Ahead of Thursday’s season opener against the Orioles at Fenway Park, the Red Sox finalized their 26-man Opening Day roster.
Boston will carry 13 pitchers and 13 position players to kick off the 2023 campaign. Outfielder Raimel Tapia and right-handed reliever Kaleb Ort received the final two roster spots.
Tapia, who signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox in January, enjoyed a strong spring (.988 OPS in 17 Grapefruit League games) and beat out Jarren Duran for the fifth outfield spot off the bench. The left-handed hitting 29-year-old figures to see playing time at all three outfield spots as a complement to the right-handed hitting Rob Refsnyder.
“Tapia, kind of a veteran guy, been there, done that,” manager Alex Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith) on Thursday. We can use him in the three outfield positions. We can pinch-hit with him. He can run.”
The Red Sox created an opening for Tapia on the big-league roster by optioning Duran to Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday. They cleared a 40-man roster spot for him on Thursday by placing infielder Adalberto Mondesi on the 60-day injured list.
Mondesi, who was acquired from the Royals for left-handed reliever Josh Taylor in January, is still working his way back from a torn left ACL that required him to undergo season-ending surgery last May. The speedy 27-year-old will not be eligible to be activated from the injured list until May 29 at the earliest.
In addition to Mondesi, fellow infielder Trevor Story will also begin the season on the 60-day injured list after undergoing internal brace surgery on is right elbow in January. Those two will not count against the 40-man roster while they are sidelined.
Left-handers James Paxton and Joely Rodriguez and right-handers Garrett Whitlock, Wyatt Mills, and Brayan Bello will all start the season on the 15-day injured list. With Rodriguez on the shelf, Richard Bleier is the only lefty reliever the Red Sox will have available out of the bullpen to begin the year.
With that, here is the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster in its entirety:
Pitchers (13): LHP Richard Bleier, RHP Ryan Brasier, RHP Kutter Crawford, RHP Tanner Houck, RHP Kenley Jansen, RHP Zack Kelly, RHP Corey Kluber, RHP Chris Martin, RHP Kaleb Ort, RHP Nick Pivetta, LHP Chris Sale, RHP John Schreiber, RHP Josh Winckowski
Catchers (2): Reese McGuire, Connor Wong
Infielders (6): Christian Arroyo, Triston Casas, Yu Chang, Rafael Devers, Enrique Hernandez, Justin Turner
Outfielders (5): Adam Duvall, Rob Refsnyder, Raimel Tapia, Alex Verdugo, Masataka Yoshida
First pitch between the Red Sox and Orioles from Fenway Park is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN. Kluber gets the Opening Day start for Boston opposite fellow righty Kyle Gibson for Baltimore.
(Picture of Fenway Park: Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)