Red Sox option Kaleb Ort to Triple-A Worcester ahead of Chris Martin’s return from injured list

The Red Sox optioned reliever Kaleb Ort to Triple-A Worcester following Saturday night’s 8-7 win over the Guardians, according to The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams.

By optioning Ort, the Red Sox have cleared a roster spot for fellow reliever Chris Martin, who is expected to be activated from the 15-day injured list ahead of Sunday’s series finale against Cleveland.

Ort, 31, has posted a 7.30 ERA and 6.27 FIP with 12 strikeouts to six walks in 12 relief appearances spanning 12 1/3 innings of work out of the Boston bullpen so far this season. The right-hander last pitched against the Orioles on Tuesday, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits (two home runs) in just one-third of an inning.

When Ort entered that game in Baltimore, the Red Sox had an 8-1 lead over the O’s. By giving up five runs and only recording one out, Ort forced manager Alex Cora to bring in closer Kenley Jansen, who notched the save and secured an 8-6 win by retiring the only two batters he faced.

Though the Red Sox remain intrigued by Ort’s arsenal, particularly his upper-90s fastball, the righty has yet to find success on a consistent basis at the big-league level. He will now look to sort things out in Worcester, where he pitched to a 2.88 ERA in 39 appearances (40 2/3 innings) last year.

Martin, meanwhile, was placed on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation on April 16 (retroactive to April 13). The 36-year-old underwent an MRI after reporting arm discomfort, but the results revealed only inflammation as opposed to any sort of structural damage.

As such, Martin was never expected to be out of action for too long. After dealing with a stomach bug earlier this week, the veteran hurler made a rehab appearance for the WooSox at Polar Park on Friday night and allowed two unearned runs on two hits in one inning of work.

“I feel like I got what I needed [from the rehab outing] and today I feel good,” Martin told The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier at Fenway Park earlier Saturday afternoon. “I’m starting to feel better. I’ve just got to keep with the process and keep working on the tedious things.”

Martin, who turns 37 in June, signed a two-year, $17.5 million with the Red Sox back in December. Prior to going on the injured list, he posted a 2.57 ERA and 5.06 FIP with two strikeouts and one walk through his first seven outings (seven innings) of the season.

(Picture of Kaleb Ort: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Red Sox place Chris Martin on 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, transfer Wyatt Mills to 60-day injured list

Before taking on the Angels at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox placed veteran reliever Chris Martin on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation.

To take Martin’s place on the big-league roster, Jake Faria had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for Faria on the 40-man roster, fellow right-hander Wyatt Mills was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day injured list.

Martin, who last pitched against the Rays this past Wednesday, underwent an MRI after reporting arm discomfort earlier in the week. The MRI revealed only inflammation as opposed to any structural damage. Because of that diagnosis, the Red Sox are optimistic that the 36-year-old’s stint on the injured list (which was backdated to April 13) will last the minimum 15 days.

“He’s a little bit banged up. It started with the bicep, now the shoulder,” manager Alex Cora said of Martin when speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). “So we have to stay away from him. Actually, he’s getting checked by the doctor. There’s a good chance he’ll go on the IL. It’s nothing serious, serious. But it’s something we have to take into consideration. So we were talking about it and we’ll see what we do.”

Martin, for his part, told The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham: “It’s something I’ve had before early in the season. It’s just inflammation, nothing structural. We can knock it out.”

Boston signed Martin to a two-year, $17.5 million deal back in December to serve as a setup man in the back of the bullpen. The righty has allowed just two runs through his first seven appearances (seven innings) of the season, but he has struggled to miss bats and has a 5.08 FIP to show for it.

Faria signed a minor-league pact with the Red Sox back in February and broke camp with Worcester last month. In three relief appearances for the WooSox thus far, the 29-year-old has yielded six earned runs on four hits, six walks, and five strikeouts over five innings of work.

The Red Sox did not need Faria to defeat the Angels on Sunday, as Garrett Whitlock, Kaleb Ort, and Ryan Brasier combined for nine innings of one-run ball in the 2-1 win. Considering that the club will need to make a corresponding move in order to activate Brayan Bello from the injured list for his start on Monday, it seems likely that Faria could be designated for assignment since he is out of minor-league options and is a candidate to go through waivers unclaimed.

Mills, meanwhile, was acquired from the Royals in exchange for relief prospect Jacob Wallace back in December. The 28-year-old began his first season in Boston on the 15-day injured list after being shut down with elbow discomfort at the end of spring training. Though he has resumed throwing, Mills will not be eligible to be activated (and pitch in the majors) until late May at the earliest.

Following Sunday’s series of roster moves, the Red Sox now have four players on the 60-day injured list in Mills, Zack Kelly, Adalberto Mondesi, and Trevor Story.

(Picture of Chris Martin: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox agree to two-year, $17.5 million deal with reliever Chris Martin, per report

The Red Sox have agreed to terms on a two-year, $17.5 million contract with free agent reliever Chris Martin, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal is pending a physical.

Martin, 36, is a veteran of seven major-league seasons who split the 2022 campaign between the Cubs and Dodgers. The right-hander posted a 4.31 ERA and 3.02 FIP with 40 strikeouts to four walks in 34 appearances (31 1/3 innings) with Chicago before being traded to Los Angeles for infielder Zach McKinstry in late July.

In 26 appearances out of the Dodgers bullpen, Martin pitched to a dazzling 1.46 ERA and 1.13 FIP with 34 punchouts to just one walk over 24 2/3 innings of relief. He did not allow a run in either of his two outings against the Padres in the National League Division Series.

Martin’s journey through pro ball has certainly been a unique one. The native Texan was originally selected by the Rockies in the 21st round of the 2005 amateur draft as a freshman out of McLennan Community College in Waco, but he did not sign with the club. The following year, Martin suffered a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder and underwent surgery to repair the tear in 2007.

After working a number of odd jobs, Martin landed with the Grand Prairie AirHogs of the independent American Association in 2010. He pitched well there and scored a tryout with the Red Sox in March 2011. Martin impressed in Fort Myers and was signed to a minor-league contract. He spent the next three seasons working his way through Boston’s farm system before being traded with Franklin Morales to the Rockies for infielder Jonathan Herrera in December 2013.

Martin made his big-league debut for Colorado the following April and had his contract purchased by the Yankees before the start of the 2015 season. He was released by New York that November and elected to take his talents to Japan by signing with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball. After two years overseas, Martin returned to the United States by signing a major-league contract with his hometown Rangers in December 2017.

Since then, Martin has forged a respectable 3.44 ERA and 2.99 FIP to go along with 229 punchouts to 24 walks over 229 total relief outings (214 2/3 innings pitched) between the Rangers, Braves, Cubs, and Dodgers. He helped Atlanta win a World Series in 2021 and owns a lifetime 1.88 ERA (2.11 FIP) in the postseason.

Listed at 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, Martin is a six-pitch pitcher who operates with a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a low-90s cutter, a high-80s splitter, a mid-90s sinker, a mid-80s slider, and a low-80s curveball. This past season, the righty ranked in the 99th percentile in the league in strikeout rate (32.9 percent) and the 100th percentile in walk rate (2.2 percent), per Baseball Savant. He did not miss many bats (41.7 percent hard-hit rate, 8.3 percent barrel rate), but proved to be effective in other areas.

Martin, who does not turn 37 until June, becomes the second free agent addition the Red Sox have have made to their bullpen this winter. Fellow reliever Joely Rodriguez was signed to a one-year, $2 million deal last week.

With the Winter Meetings set to get underway in San Diego next week, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. may just be getting started as different markets are expected to heat up sooner rather than later.

(Picture of Chris Martin: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)