Red Sox place Chris Sale on 15-day injured list, option Connor Wong to Triple-A Worcester; Brayan Bello, Yolmer Sánchez called up

Before opening a three-game weekend series against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on Friday night, the Red Sox made a series of roster moves.

First off, left-hander Chris Sale was placed on the 15-day injured list with a left fifth finger fracture, retroactive to July 19. To take Sale’s place on the active roster, right-hander Brayan Bello was recalled from Triple-A Worcester.

Additionally, catcher Connor Wong was optioned to Worcester on Thursday. To take Wong’s place on the active roster, veteran infielder Yolmer Sanchez was selected to the 40-man roster from Worcester.

Sale, in the first inning of his second start of the season against the Yankees on Sunday, was struck in the hand by a 106.7 mph line drive off the bat of Aaron Hicks. The 33-year-old southpaw was immediately removed from the game and was later diagnosed with a broken left pinky. He underwent surgery — or an open reduction and internal fixation of a left fifth finger proximal phalanx fracture — in Wellesley, Mass. on Monday. The Red Sox are optimistic that he will pitch again this season.

Bello, meanwhile, is up with the Sox for the second time this season. The 23-year-old prospect made two starts against the Rays (one at home, one on the road) earlier this month and allowed a total of nine runs on 13 hits, six walks, and seven strikeouts over eight combined innings of work. He is expected to start Sunday’s series finale against Toronto.

On the position player side of things, Wong was optioned back down to Worcester so that the Red Sox could add another infielder (Sanchez) to their roster in place of the injured Trevor Story.

Wong took the place of Story on the major-league roster when the second baseman was placed on the 10-day injured list on Saturday. He appeared in two games during last weekend’s series in the Bronx and went 1-for-1 with a single.

Sanchez, meanwhile, made a brief cameo for Boston as a COVID-19 substitute back in June. Filling in for the then-unvaccinated Jarren Duran in Toronto on June 28, Sanchez went 0-for-1 with a walk and sacrifice bunt.

With the WooSox this season, the switch-hitting 30-year-old has batted .247/.378/.413 with 12 doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 33 RBIs, 43 runs scored, six stolen bases, 50 walks, and 67 strikeouts over 78 games (303 plate appearances) while seeing playing time at every infield position besides first base.

The Red Sox did not not need to create an opening on their 40-man roster for Sanchez since rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski is currently on the COVID-19 related injured list. Boston’s 40-man roster is now at full capacity.

(Picture of Yolmer Sanchez: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Josh Winckowski on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Darwinzon Hernandez from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed right-hander Josh Winckowski on the COVID-19 related injured list. In a corresponding move, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez has been recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced prior to Thursday’s series finale against the Rays.

Winckowski, who is vaccinated against COVID-19, has tested positive for the virus. The 24-year-old could be out for the next 10 days, though he could return sooner if he registers two negative PCR tests, goes more than 24 hours without a fever, and receives approval from Major League Baseball’s joint medical committee.

Since making his major-league debut in May, Winckowski has made seven starts for the Red Sox, posting a 4.38 ERA and 4.25 FIP to go along with 26 strikeouts to 14 walks over 37 innings of work. Considering that the rookie hurler started against the Rays on Wednesday, he was unlikely to pitch again before the All-Star break.

While on the COVID-19 related injured list, Winckowski will not count against Boston’s 40-man roster, which currently sits at 39 players.

Hernandez, meanwhile, returns to the Red Sox for the first time this season. The 25-year-old southpaw did not make the Opening Day roster out of spring training and was instead sent down to Worcester to work on a starter’s schedule.

Seven starts into his season with the WooSox, Hernandez suffered a torn right meniscus that ultimately required him to undergo knee surgery in late May. The native Venezuelan was sidelined for a little more than two months before being activated from Worcester’s injured list on July 4.

In four relief appearances for the WooSox since then, Hernandez has yet to allow a run while scattering two hits, two walks, and six strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings out of the bullpen.

With the Red Sox last year, Hernandez posted a 3.38 ERA and 4.80 FIP with 54 strikeouts to 31 walks over 48 outings spanning 40 innings of relief.

(Picture of Josh Winckowski: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Kevin Plawecki from COVID-19 related injured list, option Connor Wong to Triple-A Worcester; Matt Barnes transferred to 60-day injured list

Another day, another series of roster moves for the Red Sox.

Prior to Wednesday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox announced that backup catcher Kevin Plawecki had been reinstated from the COVID-19 related injured list.

In order to make room for Plawecki on the major-league roster, fellow backstop Connor Wong was optioned to Triple-A Worcester. In order to make room for him on the 40-man roster, right-hander Matt Barnes was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

Plawecki returns to action after missing the last two games on the COVID-related injured list. The 31-year-old exhibited COVID-like symptoms but never tested positive for the virus. He will be active for Wednesday’s contest at Tropicana Field.

Wong filled in for Plawecki in the first two games of this four-game set. The 26-year-old made his third appearance of the season while pinch-hitting for Jarren Duran in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay. He went 0-for-1 with a strikeout and finished the game behind the plate.

While on the COVID-related injured list, Plawecki did not count against Boston’s 40-man roster. So the club created a spot for him by moving Barned to the 60-day injured list. Barnes was originally placed on the 15-day injured list because of right shoulder inflammation on June 1, though the move was made retroactively to May 31.

With that, the soonest Barnes could return to the Red Sox would be Saturday, July 30. The 32-year-old reliever began a rehab assignment in the Florida Complex League on Saturday. In two starts with the Fort Myers-based affiliate, he has allowed four runs on five hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over two innings.

Prior to getting injured in late May, Barnes had struggled to the tune of a 7.94 ERA and 5.29 FIP with 14 strikeouts to 12 walks across 20 relief appearances (17 innings) with the Red Sox this season.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Michael Feliz elects free agency after being outrighted off Red Sox’ 40-man roster

Four days after being designated for assignment by the Red Sox, reliever Michael Feliz has cleared waivers and has elected free agency in lieu of accepting an outright assignment to Triple-A Worcester.

Feliz made one appearance for Boston after having his contract selected from Worcester last week. Taking the place of the injured Tyler Danish on the major-league roster, the right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit, two walks, and four strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings of relief against the Yankees on July 8.

The following day, Feliz — who is out of minor-league options — lost his spot on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster when fellow reliever Kaleb Ort was called up from the WooSox.

Since he has accrued more than five years of big-league service time, Feliz had the ability to reject an assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency should he clear waivers, which is exactly what happened on Wednesday.

Now, Feliz is free to sign elsewhere. The 29-year-old hurler from the Dominican Republic could appeal to other clubs given the fact he posted a 3.28 ERA and 2.85 FIP with 28 strikeouts to nine walks across 18 appearances (three starts) and 24 2/3 innings for the WooSox this season.

(Picture of Michael Feliz: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Chris Sale from 60-day injured list ahead of left-hander’s season debut, option Brayan Bello to Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have reinstated left-hander Chris Sale from the 60-day injured list. In order to make room for Sale on the major-league roster, right-hander Brayan Bello was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced Tuesday.

Sale will make his highly-anticipated 2022 debut against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night. The 33-year-old southpaw missed the first three months of the season due to a right rib cage stress fracture he sustained while throwing live batting practice back in February. His recovery from that was slowed for a period of time in May because of a non-baseball medical issue.

After resuming his throwing program, Sale was sent out on a rehab assignment in late June. He made two starts in the Florida Complex League, one start for Double-A Portland, and one start for Triple-A Worcester.

In that outing for the WooSox against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at Polar Park last Wednesday, Sale allowed one run on three hits, five walks, and five strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work. He threw 72 pitches (42 strikes) during that stretch while mixing in a high-90s fastball, a mid-80s changeup, and a high-70s slider.

As Alex Cora and the Red Sox look to bounce back against the Rays on Tuesday, they are hoping to get about 85 pitches out of Sale, who will be working on an extra day of rest and is also in line to start Boston’s first-half finale in the Bronx on Sunday.

“I believe we can be more aggressive now compared to last year,” Cora told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) on Monday. “Obviously, tomorrow, probably 85 pitches. But I think we’ll be more aggressive. The fact we’re thinking about pitching him Sunday tells you a lot.”

Sale, of course, missed all of 2020 and the first four months of 2021 while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. When the lefty returned to the mound last year, he was still building back up his arm strength.

This time around, however, the Red Sox seem optimistic that Sale will be able to fire on all cylinders since he is not working his way back from a major arm surgery. It also helps that the Lakeland, Fla. native will be pitching close to home.

Bello, meanwhile, returns to Worcester after making the first two starts of his big-league career against the same opponent in the Rays. Neither of those outings went particularly well, as the 23-year-old rookie surrendered nine earned runs on 13 hits, six walks, and seven strikeouts across eight combined innings.

Still, Bello showed at times why he is regarded by many as the most exciting pitching prospect the Red Sox have had in years. The Dominican-born righty will take what he learned from his first taste of the majors back to Worcester, where he owns a 2.81 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) for the WooSox.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of growing, a lot of learning,” Cora said of Bello Monday night. “Tonight was a great learning experience for him. We were very pleased with the last two innings. He gave us a chance to win the game.”

By activating and Sale and optioning Bello, the Red Sox now have a full active and 40-man roster. Boston did not need to create a spot on its 40-man roster for Sale after placing backup catcher Kevin Plawecki on the COVID-19 related injured list on Monday.

Once Plawecki is ready to return, the Sox will need to take someone else off the 40-man roster since players on the COVID-related IL do not count against it.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Kevin Plawecki on COVID-19 related injured list, recall Connor Wong From Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed catcher Kevin Plawecki on the COVID-19 related injured list. In a corresponding move, fellow backstop Connor Wong was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced prior to Monday’s game against the Rays.

It is unclear if Plawecki, who is vaccinated, has tested positive for COVID-19. MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that the 31-year-old is exhibiting COVID-like symptoms and is currently awaiting test results. He was previously sidelined from April 18-25 after testing positive for the virus.

By placing Plawecki on the COVID-related injured list, the Red Sox have cleared a spot on their 40-man roster, which now sits at 39 players. As noted by Cotillo, that is significant since it means they will not have to create an opening when they activate left-hander Chris Sale from the 60-day injured list ahead of his 2022 debut on Tuesday.

Boston will, however, need to make room on its 40-man roster for Plawecki once he is cleared to return to action. Plawecki came into play Monday slashing .156/.267/.221 with one home run and five RBIs in 30 games (91 plate appearances) this season.

Wong, meanwhile, will serve as the Sox’ backup catcher while Plawecki is out. He is active for Monday’s series opener at Tropicana Field.

This will mark Wong’s second stint of the season with the big-league club. The 26-year-old appeared in two games back in April and went 1-for-6 with an RBI. In 57 games with the WooSox this season, the right-handed hitting Wong has batted .267/.340/.404 (101 wRC+) to go along with 13 doubles, six home runs, 20 RBIs, 29 runs scored, and seven stolen bases across 250 trips to the plate.

By recalling Wong, the Red Sox now have all three players they acquired from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade on their major-league roster. Wong joins the likes of Alex Verdugo and Jeter Downs in Tampa Bay.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/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 release Hansel Robles

The Red Sox have released veteran reliever Hansel Robles, the team announced earlier Saturday afternoon.

Robles was designated for assignment on Wednesday so that top pitching prospect Brayan Bello could be added to the big-league roster ahead of his big-league debut. The move also created a space on the 40-man roster for the addition of Michael Feliz, who has since been designated for assignment himself.

Originally acquired from the Twins at last year’s trade deadline in exchange for Alex Scherff, Robles quickly became one of Alex Cora’s most trusted relievers during the latter half of the 2021 season. After making 14 straight scoreless appearances in September and being heavily relied upon during the playoffs, Robles was brought back on a minor-league contract in March.

It was therefore no surprise that the 31-year-old right-hander made Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training, thus locking him into a guaranteed salary of $2.25 million for the 2022 campaign.

Robles got his first full season in a Red Sox uniform off to a solid start, allowing just one earned run across nine April appearances. Things began to take a turn for the worst in May, though, and those struggles were compounded by a trip to the injured list (back spasms) that lasted about two weeks.

Upon returning from the IL on June 9, Robles gave up runs in five of his next 10 outings, bringing his ERA on the season up to 5.84 and his FIP up to 5.74. During this rough stretch, Robles’ fastball velocity was down from where it usually was. He lost his spot on the 40-man roster after giving up a run in the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s 8-4 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park.

Given the fact that any team that claimed Robles would be on the hook for the rest of his 2022 salary, it was not surprising to see that the Dominican-born righty cleared waivers. Since he has accrued enough major-league service time, he exercised his right to reject an outright assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency.

Now free to sign with whichever club he chooses, Robles will still be collecting from the Red Sox until the end the season.

(Picture of Hansel Robles: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox select Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester, designate Michael Feliz for assignment

The Red Sox have selected the contract of right-handed reliever Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester. In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Michael Feliz has been designated for assignment, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Ort is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game against the Yankees at Fenway Park. The 30-year-old made his major-league debut for Boston last September, appearing in one game as a COVID-related substitute while the club was in Seattle.

Originally acquired from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Ort has spent the vast majority of the last two seasons with the WooSox. This year alone, the Michigan-born righty has posted a 3.12 ERA and 2.62 FIP with 47 strikeouts to 16 walks over 33 relief appearances spanning 34 2/3 innings of work.

Undrafted out of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Ort initially signed with the Diamondbacks out of independent ball in 2016 but was released the following spring. He then latched on with the Yankees in May 2017 and spent the next three-plus years in the organization before getting scooped up by the Red Sox in December 2020.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Ort may not be much of a prospect at this point, but he has still proven to be an effective weapon out of Worcester’s bullpen the last two seasons thanks to a two-pitch mix that consists of a high-90s fastball and whiff-inducing slider.

Feliz, meanwhile, was added to Boston’s 40-man roster on Thursday and made his 2022 debut in Friday’s 12-5 loss to the Yankees. The 29-year-old relieved starter Connor Seabold and allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit, two walks, and four strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings. Thirty-four of the 57 pitches he threw went for strikes.

The Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Feliz, who has accrued enough service time to reject an outright assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency.

(Picture of Kaleb Ort: Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Michael Wacha on 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, recall Connor Seabold from Triple-A Worcester

Before taking on the Yankees at Fenway Park on Friday night, the Red Sox placed right-hander Michael Wacha on the 15-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, retroactive to July 5. In a corresponding move, fellow righty Connor Seabold has been recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Wacha heads to the injured list after dealing with a “heavy arm” for the last week or so. The 31-year-old was slated to start against the Rays on Monday but was scratched from that outing. The Red Sox were hopeful that Wacha would be able to go against the Yankees on Friday, but the righty did not bounce back as the team hoped he would.

“He hasn’t been able to bounce back from his bullpens or playing catch,” manager Alex Cora said of Wacha on Thursday. “Nothing structural. We actually tested him, an MRI and all that. Everything looks clean. It’s just, right now, he hasn’t been able to bounce back.”

In 13 starts for Boston this season, Wacha has posted a 2.69 ERA and 3.96 FIP with 50 strikeouts to 22 walks over 70 1/3 innings of work. Since his stint on the injured list was backdated by three days, the veteran hurler will be eligible to return to action July 22, which is the Red Sox’ first game after the All-Star break.

Seabold, meanwhile, will make his third start of the season for the Sox on Friday, which will also be his first-ever appearance at Fenway Park. The 26-year-old made two starts on the road last week, allowing a total of eight earned runs on 15 hits, three walks, and 11 strikeouts in 8 2/3 combined innings against the Blue Jays and Cubs.

With Wacha out through the All-Star break, Seabold could remain in Boston’s starting rotation for its next series against the Rays in Tampa Bay next week. On Friday, Seabold will be opposed by Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes as he takes the Fenway mound for the first time in his big-league career.

(Picture of Connor Seabold: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)