Red Sox place Trevor Story on injured list with left heel contusion, recall Bobby Dalbec from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed second baseman Trevor Story on the 10-day injured list with a left heel contusion. In a corresponding move, first baseman/third baseman Bobby Dalbec was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced prior to Thursday’s series opener against the Yankees.

Story has not played since September 11, when he banged his left heel on the first-base bag in the seventh inning of a 1-0 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. At that time, it was not believed that the 29-year-old would be sidelined for long.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora had said several times over the last 11 days that Story could be back in the lineup soon, but that timeline kept getting pushed back to the point where a trip to the injured list became necessary.

Since his stint on the injured list was backdated to Sept. 19, Story will first be eligible to be activated one week from Thursday. The Red Sox will have just seven games remaining on their schedule at that point, so they could very well elect to shut down the veteran infielder for the remainder of the year.

Story, who is in the first year of a six-year, $140 million contract, spent more than six weeks on the injured list earlier this summer because of a small hairline fracture near his right wrist. Upon returning from the IL, the right-handed hitter batted .340/.389/.500 with five doubles, one home run, eight RBIs, four runs scored, three stolen bases, four walks, and 17 strikeouts across 13 games (54 plate appearances) before injuring his heel two Sundays ago.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Story has slashed .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs, 53 runs scored, 13 stolen bases, 32 walks, and 132 strikeouts over 94 games and 396 trips to the plate. He has also been one of the better defensive second baseman in the American League when healthy.

With Story out of action for the time being, Christian Arroyo, Enrique Hernandez, and Yu Chang figure to see the lion’s share of their playing time come at second base. Chang will be making his second start there for Boston on Thursday.

Dalbec, meanwhile, returns to the Red Sox after being sent down on Sept. 4, when fellow first baseman Triston Casas was called up from Worcester. From the time he was demoted, the 27-year-old slugger appeared in 13 games for the WooSox and went 12-for-48 (.250) with five home runs and eight runs driven in.

At the big-league level this season, Dalbec has struggled to a .211/.282/.362 slash line to go along with nine doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 36 RBIs, 38 runs scored, three stolen bases, 29 walks, and 113 strikeouts in 111 games (340 plate appearances). He is not in Thursday’s starting lineup.

(Picture of Trevor Story: G Fiume/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Kevin Plawecki for assignment, call up Franklin German from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox designated catcher Kevin Plawecki for assignment prior to Saturday’s 9-0 loss to the Royals. In a corresponding move, reliever Franklin German had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester.

Plawecki, 31, spent the last three seasons in Boston after first signing with the Red Sox in January 2020. While primarily serving as a backup to Christian Vazquez, the right-handed hitter slashed .305/.364/.414 with four home runs and 32 RBIs over 89 games in his first two seasons with the club.

While that sort of production earned Plawecki additional playing time during the Sox’ postseason run last October, his numbers have taken a hit this year. Coming into play on Saturday, Plawecki was batting just .217/.287/.287 to go along with eight doubles, one home run, 12 RBIs, 15 runs scored, 14 walks, and 28 strikeouts across 60 games spanning 175 trips to the plate.

On the other side of things, Plawecki had established himself as a quality game-caller who was well-liked among the Red Sox pitching staff. That being said, he only managed to throw out four of 44 base stealers this season.

Taking those factors, as well as the fact that he is slated to become a free-agent this off-season, into consideration, the Red Sox elected to move on from Plawecki now since he is not in their future plans.

With only 17 games remaining on the schedule, the Sox want to give younger backstops such as Connor Wong and Reese McGuire as many opportunities to catch as possible. Wong, 26, is under club control through 2027 while McGuire, 27, is under club control through 2025.

“We’ve got to be thinking about the future,” manager Alex Cora said Saturday. “Reese and Connor, they’re going to be catching a lot the rest of the season.”

German can now also be considered part of Boston’s future plans after making his big-league debut and being added to the Sox’ 40-man roster on Sunday. The right-hander allowed four runs on two hits and two walks without recording an out in the sixth inning, but he is still viewed as one of the more intriguing relief prospects in the organization.

The Red Sox acquired German and Adam Ottavino from the Yankees last January. The former fourth-round draft selection began the 2021 campaign in Double-A Portland’s starting rotation but has not looked back since becoming a full-time reliever.

Upon making the jump from Portland to Worcester in late May, German posted a 2.58 ERA and 3.36 FIP with 46 strikeouts to 16 walks over 32 relief appearances (38 1/3 innings) for the WooSox. He held opposing hitters to a .153 batting average against.

German, who turns 25 later this month, becomes the sixth different Red Sox player to make their major-league debut this season, joining the likes of Brayan Bello, Triston Casas, Jeter Downs, Zack Kelly, and Josh Winckowski. He will wear the No. 71.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Brian Fluharty/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Yu Chang activated, Jeurys Familia designated for assignment, Jaylin Davis outrighted

The Red Sox made a series of roster moves before wrapping up a quick two-game series against the Yankees at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Infielder Yu Chang, who was claimed off waivers from the Rays on Monday, was added to the active roster. To make room on the 28-man roster for Chang, veteran reliever Jeurys Familia was officially designated for assignment.

Additionally, outfielder Jaylin Davis, who was designated for assignment on Monday, cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Chang, 27, will be playing for his fourth team this season. The Taiwan native began the year with the Guardians before being traded to the Pirates for cash considerations in late May. He was then designated for assignment by Pittsburgh and claimed by Tampa Bay in early July.

Between the three clubs, Chang has batted .236/.278/.349 with four doubles, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 11 walks, and 52 strikeouts over 58 games (164 plate appearances). The right-handed hitter slashed a more respectable .260/.305/.385 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 36 games (105 plate appearances with the Rays.

Chang originally signed with the Guardians for $500,000 as an international free agent coming out of Taitung in June 2013. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder was once regarded as one of the top prospects in Cleveland’s farm system but he has not been able to find his footing at the big-league level.

That being said, the Red Sox still took a chance on Chang and his versatility likely played a role in that since he has experience at all four infield positions. Since he is out of minor-league options, though, Boston will need to keep Chang on its active roster if it does not intend on exposing him to waivers.

Chang, who will wear the No. 12 with the Sox, is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup, but he should be available off the bench if needed.

Familia, on the other hand, saw his Red Sox tenure come to an end on Tuesday night after a disastrous 10th inning against the Yankees. The right-hander loaded the bases with two outs before giving up a game-winning three-run double to Gleyber Torres that lifted New York to a 7-6 victory.

After signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the Phillies in March, Familia struggled to a 6.09 ERA in 38 appearances before being cut loose by Philadelphia in early August. The former All-Star closer then inked a minors pact with the Red Sox before having his contract selected on Aug. 9.

Since joining Boston’s bullpen, Familia has posted a 6.10 ERA and 5.15 FIP to go along with eight strikeouts to seven walks over 10 relief outings spanning 10 1/3 innings of work. Tuesday’s performance was the last straw for the 32-year-old hurler, who made the announcement himself that he had been designated for assignment.

Given that he will likely clear waivers in the coming days, Familia said Tuesday night that he plans on returning home to the Dominican Republic to rest up and then prepare for whatever opportunities may present themselves next year.

UPDATE: Familia cleared waivers on Friday and rejected an outright assignment in favor of free agency, the Red Sox announced.

By removing Familia and adding Chang, the Red Sox will carry 15 position players and 13 pitchers on their active roster for the time being. They also have a vacancy on their 40-man roster.

Davis, meanwhile, was designated for assignment so that the Red Sox could add Chang to their 40-man roster on Monday. The 28-year-old was initially claimed off waivers from the Giants in late April but has since been removed from Boston’s 40-man roster on two separate occasions.

Each time, Davis cleared waivers and was subsequently outrighted to Worcester, where he is batting .198/.315/.318 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 76 games with the WooSox. In two stints with Boston, the right-handed hitter has gone 8-for-24 (.333) with one double, two RBIs, three runs scored, three walks, and 11 strikeouts over 12 games. 

(Picture of Yu Chang: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Red Sox call up Abraham Almonte from Triple-A Worcester, place Franchy Cordero on 60-day injured list

Before wrapping up a three-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night, the Red Sox selected the contract of outfielder Abraham Almonte from Triple-A Worcester.

In a corresponding move, first baseman/outfielder Franchy Cordero was placed on the 60-day injured list with a right ankle sprain, the club announced.

Almonte will join the Red Sox after being acquired from the Brewers for cash considerations in late July. The 33-year-old has batted .291/.469/.536 with four doubles, one triple, seven home runs, 24 RBIs, 30 runs scored, five stolen bases, 36 walks, and 29 strikeouts in 32 games (147 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

A veteran of nine big-league seasons, Almonte originally broke in with the Mariners in 2013 and has since played for six different teams. Most recently, the switch-hitter out of the Dominican Republic appeared in 64 games for the World Series champion Atlanta Braves last year and slashed .216/.331/.399 with 12 doubles, five homers, 19 runs driven in, 20 runs scored, one stolen base, 26 walks, and 38 strikeouts.

Defensively, Almonte has major-league experience at all three outfield positions. That being said, the 5-foot-10, 223-pounder saw the majority of his playing time in Worcester come in right field.

While Almonte is not in Wednesday’s starting lineup, he will be available off the bench and will be wearing the No. 48.

The Red Sox needed to create a spot on their 40-man roster in order to call up Almonte. They did so by placing Cordero on the 60-day injured list, thus ending his season.

Cordero sprained both sides of his right ankle in the fifth inning of Monday’s loss to the Rays. It happened as he attempted to track down a fly ball off the bat of Randy Arozarena.

The 28-year-old wound up running into the left field wall and got his right cleat stuck in the fence’s padding. That caused him to land awkwardly and hit the ground in pain. He was ultimately carted off the field after not being able to put any weight on his right leg.

In two stints with Boston this season, Cordero batted .219/.300/.397 to go along with 17 doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 29 RBIs, 36 runs scored, four stolen bases, 28 walks, and 92 strikeouts across 84 games and 275 trips to the plate.

Acquired from the Royals in last February’s Andrew Benintendi trade, the left-handed hitting Cordero is eligible for arbitration in 2023.

(Picture of Abraham Almonte: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox’ Enmanuel Valdez takes home International League Player of the Week honors

Red Sox infield prospect Enmanuel Valdez was named the International League Player of the Week for the week of August 29-September 4, Minor League Baseball announced on Monday.

In Triple-A Worcester’s last series against the Buffalo Bisons at Polar Park, Valdez appeared in all six games and went 10-for-24 (.417) with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, 10 RBIs, eight runs scored, one stolen base, three walks, and four strikeouts. He finished a single shy of the cycle on Sunday.

Since making his WooSox debut on Aug. 3, Valdez has batted .236/.325/.500 (114 wRC+) to go along with six doubles, one triple, seven homers, 27 runs driven in, 22 runs scored, two stolen bases, 15 walks, and 31 strikeouts over 28 games (127 plate appearances). Among those in the International League who have made at least 120 trips to the plate this season, the left-handed hitter ranks 51st in slugging percentage and 16th in isolated power (.264), per FanGraphs.

Defensively, Valdez has seen playing time at three different positions in his time with the WooSox. After starting at second base on Sunday, the 5-foot-9, 191-pounder has logged 213 innings at second, 15 innings at third, and 17 innings in left field.

Valdez, 23, was originally signed by the Astros for $450,000 as an international free-agent coming out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015. The Red Sox acquired the San Juan de la Maguana native and fellow prospect Wilyer Abreu from Houston in exchange for catcher Christian Vazquez ahead of last month’s trade deadline.

Now, Valdez is regarded by Baseball America as the 16th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system. The publication describes him as “a bat-first infielder with a good combination of power and contact.” While there are some defensive concerns, he is “a tough out that grinds out at-bats, can hit for contact and punish mistakes.”

Valdez, who turns 24 in December, can become eligible for this winter’s Rule 5 Draft if he is not added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November deadline. Unlike Eddinson Paulino, who has yet to play above Low-A, Valdez seems like more of a lock to be added given his experience and level of production at Triple-A.

“If he were going to get called up tomorrow, I think his ability to play [multiple] positions would be very valuable for a major-league clubhouse and a major-league bench,” Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham said of Valdez in a recent conversation with The Athletic’s Chad Jennings. “He can play infield. He can play a corner (outfield) spot. And he can run into baseballs with power. So, I think the skillset lends itself really well to being an impactful major-league player. We’ve seen athleticism, and we’ve seen some areas that can be improved upon. I know our Triple-A staff already feel they’ve made some strides ins some of the smaller motor learning skills that he can improve upon while being in the infield, whether that be first-step quickness or the way he moves from left to right. And same thing in the outfield, some of the first step and quickness, I think he’s shown improvement on.”

“But, I think we’ve got a twitchy guy who has power, who drives the baseball, and the better he’s able to have an understanding of the strike zone and what he needs to do to consistently drive the baseball to all fields will allow him to be more impactful,” added Abraham. “But I think in a lot of ways he’s someone who’s incredibly unique, who can do all of those things (that profile well as a utility man) and still be someone who can play one position and play there for a consistent amount of time. I think that’s incredibly valuable these days. As we know, our Major League team has a bunch of those guys, our Triple-A team has a bunch of those guys. Getting yourself in the lineup to make an impact is really important.”

(Picture of Enmanuel Valdez: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox activate Zack Kelly from paternity list, option Josh Winckowski to Triple-A Worcester

Before opening a three-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday, the Red Sox activated reliever Zack Kelly from the paternity leave list. In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Josh Winckowski was optioned to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced.

Kelly left the Red Sox on Friday to be with his wife, Brittany, at home in South Carolina. The couple welcomed their first child — a son named Kayden — on Saturday. Players can spend up to three days on paternity leave.

Boston originally called up Kelly from Triple-A Worcester last week. The 27-year-old former undrafted free-agent made his major-league debut against the Twins in Minnesota last Monday. He has since since allowed two earned runs on four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over three relief appearances spanning three innings of work. That is good for an ERA of 6.00, but a much more respectable 2.45 FIP.

Winckowski, meanwhile, started in place of the injured Kutter Crawford in Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers at Fenway Park. The 24-year-old hurler allowed two earned runs on three hits, three walks, and three strikeouts over four innings of work.

Since making his big-league debut in late May, Winckowski has posted a 5.75 ERA and 5.08 FIP to go along with 41 strikeouts to 26 walks over 14 starts spanning 67 1/3 innings. He also owns a 3.83 ERA in 10 starts (47 innings) with the WooSox.

As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, this is the fourth time this season the Red Sox have optioned Winckowski to the minors. They can now only send him down one more time before they would need to expose him to waivers.

(Picture of Zack Kelly: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Red Sox place Zack Kelly on paternity leave list, recall Tyler Danish from Triple-A Worcester

The Red Sox have placed reliever Zack Kelly on the paternity leave list. In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Tyler Danish was recalled from Triple-A Worcester, the club announced prior to Friday’s contest against the Rangers at Fenway Park.

Kelly and his wife, Brittany, are expecting the birth of their first child any day. The 27-year-old flew home to be with her in South Carolina and can spend up to three days on the paternity leave list. He told The Eagle-Tribune’s Mac Cerullo he expects to rejoin the Red Sox in Tampa Bay this coming Monday.

Boston selected Kelly’s contract from Triple-A Worcester earlier this week. The former undrafted free-agent out of Division II Newberry College made his major-league debut against the Twins in Minnesota this past Monday and has since allowed two earned runs on four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over three relief appearances spanning three innings of work. That is good for a 6.00 ERA, but a much more respectable 2.46.

Danish, on the other hand, returns to the Red Sox after originally being placed on the 15-day injured list with a right forearm strain in early July. His rehab was halted due to a bout with COVID-19, but he was finally activated and optioned to Triple-A Worcester on August 28.

The 27-year-old hurler made just one appearance for the WooSox on Tuesday, surrendering four runs on five hits in a single inning. With the Red Sox this season, Danish — who actually turns 28 later this month — has posted a 4.02 ERA and 4.75 FIP with 25 strikeouts to eight walks across 26 relief outings (31 1/3 innings) between April 20 and July 6. Both of those figures represent a career-high for the former second-round pick.

(Picture of Zack Kelly: Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

Red Sox top pitching prospect Brandon Walter done for season

If there was any hope that Brandon Walter was going to return to the mound before the end of the season, Red Sox director of player development Brian Abraham put that to rest on Monday.

Walter, who is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 4 pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system, last pitched in an affiliated game on June 8. He was placed on the minor-league injured list with a neck strain on June 24 and has been rehabbing in Fort Myers since early July.

“It’s a little more complicated in terms of exactly what he’s dealing with,” Abraham told The Athletic’s Chad Jennings. “It’s (also) a back issue — obviously they’re all correlated. He’s been doing some light physical activity. He’s been checked out by some doctors. He’s going to miss the rest of the season, obviously, but we’re hopeful he’s going to have a normal off-season ramp-up to be ready for next year.

“Without getting into too many specifics, it’s a neck strain that has turned into a little bit more of a back issue,” he added. “A bulging disc is actually what we’re talking about here. We’re just kind of working our way through that.”

Originally selected by the Red Sox in the 26th round of the 2019 amateur draft as a senior out of the University of Delaware, Walter burst onto the scene last season by displaying more explosive stuff and posting a 2.92 ERA in 89 1/3 innings between Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville.

The 25-year-old left-hander broke camp this spring with Double-A Portland and proceeded to pitch to a a 2.88 ERA and 2.73 FIP over nine starts (50 innings) before earning a promotion to Triple-A Worcester in late May. He made just two starts for the WooSox, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits, four walks, and seven strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings, before straining his neck.

Walter, who turns 26 next week, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound southpaw is equipped with a unique delivery and a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s sinker, a low-80s changeup, and a low-80s slider. He could be of interest to other clubs if the Red Sox do not protect him. They will have until late November to make that decision.

(Picture of Brandon Walter: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox to call up Connor Wong, Eduard Bazardo from Triple-A Worcester as rosters expand

With major-league rosters expanding from 26 to 28 players on Thursday, the Red Sox have called up catcher Connor Wong and right-hander Eduard Bazardo from Triple-A Worcester, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo and Christopher Smith.

This will be Wong’s fourth big-league stint of the season. The 26-year-old backstop has already appeared in five games for Boston and has gone 2-for-8 with an RBI and two strikeouts.

In Worcester, however, Wong has been on a torrid stretch as of late. Dating back to August 13, when he returned to the lineup after missing two weeks with a wrist injury, the right-handed hitter has slashed .368/.411/.838 (220 wRC+) with five doubles, nine home runs, 22 RBIs, 14 runs scored, four walks, and 21 strikeouts over his last 16 games.

On the 2022 campaign as a whole, Wong has batted .288/.349/.489 (121 wRC+) to go along with 20 doubles, 15 homers, 44 runs driven in, 47 runs scored, seven stolen bases, 27 walks, and 80 strikeouts across 81 games (355 plate appearances) with the WooSox.

From behind the plate, Wong has thrown out 12 of a possible 49 possible base stealers while logging 460 innings at catcher. The 6-foot-1, 181-pounder also made his first start of the season at second base last Saturday in an effort to add to his versatility.

One of three players acquired from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts trade, Wong is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top defensive catcher in Boston’s farm system.

Bazardo, meanwhile, is celebrating his 27th birthday on Thursday and has received quite the gift. In 37 appearances (four starts) for the WooSox this season, the Venezuelan-born righty has posted a 3.45 ERA and 3.58 FIP with 60 strikeouts to 19 walks over 57 1/3 innings of work.

Originally signed out of Maracay for just $8,000 in July 2014, Bazardo was initially added to Boston’s 40-man roster in November 2020 after an impressive showing at fall instructs. He made his major-league debut last April and appeared in a total of two games.

Although it seemed like Bazardo had a chance to crack the Sox’ Opening Day roster this spring, he was designated for assignment in early April. But he cleared waivers and was outrighted to Worcester.

With that being said, the Red Sox will need to add Bazardo to their 40-man roster, though they already have an opening on it and will not have to designate someone else for assignment.

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

Red Sox outright Hirokazu Sawamura to Triple-A Worcester after reliever clears waivers

The Red Sox have outrighted reliever Hirokazu Sawamura to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Wednesday afternoon.

Sawamura, like Austin Davis, was designated for assignment on Monday so that the Red Sox could shake up their bullpen and call up right-handers Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester. While Davis has since been claimed by the Twins, Sawamura has cleared waivers and will remain in the organization as a non-40-man roster player.

The 34-year-old righty out of Japan originally signed a two-year, $3 million deal with Boston last February after spending the previous 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball. The contract also included a dual player/club option for 2023.

In 49 relief appearances for the Red Sox this season, Sawamura posted a 3.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks over 50 2/3 innings of work. That includes a 6.46 ERA in 15 outings since the All-Star break and a 5.83 ERA in 26 outings at Fenway Park. The 6-foot, 212-pound hurler currently ranks in the ninth percentile in hard-hit rate (44.8%) and the seventh percentile in walk rate (12.2%), per Baseball Savant.

Since making his major-league debut last spring, Sawamura has pitched to a 3.39 ERA (4.59 FIP) across 104 appearances (103 2/3 innings) with Boston. He will now provide the club with experienced bullpen depth in Worcester through the end of the season.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, Sawamura’s dual option for next season is still intact. The club option is worth $3.7 million, meaning the Red Sox can bring him back for that price in 2023. If they decline, Sawamura can then exercise a $1.9 million player option to return or decline it and be paid $1 million in the form of a buyout. If Sawamura is back with the Sox in some capacity next spring, he will still not count towards the 40-man roster.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)