, Wacha did not let things escalate and instead sat down each of the final three Twins he faced to end his day on a solid note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 79 (52 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler featured a healthy mix of changeups, four-seam fastballs, and cutters on Sunday. Those three offerings accounted for 80% of Wacha’s workload, though he also threw eight sinkers and eight curveballs while inducing a total of seven swings-and-misses altogether.

In relief of Wacha, Matt Strahm received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora in the top of the sixth inning. The left-hander needed all of 13 pitches to retire the side there.

To that point in the contest, the Sox themselves had been stymied by Twins starter Bailey Ober. After mustering just three singles and a walk through five innings, the Boston bats finally got something going against Ober in their half of the sixth.

Rafael Devers led the inning off by reaching on a fielding error committed by Sano. He then advanced all the way to third on a hard-hit double off the bat of Xander Bogaerts. Back-to-back sacrifice flies from J.D. Martinez and Alex Verdugo gave the Red Sox their first lead of the day at 2-0.

Strahm came back out for the seventh but was pulled after yielding a one-out single to Max Kepler. Ryan Brasier was dispatched and allowed the lone runner he inherited to score on a Trevor Larnach sacrifice fly. The righty then loaded the bases with two outs, but escaped the jam by getting Kyle Garlick to fan on a 93 mph fastball that was up and in.

After Jake Diekman struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 top of the eighth, the Sox really blew things open in their half of the inning. With reliever Caleb Thielbar on the mound for the Twins, Enrique Hernandez, Devers, and Bogaerts hit three consecutive singles. Bogaerts plated Hernandez on his 44-foot base hit, then Martinez scored Devers on an RBI double off the Green Monster.

The 300th double of Martinez’s career made it a 4-1 game in favor of Boston. Trevor Story added on to that by lacing a two-run single that scored both Bogaerts and Martinez. After Story advanced to second on a Bobby Dalbec base hit, Jackie Bradley Jr. came through with an RBI single of his own. Kevin Plawecki plated the Sox’ eighth and final run (Dalbec) on a sacrifice fly.

With a sizable seven-run cushion to work with, Austin Davis got the call for the ninth and closed things out quickly to secure an 8-1 victory on Easter.

Some notes from this win:

In his last four games, Jackie Bradley Jr. has batted .385 (5-for-13) with three doubles, four RBIs, two runs scored, and two walks.

With runners in scoring position this season, J.D. Martinez is batting .333/.364/.667 with four RBIs.

Rafael Devers has recorded two or more hits in four of his last six games and is now hitting .368 with an OPS of .990 on the season.

Next up: Bundy vs. Hill

The Red and Twins will close out this four-game weekend series on Marathon Monday. Left-hander Rich Hill is slated to get the ball for Boston while right-hander Dylan Bundy is in line to do the same for Minnesota.

First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Josh Taylor set to begin rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Sunday

The Red Sox bullpen could soon be receiving a boost. Josh Taylor is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Sunday, manager Alex Cora said ahead of Saturday’s game against the Twins at Fenway Park. The left-hander began the season on the 10-day injured list due to a low back strain.

“He threw a live BP yesterday and obviously we have to wait for today to see how he feels,” Cora said of Taylor. “But there’s a good chance his rehab assignment starts tomorrow.”

Cora added that Taylor will likely need five or six outings with the WooSox before being activated from the injured list. He is in line to make his 2022 debut in Worcester’s series finale against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park on Sunday afternoon.

Taylor, 29, is coming off a strong 2021 season in which he posted a 3.40 ERA and 2.83 FIP to go along with 60 strikeouts to 23 walks over 61 relief appearances spanning 47 2/3 innings of work.

The Arizona-born southpaw first experienced back discomfort last September and spent time on the injured list because of it. He returned in time for the postseason, but wound up receiving an epidural injection during the off-season.

Those back issues lingered into spring training, but Taylor is now at a point where he is ready to pitch in a game, as he explained to MLB.com’s Ian Browne on Saturday.

“I’m good. The body feels great,” Taylor said. “I had another live [batting practice] yesterday and bounced back well today. I don’t think I’ve had any setbacks. The body feels good. I have a rehab outing tomorrow in Worcester so that will be my first one and I’m looking forward to that. I definitely think I’m ready for that right now.”

(Picture of Josh Taylor: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Should the Red Sox consider trading Austin Davis?

Seven games into the 2022 season, the two Red Sox relievers who are tied for the team lead in appearances with four apiece are Ryan Brasier and Austin Davis.

Both Brasier and Davis were used by manager Alex Cora out of the bullpen in Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Twins at Fenway Park. The former struck out the side in a scoreless seventh inning. The latter allowed two runners to reach base but also fanned three in a scoreless eighth inning.

In Davis’ case, the left-hander has now yielded three earned runs on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over his first three innings pitched this year.

Put another way, Davis has posted a 9.00 ERA, a 2.33 WHIP, an OPS against of .945, a strikeout rate of 29.4%, and a walk rate of 11.7% so far this season. Two of his four outings have been scoreless, though Friday’s performance was undoubtedly his best work to this point.

Of the 21 pitches Davis threw in Friday’s loss to Minnesota, 13 went for strikes. The 29-year-old southpaw induced a total of seven swings-and-misses; three on his slider and changeup and one on his four-seam fastball.

In regards to his four-seamer, Davis averaged 93.6 mph with the pitch across 26 1/3 innings between the Pirates and Red Sox in 2021. On Friday, he averaged 95.6 mph with his heater and topped out at 97 mph with it, per Baseball Savant. For his big-league career, which dates back to June 2018, Davis had only thrown a pitch 97 mph or faster on two separate occasions prior to Friday’s outing.

Since the Red Sox acquired Davis from the Pirates for infielder Michael Chavis last July, the lefty has been one of Cora’s more frequently-used relievers. From the time he debuted for Boston on July 31 of last season, Davis has now made 24 relief appearances for the Sox. The only other hurlers who have seen more action over that stretch are Adam Ottavino (24 appearances), who is no longer with the team, and Hansel Robles (30 appearances).

Despite a career ERA of 5.49 in a Red Sox uniform, it would appear as though the club likes what they have in Davis. With that being said, though, it is worth wondering if Davis’ spot in Boston’s bullpen could be on the line sometime in the near future.

As a result of a shortened spring training, major-league teams were permitted to carry 28 players on their active roster. This, for instance, allowed the Red Sox to carry 10 relievers on their Opening Day squad.

On May 2, however, teams will be required to trim their rosters back down to the traditional size of 26 active players. When that time comes, the Sox will have no other choice but to carry no more than 13 pitchers on their active roster.

The way things stand now, Davis is one of three lefties in Boston’s bullpen alongside the likes of Jake Diekman and Matt Strahm. Josh Taylor, who began the season on the injured list due to a low back strain, could be nearing a minor-league rehab assignment.

With Diekman and Strahm being new free-agent additions and Taylor already earning the trust of Cora last season, would the Red Sox still entertain the idea of carrying four left-handed relievers on their 26-man roster beginning next month?

If Davis is deemed the odd man out once rosters shrink and Taylor returns from the injured list, the Red Sox could not simply option him to Triple-A Worcester, for the Arizona native is out of minor-league options. Because of this, Boston would need to expose Davis to waivers if they wanted to retain his services as a non-40-man roster player in the minors.

Taking that into account and assuming that Taylor will be back before long, what would be stopping the Red Sox from trading Davis away for a prospect who is not on a 40-man roster at some point between now and May 2? Why risk losing Davis for nothing when you could get something back in return?

Under chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, the Red Sox have made similar moves in the past, with the Yoan Aybar-for-Christian Koss swap probably sticking out the most. Davis, of course, is far more established than Aybar and could fetch an intriguing return since he is still under club control for three more seasons after 2022.

At the end of the day, do the Red Sox need to trade Davis? No. Even with Taylor on his way back, perhaps the club still believes Davis can play an important role out of the bullpen this season. If not, though, then perhaps it would be in Boston’s best interest to explore their options now before running into a roster crunch in a few weeks.

(Picture of Austin Davis: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)