Rob Refsnyder is in Red Sox’ plans for 2023: ‘He’s a guy we definitely can rely on,’ Alex Cora says

The Red Sox placed Rob Refsnyder on the 10-day injured list with low back spasms on Monday, thus ending the outfielder’s season.

Refsnyder, 31, originally signed a minor-league deal with the Sox last December. The former fifth-round draft pick came with plenty of experience, as he previously bounced around between the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, Rangers, and Twins over the course of six seasons after breaking in with New York in 2015.

Once heralded as a top prospect in the Yankees organization, Refsnyder had to settle for a minors pact with Boston this past winter. After failing to make the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster, the right-handed hitter began his season with Triple-A Worcester. He first served as a COVID-related substitute in late April before having his contract selected on a full-time basis in early June.

Though he missed some time in August with a right knee sprain, Refsnyder still proved to be a valuable asset for the Red Sox in 2022. In 57 games, he batted .307/.384/.497 with 11 doubles, six home runs, 21 RBIs, 25 runs scored, one stolen base, 15 walks, and 46 strikeouts over 177 plate appearances.

“Great season. Great job for us,” manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne) on Monday. “He was really good. Offensively, the versatility, the quality of the at-bats were awesome.”

As advertised, Refsnyder proved to be particularly effective against left-handed pitching by going 23-for-64 (.359) with six doubles and three homers off southpaws. He also posted a .417 on-base percentage and .932 OPS in 17 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter.

Defensively, Refsnyder saw playing time at all three outfield positions for the Sox. The 6-foot, 205-pounder logged 163 innings in right, 115 innings in center, and 24 2/3 innings in left. His one outfield assist came against the Rays at Tropicana Field on April 24. He also made a fantastic diving catch against the Mariners in Seattle on June 12.

Refsnyder, who turns 32 in March, is under club control through 2024 and is eligible for salary arbitration next year. Given his ability to hit lefties and play all over the outfield, it certainly seems like Refsnyder is in the Red Sox’ plans for 2023 as a potential fourth outfielder.

“He’s a guy we definitely can rely on,” Cora said, via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. “We recognized it in spring training. I remember we were talking (during) the lockout and all that. We had our meetings with the information department. And the ability to impact the baseball was there and the projections. Defensively solid.

“It’s a matter of staying healthy,” added Cora. “That’s the most important thing with him. We’ll set up a good program for him in the off-season and this is a guy we really like. We really like. And he can contribute at this level.”

(Picture of Rob Refsnyder: Paul Rutherford/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 likely to activate Eric Hosmer from injured list on Monday

The Red Sox are going to activate first baseman Eric Hosmer from the injured list on Monday, manager Alex Cora said prior to Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Hosmer, who has been sidelined with low back inflammation since August 22, will be available for the team’s final series of the season against the Rays in Boston.

With the minor-league season already completed, Hosmer was unable to go out on a rehab assignment in order to get at-bats. He instead spent his weekend hitting off a high-tech pitching simulator at Fenway Park. According to Cora, this machine is expensive and is only owned by five big-league organizations.

“We’ve got this machine down there, it’s like a simulator or whatever,” Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne). “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.”

Cora also indicated that Hosmer would make one start against the Rays in order to get fellow first baseman Triston Casas off his feet for a day.

“Give him a start. Give [Casas] a day off,” Cora said (via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith). “But we’ll use him. It’s good that he wanted to do it. He put himself in this situation and we’ll use him.”

Hosmer, who turns 33 later this month, has appeared in just 12 games with the Red Sox since being acquired from the Padres at the trade deadline. Boston also received minor-leaguers Max Ferguson and Corey Rosier and cash considerations in the deal while San Diego picked up pitching prospect Jay Groome.

In those 12 games with the Sox, the left-handed hitting Hosmer batted .225/.311/.300 with three doubles, four RBIs, six runs scored, four walks, and nine strikeouts across 45 trips to the plate before being placed on the injured list.

Given that his contract runs through 2025, it should be interesting to see what the Red Sox decide to do with Hosmer this winter. When the trade was made two months ago, the Padres agreed to pay the remainder of Hosmer’s deal down to the league minimum. This means that the Sox are only responsible for a mere fraction of the $39 million owed to the former All-Star over the next three years.

Taking that into consideration, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. could possibly entertain trade offers for Hosmer since Casas — who also hits from the left side of the plate — appears to be Boston’s first baseman of the future.

While a Casas-Hosmer platoon would prove to be redundant, the Sox could still hold on to Hosmer since veteran slugger J.D. Martinez is about to hit free agency. If the club elects to move on from Martinez, Hosmer could potentially fill in at designated hitter next season.

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

Trevor Story’s first season with the Red Sox is likely over

The Red Sox had been optimistic that second baseman Trevor Story would be able to come off the injured list in time for the team’s final series of the season next week. That no longer seems realistic.

Story, who has been sidelined with a left heel contusion since September 11, has been feeling under the weather. As a result, he will not be able to travel with the Red Sox to Toronto for this weekend’s series against the Blue Jays, manager Alex Cora said on Thursday.

If this is indeed it for Story in 2022, it was certainly an eventful first season in Boston. After spending the first six years of his big-league career with the Rockies, the 29-year-old infielder signed a six-year, $140 million contract with the Red Sox in March.

That began a string of new experiences for Story, who was switching teams, cities, leagues, and positions while becoming a father for the first time. Shortly into his Red Sox tenure, Story missed three games in April due to a stomach bug. He then missed 38 games over the summer after being hit by a pitch on July 12 that caused a small hairline fracture near his right wrist.

The heel contusion that Story sustained in Baltimore earlier this month has him on track to miss the final 21 games of the season. If he does not appear in another contest, Story would have only played in 94 games this year. Outside of the COVID-shortened 2020 season — in which he appeared in 59 of 60 games for Colorado — that would be the lowest total of his career.

In those 94 games, Story proved to be inconsistent at times offensively. While the right-handed hitter had his moments — such as when he put the Red Sox on his back for a week in May — he ultimately slashed just .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 122 strikeouts in 396 plate appearances. With a 100 wRC+, he was, in essence, a league-average hitter.

Defensively, however, Story proved to be far above average. His six defensive runs saved rank eighth among all major-league second basemen. That level of production comes after Story had only played shortstop in his six seasons with the Rockies.

Between what he did at the plate and in the field, Story ranks fifth on the Red Sox in bWAR (2.5), per Baseball-Reference. By no means is that bad, though it is rather underwhelming for a player of Story’s caliber.

In a recent conversation with Cora at Tropicana Field, Story vowed that he would be better in 2023.

“I said, ‘We’re going to be better. I promise you we’re going to be better,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo). “He’s like, ‘I promise you I’m going to be better.’ So we’re on the same page as far as that.”

Story, who will be entering the second year of his six-year deal, is expected to be a big part of the Red Sox roster for the foreseeable future. The same cannot be said for Xander Bogaerts, who has the ability to opt out of his deal and become a free-agent this winter.

In theory, the Red Sox could move Story back to his natural position at shortstop if Bogaerts winds up signing elsewhere in 2023. Cora, however, does not want to entertain that possibility quite yet.

“Obviously, the goal here is for him to play second. I don’t want him to play short,” Cora said. “But just the athlete, you see it. You see the athlete and the range. It’s not that he’s fast. It’s one thing to be fast. I was slow, I was a slow runner, but I was a quick defender. He’s both, with the way he moves. It’s impressive.”

Hailed by Cora as a “great” teammate, Story has already said that he would like to continue playing alongside Bogaerts beyond this season. Cora anticipates that he will play a key role in recruiting other free agents as well.

“He’s all-in with us. He’s a good player,” said Cora. “He is. You see the record when he played and he didn’t play. It’s day and night. He’s going to help us to win a lot of games.”

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Trevor Story could return for final series of season against Rays

If Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story plays again this season, it will come in the team’s final series of the year against the Rays at Fenway Park next week.

Story, who has been sidelined with a left heel contusion since September 11, continues to feel discomfort when he runs. The Red Sox originally thought it was a day-to-day injury, but later opted to place the veteran infielder on the 10-day injured list last Monday.

With time running out on the season, manager Alex Cora said Tuesday that Story would not play in this weekend’s series in Toronto because he does not want the 29-year-old running on the turf at Rogers Centre.

“We’re trying,” Cora told reporters (including MLB.com’s Ian Browne). “He’s out there taking grounders. The running progression is the hard part. The moving around and the swinging the bat has been OK, but when he gets to that 70-75 percent, that’s when he feels it. We’re still working, and hopefully he can play a few games.”

Story, who signed a six-year, $140 million deal with Boston in March, has been limited to just 94 games this season due to two stints on the injured list. He missed more than six weeks of action earlier this summer because of a small hairline fracture near his right wrist.

Upon returning from the IL in late August, the right-handed hitter put together a productive 13-game stretch before slipping on the first-base bag in Baltimore earlier this month. He has now missed each of the Red Sox’ last 13 games coming into play on Tuesday and will miss at least five more through the weekend.

When healthy, Story has batted .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 122 strikeouts in 396 trips to the plate. He has also posted five Defensive Runs Saved and 10 Outs Above Average in 813 2/3 innings at second base.

If Story is able to run without any sort of discomfort in the coming days, he should have the chance to end his first season in a Red Sox uniform on an encouraging note and — perhaps more importantly — on his own terms.

(Picture of Trevor Story: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock undergoes successful hip surgery

Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock has undergone a successful right hip arthroscopy. The procedure was performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, the club announced Monday.

Whitlock, who was shut down from throwing last week, has been hampered by hip issues throughout the season. The right-hander spent more than a month on the injured list earlier this summer because of right hip inflammation and had been walking with a noticeable limp during the second half of the year.

While the Red Sox initially tried to manage the issue by carefully limiting Whitlock’s workload, they reached a point where shutting him down and opting for surgery became the best option available as they continued to slide out of contention.

Despite any discomfort he may have felt on the mound, Whitlock still put together a productive season. The 26-year-old hurler posted a 3.45 ERA and 3.30 FIP to go along with 82 strikeouts to 15 walks over 31 appearances (nine starts) spanning 78 1/3 innings of work.

After spending the first few weeks of the 2022 campaign in the bullpen, Whitlock moved to Boston’s starting rotation in late April. The righty produced a 4.15 ERA (3.61 FIP) across 39 innings as a starter before moving back to the bullpen on July 15. As a reliever, he pitched to a 2.75 ERA with 44 strikeouts to just six walks over 39 1/3 frames.

Whitlock, who was originally acquired from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, signed a four-year, $18.75 million contract extension with the Red Sox back in April. That deal includes club options for an additional two years, so Whitlock is under club control through the end of the 2028 season. It also comes with escalators that would increase the value of the contract if he accumulates a significant number of innings as a starter.

Because of that, the Red Sox will have an important decision to make this winter when it comes to determining if Whitlock is better suited to be a starter or a reliever in the long-run. The club does expect Whitlock to be ready for the start of spring training in February.

In the meantime, Whitlock’s spot on the major-league roster has been taken by fellow righty Connor Seabold. If they so choose, the Sox could elect to transfer Whitlock to the 60-day injured list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Trevor Story on injured list with left heel contusion, recall Bobby Dalbec from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed second baseman Trevor Story on the 10-day injured list with a left heel contusion. In a corresponding move, first baseman/third baseman Bobby Dalbec was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced prior to Thursday’s series opener against the Yankees.

Story has not played since September 11, when he banged his left heel on the first-base bag in the seventh inning of a 1-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. At that time, it was not believed that the 29-year-old would be sidelined for long.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora had said several times over the last 11 days that Story could be back in the lineup soon, but that timeline kept getting pushed back to the point where a trip to the injured list became necessary.

Since his stint on the injured list was backdated to Sept. 19, Story will first be eligible to be activated one week from Thursday. The Red Sox will have just seven games remaining on their schedule at that point, so they could very well elect to shut down the veteran infielder for the remainder of the year.

Story, who is in the first year of a six-year, $140 million contract, spent more than six weeks on the injured list earlier this summer because of a small hairline fracture near his right wrist. Upon returning from the IL, the right-handed hitter batted .340/.389/.500 with five doubles, one home run, eight RBIs, four runs scored, three stolen bases, four walks, and 17 strikeouts across 13 games (54 plate appearances) before injuring his heel two Sundays ago.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Story has slashed .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 132 strikeouts over 94 games and 396 trips to the plate. He has also been one of the better defensive second baseman in the American League when healthy.

With Story out of action for the time being, Christian Arroyo, Enrique Hernandez, and Yu Chang figure to see the lion’s share of their playing time come at second base. Chang will be making his second start there for Boston on Thursday.

Dalbec, meanwhile, returns to the Red Sox after being sent down on Sept. 4, when fellow first baseman Triston Casas was called up from Worcester. From the time he was demoted, the 27-year-old slugger appeared in 13 games for the WooSox and went 12-for-48 (.250) with five home runs and eight runs driven in.

At the big-league level this season, Dalbec has struggled to a .211/.282/.362 slash line to go along with nine doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 36 RBIs, 38 runs scored, three stolen bases, 29 walks, and 113 strikeouts in 111 games (340 plate appearances). He is not in Thursday’s starting lineup.

(Picture of Trevor Story: G Fiume/Getty Images)

Red Sox closer Tanner Houck undergoes successful back surgery

Red Sox closer Tanner Houck underwent successful back surgery in Boston on Tuesday, the club announced. The right-hander had a lumbar discectomy performed by Dr. Christopher Bono at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Houck will miss the remainder of the 2022 season but is expected to be ready for the start of spring training in 2023. According to Hopkins Medicine, a lumbar discectomy is a minimally invasive type of surgery to fix a disc in the lower back.

Manager Alex Cora had revealed over the weekend that Houck would be undergoing season-ending surgery. The 26-year-old hurler was originally placed on the 15-day injured list because of lower back inflammation on August 6. He initially responded well to treatment and was making progress towards a return last week before continued back soreness forced the Red Sox to shut him down again.

It then became apparent that surgery, as opposed to rest, was the best course of action for both sides to take.

“Obviously we pushed it to pitch. But the strength is not back,” Cora told reporters on Saturday. “He was almost there. But it didn’t work out. So everybody decided this is the best course of action and he should be OK.”

All told, Houck posted a 3.15 ERA and 3.31 FIP with 56 strikeouts to 22 walks over 32 appearances (four starts) spanning 60 innings of work this season. The righty made all four of those starts in April before moving to the bullpen on a full-time basis on May 15.

From there, Houck ultimately assumed the role of Boston’s closer and pitched to a 1.49 ERA (3.18 FIP) to go along with 33 strikeouts and 11 walks across 25 relief outings (36 1/3 innings). He also converted eight of nine save opportunities.

Given his experience as a starter and reliever, the Red Sox will sit down with Houck at some point this off-season to determine how they can best utilize the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder moving forward.

“Tanner, he’s done it as a starter and a reliever,” said Cora. “He made some strides. I think he learned a lot about himself. He actually willed himself for a while there to be available, which is very important.”

The Red Sox transferred Houck to the 60-day injured list on Sunday, so he does not currently count against the club’s 40-man roster. That being said, the former first-rounder remains under team control through the end of the 2027 season.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Kutter Crawford on 15-day injured list with right shoulder impingement

The Red Sox have placed right-hander Kutter Crawford on the 15-day injured list with a right shoulder impingement. In a corresponding move, fellow rookie righty was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Sunday morning.

Crawford was originally slated to start Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers at Fenway Park. He was instead scratched after experiencing shoulder soreness. The 26-year-old’s stint on the injured list is backdated to September 1, so he will first be eligible to return when the Red Sox open a three-game weekend series with the Royals on Sept. 16.

When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) prior to Sunday’s 5-2 win over Texas, Red Sox manager Alex Cora expressed optimism that Crawford would only require the minimum 15 dats on the injured list.

Crawford, who last pitched in Minnesota on Tuesday, has posted a 5.47 ERA and 4.35 FIP with 77 strikeouts to 29 walks over 21 appearances (12 starts) spanning 77 1/3 innings of work for Boston this season. While there have been some impressive stretches, he has gotten tagged for 18 runs (17 earned) in his last three starts (12 2/3 innings) dating back to August 19. That is good for an ERA of 12.08.

With Crawford sidelined for the time being, Winckowski took his spot in the starting rotation on Sunday. The 24-year-old allowed two runs on three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts over four innings of work.

Both of those runs came right away in the top of the first, but Winckowski settled down and tossed three consecutive scoreless frames to end his day on a more positive note. He finished with a final pitch count of 82 (47 strikes) and lowered his ERA to 5.75, though he did not factor into the decision.

As it turns out, Winckowski’s latest big-league stint may be short-lived. As Cotillo reports, the Red Sox will need to clear a roster spot for reliever Zack Kelly, who was placed on the paternity leave list on Friday.

Kelly and his wife, Brittany, have since welcomed their first child. The 27-year-old is expected to re-join the Red Sox in St. Petersburg on Monday ahead of their upcoming series against the Rays.

That being said, it appears as though Winckowski will be optioned back to Worcester when Kelly is activated from the paternity leave list at some point on Monday. The Red Sox have three off days within the next two weeks, so they should be able to operate with a four-man starting rotation for the time being.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox closer Tanner Houck to undergo back surgery

Red Sox closer Tanner Houck will undergo back surgery on Tuesday, manager Alex Cora announced ahead of Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Rangers at Fenway Park.

Houck, who last pitched on August 2, will miss the remainder of the 2022 season. But he is expected to make a full recovery and subsequently be ready for spring training in February.

Boston originally placed Houck on the 15-day injured list with lower back inflammation on Aug. 6. The 26-year-old right-hander was later diagnosed with a disc issue in his lower back after being examined by a spine specialist in the city.

While the Red Sox elected to briefly shut down Houck, they were hopeful he would respond positively to treatment. That appeared to be the case when he resumed playing catch last week and was scheduled to throw live batting practice in Worcester on Tuesday. But that did not happen as scheduled, as Houck was completely shut down from baseball activities due to continued back soreness.

“It’s disc related,” Cora said (via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) of Houck’s impending surgery. “He should be fine for spring training. Obviously we pushed it to pitch. But the strength is not back. He was almost there. But it didn’t work out. So everybody decided this is the best course of action and he should be OK.”

With his year now over, Houck has finished his third year in the big-leagues having posted a 3.15 ERA and 3.31 FIP with 56 strikeouts to 22 walks over 32 appearances (four starts) spanning 60 innings of work. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound hurler made all four of those starts in April before moving to the bullpen on a full-time basis on May 15.

From there, Houck ultimately assumed the role of Boston’s closer while pitching to a 1.49 ERA (3.18 FIP) to go along with 33 strikeouts and 11 walks across 25 relief outings (36 1/3 innings). He also converted eight of nine save opportunities.

“I thought he was solid,” Cora said. “Obviously as a starter, he did his thing. Then, we moved him to the bullpen and I think he was really good in the bullpen. The stuff is really good.”

Cora added that during the off-season, the Red Sox will sit down and talk about how to best utilize Houck and fellow righty Garrett Whitlock. The pair now have experience starting and closing out games at the major-league level, which is a valuable asset.

“We know they can do both,” said Cora. “Obviously that’s a bigger conversation to where we’re going to go and what we’re going to try to do in the off-season. But they can impact the game on either side — the first five innings or the last four innings. They’re that good. And Tanner, he’s done it as a starter and a reliever. He made some strides. I think he learned a lot about himself. He actually willed himself for a while there to be available, which is very important.”

Houck, who does not turn 27 until next June and is under club control through 2027, will likely be placed on the 60-day injured list. That would allow the Red Sox to create an opening on their 40-man roster for the impending promotion of Triston Casas.

(Picture of Tanner Houck: Maddie Mayer/Getty Images)