Former Red Sox infielder Michael Chavis agrees to minor-league deal with Nationals

Former Red Sox infielder Michael Chavis has agreed to terms on a minor-league contract with the Nationals, according to Andrew Golden of The Washington Post.

Chavis, 27, will earn $1 million if he makes Washington’s big-league roster and will have the chance to earn an additional $500,000 in incentives, per Golden. If he is not in the majors by June 1, Chavis can exercise an opt-out clause that would allow him to become a free agent again.

A former first-round draft pick of the Red Sox out of Sprayberry High School (Marietta, Ga.) in 2014, Chavis established himself as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system before debuting for the club in April 2019. He batted .254/.322/.444 with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs over 95 games (382 plate appearances) as a rookie but has been unable to replicate that same sort of power production since then.

After striking out in more than 31 percent of his plate appearances during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, Chavis failed to make Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training in 2021 and instead began the year at the club’s alternate training site. He was called up for the first time in early April and slashed just .190/.207/.342 with two home runs and six RBIs across 31 games before being dealt to the Pirates in exchange for left-handed reliever Austin Davis ahead of the 2021 trade deadline and reuniting with former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.

Chavis did not make his Pirates debut until late August and was limited to just 12 games due to a right elbow strain that kept him sidelined for nearly month. In those 12 games, however, the right-handed hitter went 15-for-42 (.357) at the plate with three doubles, one home run, and five runs driven in.

While he impressed in that brief sample size, Chavis’ first full season in Pittsburgh did not go according to plan. In a career-high 129 games played last year, Chavis produced a .229/.265/.389 slash line to go along with 16 doubles, three triples, 14 homers, 49 RBIs, 39 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 126 strikeouts over 426 plate appearances. He was designated for assignment at the end of September and elected free agency after clearing waivers.

Chavis, who does not turn 28 until next August, is now with his fourth professional organization. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has one minor-league option year remaining and has past experience at every defensive position besides pitcher, catcher, shortstop, and center field.

For his major-league career, Chavis is a lifetime .229/.265/.389 hitter with 40 home runs and 137 RBIs in 309 total games between the Red Sox and Pirates. In parts of three minor-league seasons at the Triple-A level, Chavis has hit .268/.336/.553 with 23 home runs and 55 RBIs over 78 games from 2018-2019 and 2021.

Chavis becomes the latest former Red Sox prospect to join the Nationals organization in some capacity this offseason. Last month, right-hander Thad Ward was taken by Washington in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft while fellow infielder Jeter Downs was claimed off waivers after being designated for assignment by Boston on December 15.

(Picture of Michael Chavis: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Red Sox lose Jeter Downs on waivers to Nationals

The Red Sox have lost infielder Jeter Downs on waivers to the Nationals, the club announced earlier Thursday afternoon.

Downs, 24, was designated for assignment last week after the Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for the addition of Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida.

Boston originally acquired Downs — as well as outfielder Alex Verdugo and catcher Connor Wong — from the Dodgers in the February 2020 trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles. The native Colombian came into the Red Sox organization as one of its top prospects and a top-100 prospect in all of baseball, but he has since seen his stock fall significantly.

After the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 minor-league season, Downs did not make his organizational debut until last spring with Triple-A Worcester. The right-handed hitter struggled to the tune of a .191/272/.333 slash line to go along with 14 home runs, 39 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases over 99 games (405 plate appearances) with the WooSox in 2021. He then showed some signs of promise in the Arizona Fall League and was subsequently added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November.

Downs returned to Worcester this past season and batted .197/.316/.412 with 16 home runs and 33 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases across 81 games (335 plate appearances). He made his major-league debut in June, but he went just 6-for-39 (.154) at the plate with one double and one home run while punching out in 51.2% of his plate appearances. Downs was sent back down to the WooSox in late July and then suffered a season-ending left ankle sprain on August 18.

The Red Sox, for their part, remained intrigued by Downs’ speed and power and were encouraged by the defensive improvements he has made since being traded. At the same time, though, his high swing-and-miss rates were certainly concerning and were part of the reason why the club ultimately elected to cut him loose.

“This was a tough one,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said of the decision to designate Downs last week. “The fact that he was in a position where we considered him and chose him to be designated, I think just speaks to some of the struggles we’ve had getting him on track. I still think there’s a lot of physical ability there but we haven’t been able to unlock it consistently. Certainly know he’s still young and there’s no reason to write him off but he has obviously had some struggles.”

In being claimed by the Nationals, Downs will now be joining his fourth pro organization. He was first drafted by the Reds in 2017 and was then traded to the Dodgers in 2018 before being dealt to the Red Sox in early 2020. Downs does have two minor-league options remaining, so he could be shuttled between Washington and its Triple-A affiliate in 2023.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox’ Chaim Bloom on decision to designate Jeter Downs for assignment: ‘This was a tough one’

The Red Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster in order to make the signing of Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida official on Thursday. They did so by designating infielder Jeter Downs for assignment.

Downs was one of three players — along with Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong — acquired from the Dodgers in the February 2020 trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles. The then-21-year-old was viewed as the top prospect in the deal after batting .276/.362/.526 with 24 home runs and 24 stolen bases between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa in 2019.

Coming into the 2020 season, Downs was regarded by Baseball America as the No. 3 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 86 prospect in all of baseball. He spent the entirety of that summer at the Red Sox’ alternate training site in Pawtucket after the minor-league season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but then made the jump to Triple-A Worcester last spring.

Downs entered the 2021 campaign ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 71 prospect in the sport. The right-handed hitter saw his stock drop significantly after batting just .191/.272/.333 with 14 home runs, 39 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases over 99 games (405 plate appearances) in his first season with the WooSox. He did, however, post an .880 OPS in the Arizona Fall League and was subsequently added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster last November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

After a disappointing 2021, Downs fell off Baseball America’s top 100 list completely but was still regarded by the publication as the No. 19 prospect in the Red Sox organization. He once again broke camp with the WooSox this spring but still struggled to find his footing at the plate even while repeating a level.

In 81 games with the WooSox this year, Downs batted .197/.316/.412 with 11 doubles, one triple, 16 homers, 33 runs driven in, 56 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 38 walks, and 99 strikeouts across 335 trips to the plate. He made his major-league debut in June but hit just .154 (6-for-39) with one home run, four RBIs, four runs scored, one walk, and 21 strikeouts over 14 games before being sent back down to Worcester in late July. On August 18, Downs suffered a left ankle sprain that prematurely ended his season. He returned to action in the Puerto Rican Winter League, but managed a meager .146/.263/.188 slash line in 16 games with the Indios de Mayaguez before being released by the club earlier this month.

Despite the fact that he is still just 24 years old and was once, the Red Sox elected to designate Downs for assignment less than three years after trading for him. The decision to cut bait with Downs carries more weight when the other two players from the Betts deal have not exactly panned out, either. Verdugo, for the most part, has been an average outfielder in each of the last three seasons while Wong has accrued 70 big-league plate appearances over the last two seasons and projects to be a backup catcher as opposed to a starter.

As a former first-round draft pick who has been involved in two blockbuster trades, Downs was thought to have a ceiling that matched or even exceeded that of Verdugo, a former top prospect himself. He has instead shown that he is not yet able to handle major-league pitching, as evidenced by his dismal 51.4 percent strikeout rate and 41.7 percent whiff rate in a limited sample this year.

When speaking with reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon, Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom acknowledged that although the decision to designate Downs was a tough one, the fact that he was part of the Betts trade did not factor into it.

“I don’t think it changes what the decision is, because ultimately we have our responsibility to every player in this organization to make the right decision by all of them when we’re making decisions for the organization,” Bloom said. “No doubt he was a big part of a really significant trade. That we haven’t gotten him to the level we expected hurts. But at the end of the day, we want to do right by all of our players and he was the right decision, we thought, in this case.”

Downs, who does not turn 25 until next July, has two minor-league options remaining. While he has regressed offensively over the last two years, Downs did make strides defensively and can play both middle infield positions adequately. He also possesses intriguing power and speed, which will no-doubt make him of interest to other teams despite his concerning swing-and-miss rates against experienced pitching. The Red Sox will have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Downs, who can be outrighted to Triple-A if he clears waivers.

“We knew, adding Masa, that we’d have a tough decision to make,” said Bloom. “That’s where we are with our 40-man. This is a good thing for the roster but there are only tough decisions from here on out. And this was a tough one. The fact that he was in a position where we considered him and chose him to be designated, I think just speaks to some of the struggles we’ve had getting him on track. I still think there’s a lot of physical ability there but we haven’t been able to unlock it consistently. Certainly know he’s still young and there’s no reason to write him off but he has obviously had some struggles.”

Though Downs did struggle with the Red Sox this season, he did enjoy a few memorable moments. His first career hit led to a walk-off win over the Yankees at Fenway Park on July 9. He then hit his first home run off Gerrit Cole at Yankee Stadium eight days later.

“I’m glad he was able to get to the big leagues with us,” Bloom said. “I was glad he was able to have a moment with us here at Fenway and help us win a big game. That was a lot of fun for a lot of people. But obviously, we haven’t been able to get him to that success as consistently as anybody would have liked, least of all Jeter.”

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox make Masataka Yoshida signing official, designate Jeter Downs for assignment

The Red Sox have officially signed Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year contract that runs through the 2027 season, the club announced on Thursday. In order to make room for Yoshida on the 40-man roster, infielder Jeter Downs was designated for assignment.

Yoshida, 29, agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal with the Red Sox last week — just hours after he was posted by the Orix Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball — and was introduced to the media at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon. Boston also paid Orix a $15.375 million posting fee for Yoshida’s services, which takes the total value of the club’s investment to over $105 million.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Yoshida received a $13 million signing bonus from the Red Sox and will earn $15 million in 2023 before earning $18 million per year from 2024 through 2027. The deal does not contain any performance bonuses, team options, or opt-out clauses and is the second-largest contract Chaim Bloom has given out since taking over as Boston’s chief baseball officer in October 2019. Only the six-year, $140 million deal that Trevor Story signed back in March surpasses it.

A native of Fukui, Yoshida initially broke in with Orix in 2016 and spent the last seven seasons playing at Japan’s top level. In 2022, the left-handed hitter batted a stout .335/.447/.561 with 28 doubles, one triple, 21 home runs, 88 RBIs, 56 runs scored, four stolen bases, 80 walks, and just 41 strikeouts over 119 games (508 plate appearances). For his NPB career, he is a lifetime .327/.421/.539 hitter who hit 133 homers and collected 467 RBIs in 762 games with the Buffaloes.

Yoshida has drawn more walks than strikeouts in each of the last four seasons and is well-regarded for his plate discipline. With that kind of approach, he could profile best as Boston’s leadoff hitter or even as a middle-of-the-lineup option in 2023.

Defensively, Yoshida figures to see the majority of his playing time with the Red Sox come in left field. There are some question marks surrounding the 5-foot-8, 176-pounder’s range and arm strength, but he could always be an option to fill in at designated hitter when needed.

Yoshida, who turns 30 in July, will wear the No. 7 with the Red Sox. He becomes the first position player and the fourth overall free agent signing Boston has made this winter, joining the likes of relievers Joely Rodriguez, Chris Martin, and Kenley Jansen.

Downs, on the other hand, was one of three players — along with Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong — acquired from the Dodgers in the February 2020 trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles. The native Colombian came into the Red Sox organization as one of its top prospects but has since seen his stock fall significantly.

After the 2020 minor-league season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Downs began the 2021 campaign with Triple-A Worcester. The right-handed hitter batted just .191/272/.333 with 14 home runs and 39 RBIs in 99 games (405 plate appearances) with the WooSox, but showed signs of promise in the Arizona Fall League and was added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November.

Downs returned to Worcester this spring and slashed .197/.316/.412 with 16 home runs and 33 RBIs over 81 games (335 plate appearances). The 24-year-old made his major-league debut in June but managed to go just 6-for-39 (.154) at the plate with one double and one homer while striking out 21 times. He was sent down in late July and then suffered a season-ending left ankle sprain at Polar Park on August 18.

Despite the offensive struggles he has endured at both the Triple-A and big-league level, it is still somewhat surprising to see the Red Sox designate Downs for assignment. As noted by Cotillo, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder is seen as a competent middle infielder who possesses both speed and power. While the rate at which he swings-and-misses is concerning, Downs does have two minor-league options remaining and could therefore appeal to other clubs.

The Red Sox, for their part, will have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Downs. If he clears waivers, Boston can outright him to Triple-A and keep him in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

(Picture of Masataka Yoshida: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospect Jeter Downs day-to-day after spraining left ankle in Worcester

Red Sox infield prospect Jeter Downs sprained his left ankle in Triple-A Worcester’s 9-8 win over the Rochester Red Wings at Polar Park on Thursday night.

With two outs in the fifth inning, Downs roped a single to left field and attempted to turn it into a double. He instead tripped halfway between first and second base and immediately grabbed at his left ankle.

After being tagged out, Downs remained on the ground in visible pain. He was escorted off the field by WooSox outfielder Abraham Almonte and bench coach Jose Flores, though he was unable to put any weight on his left leg as he was helped to the Worcester dugout.

On Friday afternoon, Downs was seen limping around the WooSox’ clubhouse. He was not in the starting lineup for Friday’s contest against Rochester and is considered day-to-day, per manager Chad Tracy.

“We all think a sprained ankle is like going to the outside. It’s more of an inward sprain,” Tracy said, via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith. “So hopefully, not too long. “It’s hard to say. Day-to-day right now. Let him do treatment like crazy and see where we’re at when we get through the weekend.”

Downs, 24, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 19 prospect in Boston’s farm system. In 81 games with the WooSox this season, the right-handed hitter has batted .197/.316/.412 (95 wRC+) to go along with 11 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 33 RBIs, 56 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 38 walks, and 99 strikeouts over 335 plate appearances.

One of three players acquired from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade in February 2020, Downs made his major-league debut for the Red Sox in June. In two stints (June 20-23, July 9-30) with the big-league club thus far, the native Colombian has slashed .154/.171/.256 (8 wRC+) with one double, one homer, four RBIs, four runs scored, one walk, and 21 strikeouts across 14 games spanning 41 trips to the plate.

Traditionally a middle infielder throughout his minor-league career, Downs debuted for Boston at third base and has since been worth one out above average over 32 innings at the position in the majors.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

Red Sox call up Jeter Downs, Phillips Valdez from Triple-A Worcester, place Christian Arroyo, Connor Seabold on injured list

The Red Sox have placed right-hander Connor Seabold on the 15-day injured list with a right forearm extensor strain. They also placed utility man Christian Arroyo on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain.

To take their place on the roster, right-handed reliever Phillips Valdez and infielder Jeter Downs have been recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the team announced prior to Saturday’s game against the Yankees.

Seabold was removed in the third inning of his most-recent start on Friday night after experiencing arm tightness on a slider he threw. The 26-year-old told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) after the game that he was not too concerned about it, though he did miss a considerable amount of time with the WooSox last season due to elbow inflammation.

Arroyo, meanwhile, left Friday’s game in the top of the eighth inning due to a tight groin and was replaced in right field by Rob Refsnyder. The 27-year-old previously missed time this season after testing positive for COVID-19 in June.

Per manager Alex Cora, the Red Sox are still awaiting test results on Seabold’s arm. Arroyo’s injury, on the other hand, is not believed to be too serious, but serious enough where he will be sidelined for the next 10 days at minimum.

Seabold and Arroyo become the 11th and 12th players on the injured list for Boston, as they join the likes of Matt Barnes, Tyler Danish, Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, James Paxton (60-day), Chris Sale (60-day), Josh Taylor (60-day), Michael Wacha, Garrett Whitlock, and Enrique Hernandez.

With Seabold being shelved for the time being, Valdez has been summoned from Worcester for the fourth time already this season. The 30-year-old hurler owns a 5.40 ERA in 11 appearances (13 1/3 innings) at the big-league level in 2022.

As for Downs, this will mark his second stint in the majors this season after he made his highly-anticipated debut at Fenway Park on June 22. Since returning to Worcester the following day, the right-handed hitter has batted a scorching .370/.500/.783 (.231 wRC+) with five home runs and 11 RBIs in his last 14 games (58 plate appearances) for the WooSox.

In addition to homering in each of his last three games, Downs was scratched from Worcester’s lineup on Saturday in anticipation of this move happening. With Rafael Devers dealing with back soreness, it seems likely that Downs could see some playing time against the Yankees this weekend.

As was reported earlier in the day, the Red Sox also announced that righty reliever Kaleb Ort had his contract selected from Worcester while fellow reliever Michael Feliz had been designated for assignment.

Ort, who will wear the No. 61, has taken Feliz’s spot on Boston’s 40-man roster, which is now at full capacity.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox option Jeter Downs to Triple-A Worcester; Christian Arroyo expected to be activated from COVID-19 related injured list on Friday

The Red Sox optioned infielder Jeter Downs to Triple-A Worcester following Wednesday’s 6-2 win over the Tigers, the team announced Thursday. While no corresponding move has been made yet, utility man Christian Arroyo is expected to join the team in Cleveland for this weekend’s series against the Guardians after spending the last eight days on the COVID-19 related injured list.

Downs spent three days with Boston after getting called up from Worcester for the first time on Monday. While the 23-year-old did not appear in the Sox’ first two games against the Tigers, he did make his highly-anticipated major-league debut in Wednesday’s series finale at Fenway Park.

Batting ninth and starting at third base for the first time in his professional career, Downs went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He put the ball in play once, but it was a 323-foot flyout that died on the warning track in left field.

Defensively, Downs had two groundballs hit his way while playing third base for the first time since his high school. He fielded them both cleanly and picked up two assists by doing so.

“That was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Downs said of his experience Wednesday night. “I still can’t believe the game is over. It felt so fast. It didn’t turn out the way I wanted to, but oh well. The team got the win, and that’s the most important thing.”

Downs’ first stint in the majors was always expected to be a short one. He will now return to Worcester, where he is batting .180/.297/.397 (86 wRC+) with six doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 21 RBIs, 35 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 25 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 53 games (222 plate appearances) for the WooSox this season.

Arroyo, meanwhile, was initially placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on June 15 after testing positive for the virus. The versatile 27-year-old began a rehab assignment with the WooSox on Tuesday and went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts in two games.

With the Red Sox this season, Arroyo has batted .187/.227/.319 with three doubles, three home runs, 10 RBIs, 10 runs scored, three stolen bases, three walks, and 17 strikeouts over 34 games spanning 98 trips to the plate. He has seen playing time at first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and right field.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Jeter Downs to make major-league debut at third base as Red Sox go for sweep of Tigers

As expected, Jeter Downs will make his major-league debut for the Red Sox in Wednesday night’s series finale against the Tigers at Fenway Park.

Downs, who was called up from Triple-A Worcester on Monday, will bat ninth and start at third base for Boston as it goes for a three-game sweep of Detroit.

It will mark Downs’ first-ever professional appearance at third base. The 23-year-old has only been used as a second baseman or shortstop throughout his minor-league career, which began when he was selected by the Reds in the first round of the 2017 amateur draft out of Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Since then, Downs has for the most part maintained his status as one of the game’s top prospects despite being part of two blockbuster trades. In December 2018, the Colombia native was dealt to the Dodgers as part of a deal that sent the likes of Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and others to Cincinnati. A little more than a year later, he — as well as Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong — was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for Mookie Betts and David Price in February 2020.

As the top prospect acquired in that deal, Downs began his career in the Red Sox organization with high expectations. He struggled to the tune of a .606 OPS in 99 games with the WooSox last season and has not fared much better this season.

At the time he was promoted, the right-handed hitting infielder was batting just .180/.297/.397 (86 wRC+) with six doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 21 RBIs, 35 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 25 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 53 games (222 plate appearances) for Worcester. As previously alluded to, Downs has been used exclusively at shortstop this season, though he does have plenty of experience at second base as well.

Downs, who turns 24 next month, will become the second player to make his big-league debut with the Red Sox this year and joins right-hander Josh Winckowski by doing so. The 5-foot-11, 195 pounder is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in Boston’s farm system.

With Downs starting at third base for Alex Cora and the Red Sox on Wednesday, Rafael Devers will receive the night off while Xander Bogaerts will start at short. On the mound, it will be righty Michael Wacha making his 12th start of the season for Boston opposite Detroit left-hander Tarik Skubal.

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

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox call up top prospect Jeter Downs from Triple-A Worcester, designate James Norwood for assignment

The Red Sox have called up infield prospect Jeter Downs from Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for Downs on the major-league roster, recently-acquired right-hander James Norwood was designated for assignment, the team announced prior to Monday’s series opener against the Tigers.

Downs, who turns 24 next month, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 7 prospect in Boston’s farm system. The Red Sox originally acquired the Colombian-born infielder — along with Alex Verdugo and Connor Wong — from the Dodgers in the blockbuster trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles in February 2020.

After spending the entirety of the 2021 campaign with Triple-A Worcester and closing it out in the Arizona Fall League, Downs returned to the WooSox for the start of the 2022 season. Coming into play on Monday, the right-handed hitting 23-year-old was batting .180/.297/.397 (86 wRC+) with six doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 21 RBIs, 35 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 25 walks, and 69 strikeouts over 53 games spanning 222 plate appearances.

Defensively, Downs has seen all his playing time this season come at shortstop. But the 5-foot-11, 195 pounder also has extensive experience at second base and should provide the Red Sox with solid infield depth up the middle while he is up with the club.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Downs’ first stint in the majors is expected to be short-lived with both Christian Arroyo (COVID-19) and Enrique Hernandez (right hip flexor strain) slated to return to action before Boston’s three-game series against Detroit comes to an end.

As of Sunday night, the Sox had 14 pitchers and 12 position players on their big-league roster. By Monday, all MLB teams were required to cut the number of pitchers on their roster down to 13. Boston accomplished this by effectively swapping Norwood in favor of Downs.

Norwood, who was acquired from the Phillies in exchange for cash considerations on Saturday, was activated for Sunday’s series finale against the Cardinals but did not pitch in the game. The Red Sox now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or possibly sneak the 28-year-old through waivers and keep him in the organization.

Following Monday’s transaction, the Sox still have 39 players on their 40-man roster. That will increase to 40 once Arroyo is activated from the COVID-19 related injured list.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox make first round of spring roster cuts: Jeter Downs, Jay Groome among 5 optioned to Triple-A Worcester; Triston Casas, David Hamilton among 6 reassigned to minor-league camp

Following a 10-4 loss to the Twins at JetBlue Park on Wednesday afternoon, the Red Sox announced their first round of spring training roster cuts.

Infielder Jeter Downs, left-hander Jay Groome, and right-handers Bryan Mata, Connor Seabold, and Josh Winckowski were all optioned to Triple-A Worcester. On the other side of things, infielders Triston Casas, David Hamilton, and Christian Koss, left-hander Chris Murphy, and right-handers Durbin Feltman and Brian Keller were all reassigned to minor-league camp.

Downs, Groome, Mata, Seabold, and Winckowski were optioned to Worcester since they are on Boston’s 40-man roster. According to SoxProspects.com’s roster projections, all but Groome are expected to begin the 2022 season with the WooSox. Mata, of course, is still recovering from Tommy John surgery he underwent last April.

With these five getting optioned, the Red Sox’ spring training roster now consists of 34 40-man roster players. Notables who remain following Wednesday’s cuts include Eduard Bazardo, Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Ronaldo Hernandez, Connor Wong, Jonathan Arauz, and Jarren Duran.

Elsewhere, six non-40-man roster players were sent back to minor-league spring training. Of these six, the most notable is undoubtedly Casas, who is regarded by many — including Baseball America — as the top prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Casas, Feltman, and Keller seem like locks to begin the year with Worcester, while Hamilton, Koss, and Murphy are projected by SoxProspects.com to start out with Double-A Portland.

All told, the Red Sox now have 55 players in major-league camp with Opening Day against the Yankees on April 7 fast approaching.

(Picture of Jeter Downs: Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)