In addition to naming Josh Winckowski as the 27th man for Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles at Fenway Park, the Red Sox made four more roster moves heading into Game 1.
Most notably, Hansel Robles was placed on the 15-day injured list due to back spasms while Hirokazu Sawamura was picked for Triple-A Worcester. In a corresponding move, fellow relievers Ryan Brasier and Phillips Valdez were recalled from Worcester.
Robles last pitched in Sunday’s win over the Mariners before experiencing back problems while the Red Sox were in Chicago. Across 16 relief appearances this season, the 31-year-old right-hander has posted a 2.65 ERA and 5.20 FIP with 11 strikeouts on six walks in 17 innings pitched out of the bullpen. .
Since his time on the disabled list is retroactive to May 25, the earliest Robles could return to action would be Thursday, June 9, when the Sox face the Angels in Anaheim.
Sawamura, meanwhile, has pitched to the tune of a 3.60 ERA and 3.47 FIP with 13 strikeouts on six walks in 18 appearances (15 innings) so far this season. . The Japanese-born right-hander was most effective when he inherited runners on the base paths, but – at the same time – fell into the depth chart of Alex Cora.
Because he’s pitched three times in the past four days, Boston opted to send Sawamura to Worcester while adding new reinforcements to Brasier and Valdez.
Brasier and Valdez both opened the 2021 season in the Sox’s bullpen but were optioned to the WooSox at different times this month. Brasier, who was sent off on May 20, had two scoreless outings for Worcester. Valdez, who was fired May 2, produced a 1.17 ERA in six appearances (7 2/3 innings) for the subsidiary.
The Red Sox didn’t need to use their bullpen as Nathan Eovaldi pitched a full game in the daily cap of Saturday’s double bill. That could change in Game 2 with Winckowski making his first career start at the big league level.