The Red Sox have reinstated outfielder Jarren Duran and infielder Jonathan Arauz from the COVID-19 related injured list and have optioned both of them to Triple-A Worcester.
In order to make room on the 40-man roster for Duran and Arauz, right-handers Geoff Hartlieb and Yacksel Rios were designated for assignment, the club announced on Thursday.
Though the Sox are off on Thursday, they remain active ahead of their pivotal three-game weekend series against the Yankees that begins at Fenway Park on Friday night.
Duran, who turned 25 earlier this month, was originally placed on the COVID-19 related injured list shortly before his birthday after exhibiting symptoms and testing positive for the virus on September 3.
Following a mandatory 10-day quarantine period at a Boston hotel, Duran was sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester last Friday. The speedy outfielder went 4-for-13 (.231) at the plate with one double, one RBI, and three strikeouts over four games for the WooSox before officially being reinstated from the COVID IL.
Now that he is considered fully healthy, Duran represents an intriguing option for the Red Sox moving forward. Given how he has struggled to the tune of a .215/.241/.336 slash line at the major-league level since debuting with Boston in July, it’s unlikely the left-handed hitter could garner legitimate playing time– especially when you consider how crowded the Red Sox outfield is.
Still, one of Duran’s standout tools has always been his speed, and that speed could help the former seventh-round draft pick earn a call back up to the Sox in order to serve as a base-stealing specialist off the bench.
Arauz, meanwhile, was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on September 10 while the Red Sox were in Chicago, though he never tested positive for the virus despite displaying symptoms.
Since he tested negative for the coronavirus on multiple occasions, Arauz’s quarantine period lasted less than 10 days, as he was sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester this past Saturday.
In his last three games with the WooSox, the 23-year-old switch-hitter has gone 3-for-10 (.300) with a double, two runs scored, and a strikeout while primarily playing second base and third base.
With Duran and Arauz both coming off the COVID IL on Thursday, the Red Sox now have just three players sidelined on account of the virus in Phillips Valdez, Yairo Munoz, and Danny Santana.
All three of Valdez, Munoz, and Santana were present for Boston’s team picture day on Wednesday, so it appears as though they could be activated soon as well.
On the other side of this roster move, the Sox designated both Hartlieb and Rios for assignment, thus removing the pair of righties from their 40-man roster.
Hartlieb, 27, was initially claimed off waivers by the Red Sox on September 4, just two days after he had been designated by the Mets.
Promptly optioned and assigned to Worcester, Hartlieb appeared in just two games for the WooSox, allowing a total of one unearned run on two walks and two hit batsmen over two innings of work separated by nine days.
Rios, on the other hand, was originally acquired from the Mariners in exchange for cash considerations back on June 14 and was added to the active roster two days later.
In 20 relief appearances out of the Red Sox bullpen, the 28-year-old out of Puerto Rico posted a 3.70 ERA and 4.89 FIP to go along with 21 strikeouts to 14 walks over 24 1/3 total innings of work.
Boston optioned Rios to Worcester on August 14 in order to accommodate the additions of Chris Sale and Christian Vazquez to the major-league roster. He was later placed on the minor-league injured list on Aug. 22 and was held out of action for three weeks.
While with the WooSox, though, Rios put up a 3.60 ERA, a 1.77 FIP, and 7:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in four outings (five innings pitched) coming into play on Thursday.
The Red Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Hartlieb and Rios.
Per MLB Trade Rumors’ Anthony Franco, Hartlieb can still be optioned through the end of the 2022 season, so him getting claimed by another club is not out of the question.
As for Rios, he has the right to elect free agency if he goes unclaimed on waivers since he has previously been outrighted in his career.
(Picture of Jarren Duran: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)