Before opening up a three-game series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, the Red Sox reinstated outfielder Rob Refsnyder from the 10-day injured list and utilityman Enrique Hernandez from the 60-day injured list.
In order to make room for Refsnyder on the major-league roster, fellow outfielder Jaylin Davis was optioned to Triple-A Worcester on Sunday night. In order to make room for Hernandez on both the 26- and 40-man rosters, veteran infielder Yolmer Sanchez was designated for assignment, the club announced.
Refsnyder returns to the Red Sox nearly three weeks after being placed on the injured list because of a right knee sprain on July 30. The 31-year-old began a rehab assignment with Double-A Portland this past Saturday and went 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs, three RBIs, four runs scored, and three walks while appearing in two games (both in right field) with the Sea Dogs.
Originally signed to a minor-league deal back in December, Refsnyder has been a pleasant surprise for Boston this season. After serving as a COVID-related substitute in late April, the right-handed hitter had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester in early June. Across those two stints, he has slashed .309/.385/.500 with six doubles, four homers, 12 RBIs, 16 runs scored, 10 walks, and 23 strikeouts over 34 games (109 plate appearances) at the big-league level.
Hernandez, on the other hand, had been sidelined for much longer while recovering from a right hip flexor strain he originally sustained in Anaheim on June 7. The versatile 30-year-old was sent out on a rehab assignment with the WooSox exactly one month after being placed on the 10-day injured list, but that was short-lived.
The Red Sox were forced to pull Hernandez from his rehab assignment after just one game. They subsequently sent him to visit a hip specialist in New York, where he received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to speed up the healing process. He was transferred to the 60-day injured list on July 23.
From that point forward, Hernandez resumed baseball activities earlier this month and, like Refsnyder, rehabbed in Portland last week, going 3-for-12 with two doubles, two RBIs, one walk, and four strikeouts in four games.
In addition to the hip strain, Hernandez revealed to reporters (including The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham) in Pittsburgh that he also dealt with a core injury that led to a hematoma developing in one of his abdominal muscles. As a result, he had 16 cubic centimeters of blood drained out through a needle in his back.
That procedure left Hernandez feeling as though “a switch turned off” on the entire right side of his body, hence the lengthy stint on the injured list that lasted more than two months.
Hernandez will bat seventh and start at shortstop for the first time this season in his return to Boston’s lineup on Tuesday night. The right-handed hitter is currently batting .209/.273/.340 with 16 doubles, four homers, 24 RBIs, 27 runs scored, 18 walks, and 38 strikeouts over 51 games (238 plate appearances) to this point in the year.
With Hernandez back in the fold, the Red Sox needed to create an opening on both their major-league and 40-man rosters. They did so by designating Sanchez for assignment.
Sanchez, 30, signed a minor-league deal with Boston in February. Like Refsnyder, the former Gold Glove Award winner made his Red Sox debut as a COVID-related substitute in June. He then had his contract selected from Worcester last month shortly after fellow infielder Trevor Story was placed on the injured list with a right hand contusion.
Primarily serving as infield depth, Sanchez has appeared in a total of 14 games for Boston this season. In those contests, the switch-hitting Venezuelan batted .108 (4-for-37) with two RBIs, one run, five walks, and 13 punchouts while seeing all of his playing time at second base.
The Red Sox will have the next seven days to either release or waive Sanchez, who has accrued enough big-league service time to refuse an outright assignment to the minors if he were to clear waivers.
Following Tuesday’s series of moves, Boston’s 26-man and 40-man rosters are back at full capacity.
(Picture of Enrique Hernandez: Quinn Harris/Getty Images)