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)