Red Sox trade Darwinzon Hernandez to Orioles for cash considerations

The Red Sox have traded reliever Darwinzon Hernandez to the Orioles in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Hernandez, 26, was designated for assignment last Friday so that the Red Sox could clear a spot on their 40-man roster for newly signed infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner.

Boston originally signed Hernandez for just $7,500 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in July 2013. The Ciudad Bolivar native established himself as arguably the top pitching prospect in the Red Sox farm system before making his major-league debut at the age of 22 in April 2019.

Hernandez made one start for the Red Sox early on before moving to the bullpen on a full-time basis that July . The left-hander posted a 4.32 ERA — but much more respectable 2.81 FIP — with 46 strikeouts to 20 walks over 27 relief appearances (25 innings) from that point forward to wrap up what was an otherwise solid rookie campaign.

Injuries and a bout with COVID-19 limited Hernandez to just seven outings during the pandemic-shortened season in 2020. He bounced back by forging a 3.38 ERA (4.80 FIP) in 2021, but he did so while averaging exactly seven walks per nine innings.

This past spring, Hernandez failed to break camp with the Red Sox and instead began the 2022 season at Triple-A Worcester. The burly lefty was then forced to undergo surgery in May after suffering a torn right meniscus that kept him sidelined well into the summer. He made his return to the majors on July 14 got rocked for 16 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings (21.60 ERA) before being sent down in mid-August.

While with the WooSox last year, Hernandez produced a 5.73 ERA with 51 strikeouts to 27 walks over 23 appearances (seven starts) spanning 33 innings of work. He returned to his home country this offseason to play winter ball for the Cardenales de Lara. There, he pitched to a 3.86 ERA to go along with 23 punchouts to nine walks across 16 1/3 frames of relief.

Hernandez, who does not turn 27 until next December, has one minor-league option remaining and is not yet eligible for salary arbitration. Those factors, as well as the fact that his pitch arsenal consists of a high-octane four-seam fastball, a mid-80s curveball, and a high-70s curveball, surely made the 6-foot-2, 255-pound southpaw appealing to a team such as the Orioles.

Although Hernandez has dealt with command issues in the past, he does own a career strikeout rate of 32.3% in parts of four big-league seasons. If Baltimore can harness his ability to induce swing-and-misses without giving up too many walks, perhaps Hernandez can get back on track with a new organization.

Hernandez becomes the latest former Red Sox prospect the Orioles have acquired in some capacity this winter. Last month, they signed right-hander Eduard Bazardo to a minor-league pact and selected fellow righty A.J. Politi in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. They also signed first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero to a split contract on Dec. 2.

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate former top prospect Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment

The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to make the signing of infielder/designated hitter Justin Turner official on Friday afternoon. They cleared that spot by designating reliever Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment.

Hernandez, 26, originally signed with the Red Sox for just $7,500 as an international free agent coming out of Venezuela in August 2013. Despite receiving a modest signing bonus, it did not take the left-hander all that long to establish himself as arguably the top pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Heading into the 2019 season, Hernandez was ranked by Baseball America as the Red Sox’ No. 3 overall prospect. The Bolivar native made his major-league debut that April before making his first career start against the Rangers less than two months later.

Hernandez spent another month in the minor-leagues before being recalled again in mid-July. In 27 appearances out of Boston’s bullpen from that point forward, Hernandez posted a 4.32 ERA — but much more respectable 2.81 FIP — with 46 strikeouts to 20 walks over 25 innings of relief.

On the heels of a relatively strong rookie campaign, it appeared as though Hernandez had momentum heading into 2020. But a bout with COVID-19 in July and a left AC joint sprain in August limited him to just seven outings (8 1/3 innings) during the pandemic-shortened season.

To his credit, Hernandez bounced back in 2021 by making a career-high 48 relief appearances. While his 3.38 ERA and 29.7 strikeout rate were undoubtedly solid, Hernandez did walk 31 batters in 40 innings of work, which led to him having a 4.80 FIP.

With those discouraging peripherals in mind, Hernandez was left off Boston’s Opening Day roster last April and began the 2022 season with Triple-A Worcester. The burly lefty then sustained a torn right meniscus in May that required surgery. After a lengthy recovery period, he returned to the Red Sox in July but struggled to the tune of a 21.60 ERA (16 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings) before being sent back down in August.

Hernandez did not fare much better with the WooSox down the stretch, as he yielded nine runs (eight earned) with 10 strikeouts to nine walks across nine appearances (eight innings) through the end of the minor-league season. He returned to his home country this offseason and produced a 3.86 ERA in 19 outings (16 1/3 innings) for the Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan Winter League, but he still issued nine walks to the 74 batters he faced in that time frame.

Given his well-documented control issues (32.3 percent career walk rate in 85 1/3 big-league innings) , it seems as though the Red Sox were ready to move on from Hernandez if the occasion arose, as it did on Friday. Boston will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hernandez and keep him in the organization without committing a 40-man roster spot to him.

Hernandez, for his part, does not turn 27 until next December and still has one minor-league option remaining. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound southpaw also possesses upside in the form a high-octane four-seam fastball, a mid-80s slider, and a high-70s curveball. Taking all those factors into consideration, Hernandez could very well draw interest from a team in need of bullpen depth and be traded or claimed off waivers in the coming days.

Regardless of his fate, though, Hernandez becomes the latest in a long line of Red Sox players to be cut from the club’s 40-man roster this winter, joining the likes of Eric Hosmer, Jeter Downs, Tyler Danish, Eduard Bazardo, Abraham Almonte, Franchy Cordero, and Yu Chang.

After removing Hernandez and adding Turner on Friday, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is still at full capacity. They will need to clear another spot once the signing of veteran starter Corey Kluber is made official.

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Justin Turner signing official, designate Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed infielder Justin Turner to a one-year contract for the 2023 season that includes a player option for 2024, the club announced on Friday. In order to make room for Turner on the 40-man roster, reliever Darwinzon Hernandez was designated for assignment.

Turner agreed to a one-year deal with Boston last month after spending the previous nine seasons with the Dodgers. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the 38-year-old will receive a base salary of $8.3 million in 2023 and will have the chance to earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses. If Turner exercises his player option, he will lock himself into a $13.4 million salary for 2024. If he declines it, he would receive $6.7 million in the form of a buyout and become a free agent again next winter.

All told, Turner is guaranteed to make at least $15 million in 2023. If he returns via the player option in 2024, the deal would be worth $21.7 million over the next two seasons and would max out at $22.7 million if he hits on his incentive bonuses. For luxury tax purposes, the average annual value of Turner’s contract comes out to $10.85 million, per The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Turner became a free agent in November after the Dodgers declined his $16 million club option for 2023. In 128 games for Los Angeles last year, the right-handed hitter batted .278/.350/.438 with 36 doubles, 13 home runs, 81 RBIs, 61 runs scored, three stolen bases, 50 walks, and 89 strikeouts over 532 plate appearance. From May 10 through the end of the season, he slashed .306/.388/.488 with 12 homers and 68 runs driven in across 102 games.

In signing with the Red Sox, Turner is expected to take over as the club’s primary designated hitter after J.D. Martinez left for the Dodgers in free agency. The 5-foot-11, 202-pounder could also serve as a right-handed hitting complement to Rafael Devers and Triston Casas — who both hit from the left side of the plate — at third base (his natural position) and first base, respectively.

Turner, who does not turn 39 until November, was originally selected by Cincinnati in the seventh round of the 2006 amateur draft out of Cal State Fullerton. After bouncing around between the Reds, Orioles, and Mets organizations, the Long Beach native found a home with the Dodgers in 2014. During his decorated tenure in Los Angeles, Turner was selected to two All-Star teams (2017 and 2021) and won his first World Series title in 2020. He was also the recipient of the 2022 Roberto Clemente Award.

Hernandez, on the other hand, lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster in order to accommodate the addition of Turner. The 26-year-old left-hander was once considered to be one of the top pitching prospects in the Red Sox farm system but has struggled to find his footing on a consistent basis since debuting in 2019.

This past season, Hernandez allowed 16 earned runs over seven appearances (6 2/3 innings) at the major-league level. With Triple-A Worcester, the Venezuelan-born southpaw posted a 5.73 ERA with 51 strikeouts to 27 walks over 23 outings (one start) spanning 33 innings of work. For his big-league career, he owns a lifetime 5.06 ERA in 85 1/3 innings.

Hernandez does not turn 27 until December and still has one minor-league option remaining, so he could be of interest to other teams in need of relief help. With that being said, the Red Sox will have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hernandez and keep him in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

(Picture of Justin Turner: Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Eric Hosmer, place Rob Refsnyder on injured list in series of roster moves

Before opening a three-game series against the Rays at Fenway Park on Monday, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez was recalled from Triple-A Worcester and first baseman Eric Hosmer was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. Secondly, right-hander Josh Winckowski was optioned following Sunday’s loss to the Blue Jays while outfielder Rob Refsnyder was placed on the 10-day injured list due to low back spasms, the club announced.

Hernandez returns to Boston for his third big-league stint of the season. The 25-year-old southpaw has appeared in just seven games for the Sox and has allowed 17 runs (16 earned) on 14 hits, eight walks, and nine strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings of relief. That is good for an ERA of 21.60 and a FIP of 12.71.

With Hernandez back in the fold, he will join Matt Strahm as lefties the Red Sox will have available out of the bullpen for their final three games of the season.

Hosmer, meanwhile, returns after originally being placed on the injured list with low back inflammation on August 21. Although he has missed each of the Red Sox’ last 38 games, the 32-year-old was not able to go out on a rehab assignment since the minor-league season is already over. He instead spent his weekend hitting off a high-tech pitching simulator at Fenway Park.

“We’ve got this machine down there, it’s like a simulator or whatever,” manager Alex Cora said on Sunday. “What comes out is pretty similar to the stuff [of MLB pitchers]. You put, for example, Gerrit Cole, and the machine actually calibers the stuff based on his last start. So he’s been facing some good big-league pitching the past few days.”

The Red Sox acquired Hosmer and minor-leaguers Corey Rosier and Max Ferguson from the Padres at the trade deadline in exchange for pitching prospect Jay Groome. Hosmer, who turns 33 later this month and is under team control for three more years, has been limited to just 12 games since going from San Diego to Boston.

In those 12 games, the left-handed hitter has batted .225/.311/.300 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts across 45 trips to the plate.

Winckowski, like Hernandez, was a member of the Sox’ taxi squad for their last series in Toronto. The 24-year-old righty was added to the active roster on Saturday to provide Boston with some length out of the bullpen. He made the first relief appearance of his big-league career at Rogers Centre and yielded three runs over three innings of work in 10-o loss to the Jays.

On the 2022 season as a whole, Winckowski — who debuted back in May — posted a 5.89 ERA and 4.95 FIP to go along with 44 strikeouts to 27 walks over 15 appearances (14 starts) spanning 70 1/3 innings pitched.

Refsnyder being placed on the injured list at this stage means that his season is over. The 31-year-old journeyman originally signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox last December. He first joined the big-league club as a COVID-related substitute in April before having his contract selected on a full-time basis in June.

When healthy, Refsnyder proved to be a key contributor off the bench who could play all three outfield positions and do his fair share of damage off left-handed pitching. All told, the right-handed hitter slashed .307/.384/.497 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 15 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 57 games (177 plate appearances) in his first season with the Sox.

Following Monday’s flurry of moves, the Red Sox now have 14 pitchers and 14 position players on their 28-man roster.

(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Michael Wacha from injured list, option Darwinzon Hernandez to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have activated right-hander Michael Wacha from the 15-day injured list. In a corresponding move, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Sunday afternoon.

Wacha returns from the injured list after being sidelined for the last five-plus weeks with right shoulder inflammation. The 31-year-old made two rehab appearances for Triple-A Worcester and Double-A Portland on August 4 and 9, allowing a total of two runs on four hits, three walks, and 13 strikeouts over nine combined innings with the WooSox and Sea Dogs.

At the big-league level this season, Wacha — who signed a one-year, $7 million deal with Boston last November — has posted a 2.69 ERA and 3.97 FIP to go along with 50 strikeouts to 22 walks over 13 starts spanning 70 1/3 innings of work.

Despite missing as much time as he has to this point in the year, Wacha currently leads all Red Sox pitchers in bWAR (2.2), per Baseball-Reference. Boston is 9-4 in games started by Wacha, who will be getting the ball in Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

Hernandez, meanwhile, has struggled to find his footing out of the Red Sox bullpen so far this season. Since making his 2022 debut one month ago Sunday, the 25-year-old has surrendered 17 runs (16 earned) on 14 hits, eight walks, and nine strikeouts across seven outings and 6 2/3 innings pitched. That is good for an ERA of 21.60.

After failing to make Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, Hernandez tore his right meniscus while with the WooSox in May and missed nearly two weeks of action as a result. In Worcester, the Venezuelan-born southpaw has produced a 4.68 ERA (3.59 FIP) over 14 appearances (seven starts) and 25 innings.

With Hernandez being optioned, Austin Davis is now the only left-handed reliever on the Red Sox’ 26-man roster.

(Picture of Michael Wacha: Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

Red Sox endure more bullpen struggles in 8-4 loss to Braves; Tommy Pham homers in third straight game

The Red Sox were swept by the Braves at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Boston fell to Atlanta by a final score of 8-4 to extend its losing streak to four and drop to 54-58 on the season.

Nick Pivetta, making his 23rd start of the year for the Sox, allowed three runs on five hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

All three of those Braves runs came in the top half of the fourth. After giving up a leadoff single to Austin Riley, Pivetta had Eddie Rosario on the ropes with two outs. With the count full, he pinpointed a 93.7 mph four-seam fastball on the outside corner of the lower half of the strike zone.

It should have ended the inning. Home plate umpire Adam Beck instead called it a ball and Rosario took his base. Three pitches later, Pivetta served up a towering, 403-foot three-run shot to Marcell Ozuna on a 91.9 mph four-seamer that was left over the heart of the plate.

Ozuna’s blast over the Green Monster gave Atlanta its first lead of the night at 3-0. Boston countered in its half of the fifth inning when Bobby Dalbec scored from third base while Tommy Pham grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

That was the only run the Red Sox got off Braves starter Kyle Wright. Pivetta, meanwhile, ended his night on a positive note by retiring seven of the final eight batters he faced after giving up that homer to Ozuna.

The 29-year-old right-hander finished with a final pitch count of 108 (69 strikes) while keeping his ERA on the season at 4.51. He hovered around 93.8 mph with his four-seamer, which was slightly up from his yearly average of 93.3 mph, per Baseball Savant.

In relief of Pivetta, Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The left-hander struck out the first Brave he faced in Ozuna, but then gave up a base hit to Michael Harris II that was followed by a two-run home run off the bat of Vaughn Grissom, who was making his major-league debut for Atlanta on Wednesday.

Grissom’s first career homer traveled 412 feet over the Green Monster to give the Braves a 4-1 lead. Hernandez got through the rest of the seventh inning unscathed, but has now allowed 16 earned runs in 6 2/3 innings with the Red Sox this season. That is good for an ERA of 21.60.

In the latter half of the seventh, Dalbec greeted new Braves reliever Dylan Lee with a one-out single. Jaylin Davis, who was pinch-hitting for Jarren Duran, followed with a line-drive base hit of his own to put runners at first and second for Pham, who responded by depositing a 412-foot three-run home run to dead center field.

Pham’s 14th big fly of the season was also his third in his last three games with Boston. It trimmed Atlanta’s lead down to just one run at 5-4 heading into the eighth inning.

Despite his team being in desperate need of a shutdown inning, Ryan Brasier was not up to the task in the eighth. Brasier yielded back-to-back one-out singles to Matt Olson and William Contreras before Rosario ripped an RBI double to left field to plate Olson and Ozuna lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Contreras.

That sequence of events made it a 7-4 contest in favor of the Braves. Austin Davis recorded the final out of the eighth before Kaleb Ort gave up another run-scoring single to Dansby Swanson in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half of the inning, veteran closer Raisel Iglesias made quick work of Dalbec, Davis, and Pham to end the game.

All told, four different Red Sox relievers (Hernandez, Brasier, Davis, and Ort) combined to give up five runs on seven hits over just three innings. Offensively, the Sox went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base as a team.

Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and J.D. Martinez went a combined 1-for-12 with two strikeouts, both of which belonged to Martinez. Alex Verdugo accounted for his side’s only two walks.

By getting swept by the Braves in this brief two-game interleague series, the Red Sox now find themselves trailing the Orioles and Rays (58-52) by five games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Winckowski vs. Kremer

The Red Sox will next welcome the Orioles into town for a quick, lockout-induced one-game series on Thursday. Josh Winckowski is slated to start for Boston while fellow right-hander Dean Kremer will do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Josh Winckowski activated from COVID-19 related injured list; Darwinzon Hernandez, Connor Seabold optioned to Triple-A Worcester; Phillips Valdez designated for assignment

The Red Sox have activated right-hander Josh Winckowski from the COVID-19 related injured list, the club announced before Tuesday’s game against the Guardians at Fenway Park.

In order to make room for Winckowski on the major-league roster, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for Winckowski on the 40-man roster, fellow righty Phillips Valdez was designated for assignment.

Additionally, right-hander Connor Seabold was activated from the 15-day injured list and — like Hernandez — was optioned to Worcester following Monday night’s 3-1 win over Cleveland.

Winckowski returns from the COVID-related injured list after testing positive for the virus on July 13. The 24-year-old, who is vaccinated, has posted a 4.38 ERA and 4.26 FIP with 26 strikeouts to 14 walks over seven starts (37 innings pitched) since making his major-league debut for Boston in late May. He will make his eighth start of the season on Tuesday night.

Hernandez made his season debut for the Red Sox on July 14 after missing the previous two months while recovering from surgery to repair a torn right meniscus. The 25-year-old Venezuelan allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits, two walks, and six strikeouts across four relief appearances spanning 3 2/3 innings of work. With the WooSox, he has pitched to a 5.09 ERA over 23 innings.

Valdez, meanwhile, was originally claimed off waivers from the Mariners in February 2020. The Dominican-born reliever impressed during the shortened 2020 season but has mainly been shuttled between Boston and Worcester for the better part of the last two years.

In 13 appearances for the Red Sox this season, Valdez produced a 4.41 ERA — but much more respectable 3.92 FIP — to go along with 13 strikeouts to seven walks over 16 2/3 innings pitched. Boston will have the next seven days to either trade, release, or sneak the 30-year-old hurler through waivers. If Valdez clears waivers, he could be outrighted to Worcester and remain in the organization as a non-40-man player.

As for Seabold, the 26-year-old was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right forearm extensor strain on July 9, one day after he surrendered seven runs to the Yankees in just 2 2/3 innings. Regarded by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect in Boston’s farm system, Seabold owns a 2.09 ERA with 51 strikeouts to 14 walks over 11 starts (51 2/3 innings) for the WooSox this season.

Following Tuesday’s series of moves, the Red Sox’ 26-man and 40-man rosters are both at full capacity.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox option Darwinzon Hernandez to Triple-A Worcester ahead of Josh Winckowski’s return from COVID-19 related injured list

Following Monday night’s 3-1 win over the Guardians at Fenway Park, the Red Sox optioned left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez to Triple-A Worcester, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

With Josh Winckowski slated to be activated from the COVID-19 related injured list and start against Cleveland on Tuesday, the Sox needed to clear a spot on their 26-man roster for the rookie right-hander.

They have accomplished this by optioning Hernandez, but will still need to create a 40-man roster spot for Winckowski since players on the COVID IL do not count against it and Boston’s 40-man roster is currently at full capacity.

Taking that into consideration, it’s certainly possible that someone like Phillips Valdez — who was optioned to Worcester on July 15 — could be designated for assignment at some point on Tuesday to create that 40-man opening for Winckowski.

Hernandez began the 2022 season at Worcester and made seven starts before suffering a torn right meniscus that ultimately required surgery in late May. The 25-year-old southpaw returned to action for the WooSox earlier this month and did not allow a run across four relief appearances before getting called up to Boston when Winckowski was placed on the COVID IL on July 14.

In his return to the Red Sox bullpen, Hernandez had posted a 3.86 ERA in his first three outings of the year before getting shelled for five runs (four earned) on six hits, one walk, and two strikeouts over 1 1/3 innings in Friday’s 28-5 loss to the Blue Jays.

Winckowski, meanwhile, made his major-league debut on May 28 and has since produced a 4.38 ERA (4.26 FIP) to go along with 26 strikeouts to 14 walks over seven starts spanning 37 innings of work for the Red Sox. The 24-year-old pitched well in his last time out against the Rays at Tropicana Field on July 13, yielding three runs on four hits, two walks, and five strikeouts across six solid frames.

That same night, Winckowski — who is vaccinated — reported COVID-like symptoms to the team and later tested positive for the virus. He was placed on the COVID-related injured list the following day and remained in Florida while in isolation.

Now fully recovered, Winckowski will make his eighth start of the season on Tuesday night. Back on June 25, the Ohio-born righty allowed two runs and struck out four in 5 1/3 innings against the Guardians at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

The Guardians, on the other hand, have not yet named a starter for Tuesday’s contest. That being said, first pitch from Fenway Park is still scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Elsa/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Josh Winckowski on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Darwinzon Hernandez from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed right-hander Josh Winckowski on the COVID-19 related injured list. In a corresponding move, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez has been recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Rays.

Winckowski, who is vaccinated against COVID-19, has tested positive for the virus. The 24-year-old could be out for the next 10 days, though he could return sooner if he registers two negative PCR tests, goes more than 24 hours without a fever, and receives approval from Major League Baseball’s joint medical committee.

Since making his major-league debut in May, Winckowski has made seven starts for the Red Sox, posting a 4.38 ERA and 4.25 FIP to go along with 26 strikeouts to 14 walks over 37 innings of work. Considering that the rookie hurler started against the Rays on Wednesday, he was unlikely to pitch again before the All-Star break.

While on the COVID-19 related injured list, Winckowski will not count against Boston’s 40-man roster, which currently sits at 39 players.

Hernandez, meanwhile, returns to the Red Sox for the first time this season. The 25-year-old southpaw did not make the Opening Day roster out of spring training and was instead sent down to Worcester to work on a starter’s schedule.

Seven starts into his season with the WooSox, Hernandez suffered a torn right meniscus that ultimately required him to undergo knee surgery in late May. The native Venezuelan was sidelined for a little more than two months before being activated from Worcester’s injured list on July 4.

In four relief appearances for the WooSox since then, Hernandez has yet to allow a run while scattering two hits, two walks, and six strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings out of the bullpen.

With the Red Sox last year, Hernandez posted a 3.38 ERA and 4.80 FIP with 54 strikeouts to 31 walks over 48 outings spanning 40 innings of relief.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Darwinzon Hernandez undergoes surgery to repair torn right meniscus

Red Sox left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, manager Alex Cora announced before Thursday’s series opener against the Mariners at Fenway Park.

“I don’t know about the timetable and all that,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) earlier Thursday afternoon, “but hopefully he’ll be back soon.”

Hernandez, who had been with Triple-A Worcester to start the season, tweaked his knee while throwing a bullpen session at Polar Park over the weekend. He was placed on the minor-league injured list this past Tuesday but is now likely headed for the 60-day injured list.

The Red Sox elected to option Hernandez to Worcester towards the end of spring training so that he could improve upon his command and mechanics while working on a starter’s schedule. Put another way, the Venezuelan-born southpaw would make his 2-3-inning start, and then use the days in between outings to work with WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott in order to become more consistent with his delivery.

In eight appearances (seven starts) for the WooSox, Hernandez posted a 5.95 ERA and 4.42 FIP to go along with 30 strikeouts to 16 walks over 19 2/3 innings of work. Last time out against the Rochester Red Wings on May 13, the 25-year-old allowed just one unearned run on three hits, one walk, and three strikeouts across three innings pitched. He retired nine of the 13 batters he faced and 33 of the 43 pitches he threw went for strikes.

Abbott told Cora it was Hernandez’s best start of the season in regards to repeating his delivery.

“Forget the results,” said Cora. “Just repeating his delivery and getting him to where we wanted him to get. The fastball the last two or three, it was on point. He was taking the work that he was doing on the side in between starts to the game. And it sucks for the kid. But we know he’s going to bounce back and he’s going to be OK.”

(Picture of Darwinzon Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)