Red Sox to promote top prospect Triston Casas, 2 others to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox are promoting top prospect Triston Casas to Triple-A Worcester for the final two weeks of the minor-league season, according to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier.

Per Speier, right-handed pitching prospect Josh Wincowski and catching prospect Ronaldo Hernandez will join Casas in Worcester, as all three had spent the entirety of the 2021 campaign with Double-A Portland, whose season concluded on Sunday.

Casas, 21, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 1 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He was originally selected by the Sox with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft out of American Heritage High School (Plantation, Fla.).

After participating at the club’s alternate training site and fall instructional league last year, Casas opened the 2021 season with Portland and held his own there.

In 77 games with the Sea Dogs, the left-handed hitting first baseman slashed .284/.395/.484 (142 wRC+) to go along with 12 doubles, two triples, 13 home runs, 52 RBI, 57 runs scored, six stolen bases, 49 walks, and 63 strikeouts over 329 trips to the plate.

Back in July, Casas temporarily left the Sea Dogs to play for Team USA in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where he helped the United States win a silver medal while being named the tournament’s best first baseman.

While with Portland, Casas — who does not turn 22 until January — was the second-youngest qualifying regular in the Double-A Northeast, per Speier. The 6-foot-4, 252 pounder will undoubtedly become one of the youngest players at the Triple-A level as well.

In addition to Casas, the WooSox will also be adding a pitcher in the form of Winckowski, who the Red Sox acquired from the Mets as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals back in February.

The 23-year-old, in his debut season with a new organization, posted a 4.14 ERA and 4.02 FIP with 88 strikeouts to 30 walks over 21 appearances (20 starts) spanning exactly 100 innings of work for the Sea Dogs. He was named Portland’s Pitcher of the Year earlier this month for his efforts.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, Winckowski — the No. 16 prospect in Boston’s farm system — “has shown a potential starter’s mix, with a major league-quality fastball (usually 94-96 mph), a slider and a changeup that has the potential to emerge as a solid third pitch.”

Winckowski, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds, will once again be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter, so the Sox would need to add the righty to their 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline in order to protect him from that.

Finally, we arrive at Hernandez, who the Red Sox acquired from the Rays alongside infield prospect Nick Sogard in exchange for right-hander Chris Mazza, left-hander Jeffrey Springs, and cash considerations in mid-February.

Hernandez, who turns 24 in November, is already on Boston’s 40-man roster and is primarily viewed as the No. 2 catching prospect in the organization behind only Connor Wong.

With the Sea Dogs this season, the 23-year-old backstop out of Colombia batted an impressive .280/.319/.506 (121 wRC+) with 26 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 53 RBI, 44 runs scored, 11 walks, and 70 strikeouts over 92 games and 357 plate appearances. He also threw out 28% of the runners who attempted to steal against him.

Following Monday’s series of moves, the WooSox’ roster just got a bit more crowded for the final stretch of their season, which is slated to end on October 3.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox lose reliever Michael Feliz on waivers to Athletics

Former Red Sox reliever Michael Feliz has been claimed off waivers by the Athletics, the club announced earlier Monday afternoon.

Feliz was initially designated for assignment when the Sox needed to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for the additions of Matt Barnes and Chris Sale, who were both activated from the COVID-19 related injured list this past Friday.

The 28-year-old right-hander originally signed a minor-league with Boston in late August, shortly after getting released by the Cincinnati Reds, and was promptly assigned to Triple-A Worcester.

In just two appearances for the WooSox, Feliz worked a pair of scoreless innings before having his contract selected by the big-league club on September 6. His Red Sox debut was less than memorable, though, as he served up two home runs in the process of getting roughed up by the Rays at Fenway Park the following day.

Taking that outing into consideration, Feliz wound up allowing a total of two earned runs on four hits, one walk, and five strikeouts over four appearances spanning 5 1/3 innings of work in his brief stint with the Sox. That’s good for an ERA of 3.38, a FIP of 6.72, and an OPS against of .819.

While he did look considerably better in his final three outings as opposed to his first one, the Dominican native still lost his spot on Boston’s 40-man roster when it was time for the club to add reinforcements (Barnes and Sale) back into the mix.

Assuming he appears in a game for his new squad, the Athletics will become the fourth team Feliz has pitched for this season, as he had also appeared in a total of 16 games between the Pirates and Reds before joining the Red Sox earlier this summer.

(Picture of Michael Feliz: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Where Red Sox stand in Wild Card race heading into final stretch of regular season

Following a three-game sweep of the lowly Orioles at Fenway Park over the weekend, the Red Sox find themselves in an encouraging spot heading into the home stretch of the 2021 regular season.

Having won five straight and seven of their last 10 games, the Sox have improved to 86-65 on the year and currently hold a one-game lead over the Blue Jays (84-65) for the top American League Wild Card spot.

So, if the season were to have ended on Sunday night, Boston would be hosting Toronto in a one-game playoff come October 5. But the season did not end on Sunday, as the Red Sox still have 11 games remaining on the docket.

Of those 11 games, the next five will take place at home with the Mets coming into town for a two-game interleague series that begins on Tuesday and the Yankees visiting for a three-game weekend set that begins on Friday.

Following the conclusion of next weekend’s series with New York, the Sox will embark upon a six-game road trip that includes stops in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. to close out the season.

With that being said, strength of schedule plays into Boston’s favor here. Of the four teams they will be playing over the next two weeks, only the Yankees (83-67) have a winning record — though none of the four teams would have qualified for the postseason if the regular season had ended on Sunday.

According to Tankathon.com, the Red Sox have the third-easiest schedule in baseball and the easiest schedule in the American League the rest of the way, as the four clubs they will be facing off against have a combined winning percentage of .437. Only the Phillies (.407) and Reds (.419) have easier remaining schedules.

As of Monday morning, FanGraphs gives the Sox an 89.7% chance to make the playoffs, which is up dramatically from where it was at this time one week ago (63.2%).

Baseball-Reference, on the other hand, currently gives the Red Sox an 85.9% chance to make the playoffs after giving them a 71.4% chance just last week.

Of the five teams competing for the two American League Wild Card spots, the Sox are the only club that is off on Monday. The Blue Jays will be opening up a three-game series against the division-leading Rays at Tropicana Field, the Yankees will be opening up a three-game series against the lowly Rangers in the Bronx, and the Athletics and Mariners commence a pivotal four-game series in Oakland.

Taking all that into consideration, the Red Sox at best can carry with them a 1 1/2 game lead over the Jays for the top Wild Card spot coming into play on Tuesday. At worst, it could be just a 1/2 game lead.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernandez, and Hunter Renfroe: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox break out for 6 runs in 10th inning to run away with 9-4 victory over Mariners in extras

It took nearly four hours to see it through, but the Red Sox were able to cap off their road trip in style with a hard-fought victory over the Mariners in extra innings on Wednesday (Roberto Clemente Day) afternoon.

Boston broke out for six runs in the 10th inning to top Seattle by a final score of 9-4, marking their second straight win and their third in their last five games.

Matched up against Mariners starter Marco Gonzales to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox struck early and often to jump out to an early 3-0 lead.

Right out of the gate, Hunter Renfroe crushed a 414-foot solo shot — his 28th home run of the season — off Gonzales in the top half of the first inning. In the second, Kyle Schwarber drew a one-out walk and Bobby Dalbec followed by drilling a ground-rule double to left-center field, paving the way for Kevin Plawecki to drive in a run on an RBI groundout.

Having moved up to third on that play, Dalbec scored on an RBI double off the bat of a seemingly red-hot Jose Iglesias to put Boston up by three.

To that point, Tanner Houck — making his 12th start of the year — had been cruising along for the Red Sox, taking a no-hitter into the third inning before giving up a one-out single to fellow rookie Jarred Kelenic.

Houck proceeded to yield another single to Tom Murphy that should have put runners at the corners, but instead scored a run and put a runner at second base when Hunter Renfroe attempted to gun down Kelenic at third, though his throw eluded Rafael Devers and wound up going out of play.

Kelenic was able to score as a result of Renfroe’s miscue, while Houck walked J.P. Crawford on four pitches, spiked a wild pitch into the dirt that put runners at second and third. The right-hander did get the second out of the third, but could not end it before serving up a two-run double down the left field line to Kyle Seager.

The momentum had shifted going into the fourth with the Mariners battling back to knot things up at three runs apiece. Houck, however, rebounded by punching out the side in the bottom half of the fourth before falling victim to Kelenic once again in the fifth.

The Mariners outfielder led off the fifth inning with a single back up the middle and proceeded to steal second base to put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position. Houck then fanned Tom Murphy for the first out of the frame, and that is when his day came to a close with the Seattle lineup turning back over.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (45 strikes), the 25-year-old wrapped up his outing having allowed three runs — all earned — on four hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work.

Josh Taylor got the first call out of the bullpen from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and the left-hander officially closed the book on Houck’s start by stranding the lone runner he inherited while recording the last two outs of the fifth.

Garrett Richards took over for Taylor in the sixth and worked his way around a leadoff single by inducing a 6-5-3 double play and getting a strikeout. The veteran righty was nearly rewarded for his effort a half inning later when a walk from Dalbec and two-out single from Iglesias put runners at the corners.

Alex Verdugo came off the bench to pinch-hit for Enrique Hernandez in that spot against right-handed Mariners reliever Paul Sewald and proceeded to lace a 102 mph line drive to left field.

Verdugo’s screamer, which had an expected batting average of .850, was caught by M’s left fielder Luke Fraley, however, and that kept things tied up at 3-3.

Richards, again, faced the minimum three batters in the seventh with the help of a smooth, inning-ending double play started by Iglesias.

After both Devers and J.D. Martinez reached base with two outs off Sewald in the eighth, Schwarber had an opportunity to replicate his late-game heroics from the night before, but flew out to center field to strand the pair of runners.

In the bottom half of the inning, Austin Davis got the first two outs despite Mitch Haniger reaching base on a throwing error committed by Devers, but Adam Ottavino was able work around that by fanning Ty France on three straight strikes.

With former Rays reliever Diego Castillo entering this game for the Mariners in the ninth, neither Dalbec, Christian Vazquez (pinch-hitting for Plawecki), nor Travis Shaw (pinch-hitting for Iglesias) mounted anything resembling a rally, as they were sat down in order.

Ottavino, having needed just three pitches to finish off the eighth, came back out for the ninth. He got the first two outs of the inning rather easily before plunking the pinch-hitting Jake Bauers in the leg. Bauers then stole second base while Kelenic was at the plate, but Ottavino left him there by fanning the top prospect to send this one to extras.

Before Ottavino came through when it mattered most, Jack Lopez had taken over for Shaw at second base. And since Shaw recorded the final out of the ninth, that meant Lopez started the 10th inning as the runner at second base.

With Erik Swanson now on the mound for Seattle, Boston got an immediate boost when Verdugo sliced a single to shallow left field. Lopez, who advanced up to third on Verdugo’s base hit, proceeded to score from there on a passed ball — giving the Red Sox their first lead since the second inning at 4-3.

A walk drawn by Renfroe and bloop single from Bogaerts filled the bases with one out for Martinez, who greeted new Mariners reliever Justus Sheffield by ripping a 107 mph RBI single to the left side of the infield that deflected off Crawford’s glove and brought in Renfroe from third.

That made it a 5-3 contest, but the Sox were not done there, as Schwarber provided some much-needed insurance by lining a two-run single to right field that plated both Bogaerts and Devers and opened up a 7-3 lead for his side.

Vazquez pushed across two more on a two-run, bases-loaded double down the right field line, thus capping off a six-run inning in which Boston sent 10 batters to the plate to give themselves a commanding 9-3 advantage.

Martin Perez was dispatched in the bottom half of the 10th. The left-hander, making his first appearance since being activated from the COVID-19 related injured list on Tuesday, did just that.

Perez did allow one unearned run, but ultimately slammed the door on the Mariners to preserve a 9-4 victory for the Sox.

With the win, the Red Sox secure their first series victory in Seattle since 2013 to finish off a 3-3 road trip and improve to 83-65 on the season. They also remain tied with the Blue Jays for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Welcoming in the Orioles to kick off the final homestand of 2021

The Red Sox will board a flight to Boston and enjoy a well-deserved off day on Thursday before opening up a three-game weekend series against the lowly Orioles at Fenway Park on Friday night.

Neither team has yet to name a starter for Friday’s series opener, but Boston is expected to activate ace left-hander Chris Sale from the COVID-19 related injured list — meaning that responsibility would fall to him.

Friday’s contest against the O’s will mark the beginning of the Sox’ final (eight-game) homestand of the season. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Kyle Schwarber bounces back with clutch 3-run double off bench as Red Sox top Mariners, 8-4

There was a point in time where it looked like a key defensive miscue would once again cost the Red Sox dearly in their matchup against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park on Tuesday, but they were able to overcome their mistakes this time around.

In what was a close contest for most of the night, Boston used a five-run eighth inning to best Seattle, 8-4, and put an end to their two-game losing streak.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his 29th start of the season for the Sox, put together yet another solid outing, as he has consistently been doing over the past month-plus.

Over five innings of work, Eovaldi surrendered just two runs — only one of which was earned — on five hits and one walk to go along with nine strikeouts on the night.

After issuing a leadoff single to J.P. Crawford to begin things in the first, the veteran right-hander proceeded to settle into a nice groove, retiring the next nine batters he faced in order going into the top of the fourth.

Things were still scoreless at that point in time, but Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez quickly changed that by clubbing a 414-foot solo shot off Mariners starter Tyler Anderson to give his side an early 1-0 lead on his 28th home run of the season.

That one-run lead did not last long, however, as the M’s answered with two runs of their own in their half of the fourth, though Eovaldi certainly cannot be dealt all the blame.

Following a softly-hit single from Mitch Haniger and an infield single from Kyle Seager, Ty France blooped a 228-foot RBI single to shallow center field that landed in front of Enrique Hernandez and brought in Haniger to tie things up at one run apiece.

Eovaldi then get Abraham Toro to lift a 358-foot fly ball to right field that should have gone for the second out of the inning, but was instead misplayed by Hunter Renfroe when the right fielder quite simply dropped the ball.

Seattle was able to load the bases on Renfroe’s 11th later of the year, and they took advantage of that by jumping out to a 2-1 lead on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jake Fraley.

Still, all things considered, Eovaldi did manage to escape the fourth without giving anything else up, and he ended his day by getting out of another jam in what would turn out to be a scoreless fifth inning as well.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (66 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler did not factor into Tuesday’s decision, though he did lower his ERA on the season down to 3.52.

As soon as Eovaldi’s evening had officially ended, the Red Sox made sure to het the All-Star off the hook, as Seattle-area native Bobby Dalbec greeted new Mariners reliever Anthony Misiewicz by crushing a game-tying, 367-foot solo homer off him with two outs in the sixth.

Dalbec’s 22nd big fly of the season made it a 2-2 game entering the later stages, and while Darwinzon Hernandez (1 2/3 scoreless innings) and Adam Ottavino (1/3 scoreless innings) proved effective out of the Boston bullpen, the bats broke this one open in the eighth.

Following a hard-hit leadoff triple from Xander Bogaerts that prompted the Mariners to turn to Drew Steckenrider out of their bullpen, Rafael Devers drew a hard-fought eight-pitch walk, Martinez advanced Devers into scoring position on a groundout, and then it was in the hands of the bench.

Even after Dalbec homered in his previous at-bat, Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to have the left-handed hitting Travis Shaw pinch-hit for him, and that move paid off since Shaw loaded the bases on a walk of his own.

Next up was Kyle Schwarber, pinch-hitting for Kevin Plawecki, and coming off one his more forgettable performances in his brief Red Sox career on Monday.

With redemption on his mind, Schwarber promptly unloaded the bases by drilling a 108 mph three-run double to the right-center field gap, allowing all three of Bogaerts, Devers, and Shaw to score to give the Sox their largest lead of the night at 5-2.

Schwarber’s heroics would not mark the end of the line for the Boston rally, though, as Alex Verdugo followed by mashing a two-run home run 348 feet over the left field fence to cap off a five-run inning and put his side ahead 7-2.

From there, Michael Feliz maneuvered his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise clean bottom of the eighth and Martinez provided some much-needed insurance by ripping an RBI single off former teammate Matt Andriese in the top of the ninth.

Now working with an 8-2 lead, Hirokazu Sawamura was only able to record the first out of the bottom of the ninth while also loading the bases.

Austin Davis, meanwhile, took over for Sawamura, allowed two of the three base runners he inherited to score on a sacrifice fly and base hit, but ultimately closed things out to preserve an 8-4 victory for the Sox.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox snap a two-game skid to improve to 82-65 on the season, but they also move into a virtual three-way tie with the Yankees and Blue Jays for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Houck vs. Gonzales

Right-hander Tanner Houck will get the ball for the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon as they look to secure a series victory over the Mariners, who will counter with left-hander Marco Gonzales.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Martín Pérez from COVID-19 related injured list, return Kaleb Ort to Triple-A Worcester

As expected, the Red Sox have reinstated left-hander Martin Perez from the COVID-19 related injured list. In a corresponding move, right-hander Kaleb Ort was returned to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced earlier Tuesday evening.

Perez had been held out of action for a little more than two weeks after initially testing positive for COVID-19 while the Sox were in Tampa Bay on August 30. He became the third player on the team to test positive for the virus dating back to Aug. 27 and nine more have returned positive results since then.

After quarantining for 10 days, Perez was cleared to return to action and was sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester over the weekend. The 30-year-old southpaw made one appearance for the WooSox on Sunday, tossing a scoreless seventh inning in a 3-1 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park.

Prior to going on the COVID IL, Perez had made nine appearances as a reliever after being removed from Boston’s starting rotation and inserted into the bullpen in early August.

In those nine outings, the Venezuelan-born lefty posted a 6.43 ERA and .908 OPS against to go along with seven strikeouts to two walks over seven innings of work.

With the addition of Perez, the Red Sox now have eight players on the COVID IL. They are also back at full strength from the left side of the bullpen as Austin Davis, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor are all active.

Ort, meanwhile, initially had his contract selected from Worcester when Davis was placed on the paternity leave list and both infielder Jonathan Arauz and left-hander Chris Sale were placed on the COVID-19 related injured list this past Friday.

Though Ort was not called upon during this past weekend’s series against the White Sox, he did make his major-league debut in Seattle on Monday night. The 29-year-old righty was deployed in the eighth inning of a 5-4 game the Red Sox were losing and put two of the first three batters he faced on base via a leadoff single and one-out walk.

Only six of the 12 pitches Ort threw went for strikes, and he was relieved by Taylor, who escaped the jam he inherited by retiring the only two Mariners he faced in order.

While he was returned to the WooSox on Tuesday, it seems likely that Ort would remain on Boston’s taxi squad for the remainder of their road trip that concludes on Wednesday afternoon.

(Picture of Martin Perez: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Kyle Schwarber, Hunter Renfroe commit 2 costly errors as Red Sox fall to Mariners, 5-4

If the Red Sox were looking to make a statement in regards to how they should be viewed as a Wild Card contender on Monday, they certainly came up short of doing that against a team hot on their trail in the Mariners.

Boston fell to Seattle, 5-4, in the opening contest of a three-game series at T-Mobile Park, marking their sixth loss in their last eight games.

Eduardo Rodriguez, making his 28th start of the season for the Sox, bounced back from a rough outing in his last time out against the Rays by surrendering just two runs — only one of which was earned — on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts on the night.

That said, Rodriguez on Monday did not get off to the best starts, as he gave up a double and single to the first two batters he faced (J.P. Crawford and Mitch Haniger) before allowing the Mariners to take an early 1-0 lead on a run-scoring double play from Ty France in the first inning.

The left-hander had to battle his way through the bottom of the second as well, with Abraham Toro drawing a leadoff walk off him and Luis Torrens ripping a hard-hit single to right field as well as advancing up to second base when Hunter Renfroe booted the ball.

Tom Murphy then doubled his side’s advantage with an RBI groundout, but Rodriguez was ultimately able to settle in — and he did so while getting some help from the Red Sox lineup.

Mariners starter Logan Gilbert had nearly got through Boston’s batting order for the first time without giving up a hit before No. 9 hitter Jose Iglesias altered those plans.

With one out and the bases empty in the top half of the third, Iglesias clubbed a 386-foot solo shot off Gilbert for his ninth home run of the season and his first in a Red Sox uniform in more than eight years.

Fast forward to the fifth, after Alex Verdugo and Christian Vazquez each laced a pair of singles to put runners at the corners with one out, Iglesias came through once more, this time by plating Verdugo on a blooper of an RBI single that knotted things up at two runs apiece.

While Iglesias and Co. were grinding away at the plate, Rodriguez was dealing on the mound, as he ended his day by retiring 12 of the final 16 batters he faced following a 32-pitch second inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 107 (74 strikes), his second-highest pitch total of the year, the 28-year-old hurler did not factor into the decision on Monday, though he did lower his ERA on the season to 5.00.

In relief of Rodriguez, right-hander Ryan Brasier got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and it appeared he was well on his way to a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

After needing all of five pitches to record the first two outs of the seventh, Brasier induced a relatively-weak grounder off the bat of the pinch-hitting Jake Bauers that was hit in the direction of Kyle Schwarber at first base.

Schwarber, however, misplayed the ball and was charged with a fielding error, thus allowing Bauers to reach first base safely.

The Mariners made the Sox pay dearly for yet another defensive miscue, as Crawford singled to put runners at first and second before Haniger drilled a go-ahead three-run homer 363 feet to left field. Austin Davis had to get the last out of the seventh after his side had suddenly found themselves in a 5-2 hole.

Despite the three-run deficit, the Boston bats did not go away in the eighth, with both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers crushed a pair of back-to-back solo shots off Seattle reliever off Paul Sewald to make it a 5-4 game.

After Kaleb Ort (making his major-league debut) and Josh Taylor combined to toss a scoreless eighth inning, though, Mariners closer Drew Steckenrider slammed the door shut on the Red Sox in the ninth.

Verdugo fanned on a foul tip into the catcher’s mitt, Renfroe was called out on strikes, and Vazquez flew out to center field for the third and final out, as 2-1 would go on to be Monday’s final score in favor of the Mariners.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 81-65 on the season while also relinquishing the top American League Wild Card spot to the red-hot Blue Jays and moving into a virtual tie with the Yankees for the second and final spot.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Anderson

The Red Sox will turn to right-hander Nathan Eovaldi on Tuesday as they look to put an end to this two-game skid. The Mariners will counter with left-hander Tyler Anderson.

First pitch Tuesday night is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Ryan Brasier: Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Eduard Bazardo from 60-day injured list, option him to Triple-A Worcester

In addition to reinstating Hirokazu Sawamura from the COVID-19 related injured list and Austin Davis from the paternity leave list on Monday, the Red Sox also activated right-hander Eduard Bazardo from the 60-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A Worcester.

Bazardo, who turned 26 earlier this month, was originally placed on the 60-day injured list back in July, well after sustaining a right lat strain in an outing for Worcester on May 18.

While Bazardo was initially placed on the minor-league injured list at that time, he was later recalled from Worcester and “transferred” to the 60-day IL so the Red Sox could create an open spot on their 40-man roster.

As a result of him straining his right lat muscle, Bazardo was shut down for approximately three weeks before beginning a throwing program in mid-June and later being sent out on a rehab assignment with the Florida Complex League Red Sox on August 13.

After spending a little more than two weeks in Fort Myers, the 26-year-old righty had his rehab assignment transferred over to Worcester, where he has posted a 7.20 ERA and 8.56 FIP across four relief appearances (five innings pitched) leading up to Monday’s news.

Prior to getting shut down earlier this spring, Bazardo had appeared in two games for the Red Sox in two separate stints with the club after being added to the 40-man roster last November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

In his major-league debut, the Venezuelan-born righty served as the 27th man for a doubleheader against the Twins at Target Field on April 14. He worked a scoreless seventh inning of that contest while walking two and striking out one to preserve a 7-1 win for the Sox.

Fast forward to May 12, Bazardo made his Fenway Park debut against the Athletics while filling in for Nick Pivetta, who was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list that day due to side effects from the vaccine.

Working in relief of Eduardo Rodriguez, Bazardo retired six of the seven batters he faced over two scoreless frames of work, though he was sent back down to the WooSox the following day.

Listed at 6-foot and 190 pounds, Bazardo primarily relies on two pitches: a slider that has averaged 82.4 mph at the big-league level this season and a four-seam fastball that has averaged 93.8 mph at the big-league level this season, per Baseball Savant.

The Red Sox were able to activate Bazardo from the 60-day injured list — and add him back to the 40-man roster in doing so — without having to make a corresponding move on account of the nine players they currently have out on the COVID-related IL.

As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield, Bazardo’s 30-day rehab assignment period ended on Sunday, so he needed to be reinstated on Monday regardless of the circumstances.

(Picture of Eduard Bazardo: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Hirokazu Sawamura, Austin Davis activated; Brad Peacock, Stephen Gonsalves returned to Triple-A Worcester

Before opening up a pivotal three-game series against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on Monday, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, right-handed reliever Hirokazu Sawamura was activated from the COVID-19 related injured list, while left-handed reliever Austin Davis was activated from the paternity leave list.

Secondly, right-hander Brad Peacock and left-hander Stephen Gonsalves were both returned to Triple-A Worcester to make room for Sawamura and Davis on the major-league roster.

The Red Sox made these transactions official earlier Monday night. They also reinstated righty Eduard Bazardo from the 60-day injured list and optioned him to Worcester.

Sawamura rejoins the Sox after initially testing positive for COVID-19 while the club was in Tampa Bay in the final days of August. At that time, he was the fifth player on the team to return positive results since their outbreak began in Cleveland on Aug. 27.

Upon his quarantine period coming to an end, the 33-year-old — who is vaccinated against coronavirus — traveled with the Red Sox to Chicago for their weekend series against the White Sox and even threw a bullpen session at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday.

On Monday, MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo tweeted that Boston would be making Sawamura available to reporters ahead of the series opener against Seattle, indicating that he would indeed be activated.

In his first season with the Red Sox, Sawamura has posted a 3.09 ERA and 5.35 FIP to go along with 54 strikeouts to 29 walks over 50 relief appearances spanning 46 2/3 innings of work. The Japanese hurler last pitched in a game on August 28, as he did not require a rehab assignment.

Davis, on the other hand, returns to the Red Sox bullpen after being placed on paternity leave over the weekend.

Acquired from the Pirates in exchange for Michael Chavis ahead of the July 30 trade deadline, the 28-year-old southpaw has put up a 4.61 ERA, but much more respectable 3.38 FIP, with 14 strikeouts to six walks in 14 outings (13 2/3 innings pitched) since making his Boston debut on July 31.

In activating Davis, the Sox gain yet another left-handed bullpen option alongside the likes of Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, and Martin Perez, who is expected to be reinstated from the COVID IL himself on Tuesday.

With Sawamura and Davis back in the fold, the Red Sox returned another pair of hurlers to Worcester in the form of Peacock and Gonsalves.

Peacock had just been sent back to the WooSox on Saturday when Connor Seabold was called up to make his major-league debut, but remained on Boston’s taxi squad before having his contract selected once again on Sunday after Phillips Valdez was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list on account of a positive test.

That being said, it’s safe to assume that the 33-year-old righty will remain with the Red Sox in Seattle as part of the taxi squad in the event that they need to add another pitcher for the final leg of this road trip.

Gonsalves, meanwhile, had his contract selected from Worcester on August 31 — when both Taylor and Sawamura were added to the COVID-related IL.

The 27-year-old lefty made his Red Sox debut that very same day and appeared in three games for the club, allowing a total of two earned runs on two hits, two walks, one hit batsman, and four strikeouts over 4 1/3 total innings in that stretch.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Jay Groome has struck out 19 of the first 39 batters he has faced since promotion to Double-A Portland

Red Sox pitching prospect Jay Groome has been on an absolute tear since his promotion to Double-A Portland, with his stellar outing on Sunday being the latest instance.

Matched up against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets affiliate) in his second start for Portland, Groome tossed six scoreless innings while scattering just two hits, one walk, and one hit batsman to go along with nine strikeouts on the afternoon at Hadlock Field.

The left-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before issuing back-to-back one-out singles to Antoine Duplantis and Ronny Mauricio to put runners at the corners, but he got out of it by retiring the final two batters he faced in order to preserve the shutout.

Of the 84 pitches Groome threw on Sunday, 61 went for strikes. Six of his nine punchouts were swinging strikeouts, while the other three were looking.

Groome, who turned 23 in late August, initially began the 2021 minor-league season at High-A Greenville, where he posted a 5.29 ERA and 4.00 xFIP over 18 starts (81 2/3 innings pitched) before earning a promotion to Portland earlier this month.

In his Sea Dogs debut, which came against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Groome fanned a season-high 10 batters while walking none over five solid, scoreless innings of work.

While he had to wait more than a week to make his next start for the Sea Dogs, the 23-year-old southpaw was yet again impressive on Sunday. In picking up nine strikeouts in his latest outing, Groome has now fanned 19 of the first 39 hitters he faced at the Double-A level.

It’s a small sample size, of course, but among Double-A Northeast pitchers who have thrown at least 11 innings this season, Groome ranks second among them in strikeout percentage (48.7%), third in walk percentage (2.6%), and third in xFIP (1.89), per FanGraphs.

The Red Sox originally selected Groome with the 12th overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft out of Barnegat High School in New Jersey. He underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2018 and was added to Boston’s 40-man roster last November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds, Groome is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 9 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks fourth among pitchers in the organization.

Having to undergo Tommy John surgery forced Groome to become a different pitcher, but his ceiling is still relatively high.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, the lefty “has the raw materials of a left-handed starter, including a powerful build, a controlled, repeatable delivery and giant hands that allow him to manipulate the ball.”

Additionally, Groome operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 92-95 mph fastball that “has missed a ton of bats” this year, a curveball that “has been more of an average pitch” post-Tommy John, a recently-added slider, and a changeup.

According to MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, “there’s a belief in the Red Sox organization [that Groome’s] slider has become his best secondary pitch, especially to left-handed hitters.”

(Picture of Jay Groome: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)