The Red Sox have reinstated outfielder Franchy Cordero from the COVID-19 related injured list, the team announced Tuesday morning.
In a corresponding move, right-hander John Schreiber was designated for assignment in order to make room for Cordero on the 40-man roster.
Additionally, both infielder Michael Chavis and right-hander Colten Brewer were optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Worcester.
Cordero being activated off the COVID-19 injured list most certainly means he will be good to go for Opening Day on Thursday.
Originally acquired from the Royals as part of the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to Kansas City, the 26-year-old has impressed thus far in Grapefruit League play.
Coming into Tuesday, Cordero is slashing .294/.333/.588 with one triple, one home run, and one RBI through his first six games and 18 plate appearances with the Sox. He played back-to-back games for the first time this spring on Sunday and Monday.
Upon arriving in Fort Myers last month, the Dominican native’s status for Opening Day became cloudy once he was placed on the COVID-19 injured list after testing positive for the virus back home.
The left-handed hitting slugger was not cleared to return to baseball activities until March 11, but it now appears as though he has the green light for Thursday’s season-opening contest against the Orioles at Fenway Park.
“He feels great,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Cordero this past Sunday. “There’s a good chance he will be with us Opening Day. Let’s see how he reacts out of this one. But everything is very positive with the way he has been able to bounce back. The game in Tampa, he hit a triple, he move around in the outfield. He’s in a good position.”
Cordero, who is listed at 6-foot-3 and 232 pounds, has played in just 95 games since making his major-league debut with the Padres in 2017 on account of multiple stints on the injured list. He has been hampered by a right wrist sprain, a right elbow sprain, a tight forearm strain, and a left abductor strain in the past three years alone.
Because of his history, the Red Sox will clearly have to be cautious in how they manage Cordero to ensure that he can stay healthy and play as many games as possible.
With Cordero being reinstated on Tuesday, the Sox needed to clear a 40-man roster spot for the outfielder, and they did so by designating right-hander John Schreiber for assignment.
Schreiber, who turned 27 earlier this month, was claimed off waivers from the Tigers back in February.
The 6-foot-2, 210 pound righty appeared in just two games for the Sox this spring, allowing a pair of earned runs on five hits, one walk, and one strikeout over 1 1/3 total innings pitched in those two appearances. He was optioned to the alternate training site on March 16.
The Red Sox now have seven days to either trade, release, or sneak Schreiber through waivers if he is not claimed by another club first.
Turning to the next move made by the Sox on Tuesday, infielder Michael Chavis and right-handed reliever Colten Brewer were both optioned to the club’s alternate training site in Worcester.
The 25-year-old Chavis had been competing with fellow infielder Christian Arroyo for one of Boston’s final bench spots, and it even seemed like both could make the team’s Opening Day roster if Cordero was not going to be ready in time.
But with Cordero getting the go-ahead, Arroyo and Chavis essentially become redundant since they both hit from the right side of the plate. And with Arroyo being out of minor-league options, the decision became clear that Chavis would be the one receiving a demotion.
This news comes in spite of the fact that Chavis had a solid spring (.892 OPS in 65 plate appearances), but it goes without saying that the Georgia native still has some things to work on at the plate after struggling to the tune of a .212/.259/.377 slash line across 42 games in 2020.
Having written all that, it would not be all that surprising to see Chavis back up with the Sox sooner rather than later. He has, after all, only played 29 career games at the Triple-A level, so perhaps he can use this demotion as a way to better himself once the Triple-A season begins in May.
As for Brewer, the 28-year-old was also embroiled in a spring competition for one of Boston’s final bullpen spots. That competition was ultimately won by fellow righty Phillips Valdez, though neither Valdez (9.35 ERA in 8 1/3 innings) nor Brewer (9.95 ERA in 6 1/3 innings) looked particularly sharp in Grapefruit League play.
As noted by MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “Valdez and Brewer will be easily interchangeable, as both can be optioned to and from Worcester as the Red Sox choose. Brewer (4.59 ERA in 80 ⅓ innings in two seasons with Boston) will likely be one of the first relievers called up if Boston needs a relief arm.”
With all these moves being made, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is at full capacity. More transactions are likely to come — with Eduardo Rodriguez and Ryan Brasier being placed on the injured list among them — but for now, here’s how Boston’s 26-man Opening Day roster should shape up come Thursday morning:
Starting rotation (5): Nathan Eovaldi, Tanner Houck, Martin Perez, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Richards
Bullpen (9): Matt Andriese, Garrett Whitlock, Austin Brice, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, Hirokazu Sawamura, Phillips Valdez, Adam Ottavino, Matt Barnes
Catchers (2): Christian Vazquez, Kevin Plawecki
Infielders (6): Bobby Dalbec, Enrique Hernandez, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Marwin Gonzalez, Christian Arroyo
Outfielders (4): Alex Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe, J.D. Martinez, Franchy Cordero
(Picture of Michael Chavis: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)