The Red Sox selected the contract of right-hander Zack Littell and have added him to the active roster, the club announced prior to Saturday’s game against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
In order to make room for Littell on the 26-man roster, fellow reliever Kaleb Ort was optioned to Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for him on the 40-man roster, outfielder Adam Duvall was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list.
Boston acquired Littell from the Rangers in exchange for cash considerations on Friday. The 27-year-old had a May 1 upward mobility clause in his minor-league deal with the Rangers, which required Texas to either promote or trade him if another club was willing to call him up.
According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the Red Sox expressed a willingness to add Littell to their big-league roster, which led to Friday’s trade taking place.
Littell spent the first month of the 2023 season with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock after signing a minors pact with Texas in February. In eight relief appearances for the Express, the righty posted a 2.25 ERA with 16 strikeouts to two walks over 12 innings of work.
A former 11th-round draft selection of the Mariners out of Eastern Alamance High School (N.C.) in 2013, Littell made his major-league debut in 2018 and owns a lifetime 4.08 ERA (4.66 FIP) with 151 strikeouts to 60 walks in 145 career outings (four starts, 169 2/3 innings) between the Twins and Giants.
After a breakout 2021 campaign in which he produced a 2.92 ERA in a career-high 63 appearances for San Francisco, Littell struggled to a 5.08 ERA across 44 1/3 innings last season. He most notably got in a heated argument with manager Gabe Kapler after getting pulled from a game in September and was later outrighted by the Giants before electing free agency in November.
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Littell operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s four-seam fastball, a high-80s slider, and a mid-80s splitter, per Baseball Savant.
Littell, who will wear the No. 52 with the Red Sox, is out of minor-league options. In other words, the North Carolina native has to stick on Boston’s 40-man roster or he will otherwise be designated for assignment if the club intends on sending him back to the minors by hoping he clears waivers.
Ort, meanwhile, returns to Worcester after a brief one-day stint with the Red Sox. The 31-year-old was called up on Friday night to take the roster spot of Kutter Crawford, who was placed on the 15-day injured list due to a left hamstring strain. He did not pitch in Friday’s win over the Phillies.
Duvall has been on the injured list since April 10 due to a distal radius fracture in his left wrist. The 34-year-old slugger did not require surgery and has since transitioned from a hard cast to a removable splint. While he has yet to swing a bat, he has been running and doing other conditioning work, per The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.
Because he was transferred to the 60-day injured list, Duvall cannot be activated June 9 at the earliest. It remains to be seen if he will require the minimum 60 days or will still be sidelined beyond that date.
(Picture of Zack Littel: Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/Getty Images)