The Red Sox announced earlier on Wednesday that Alfredo Aceves would be starting in place of John Lackey in this turn through the rotation, but now they have taken things one step further and placed Lackey on the 15-day disabled list. While Lackey's first and second opinions on his bicep both said he was suffering just from inflammation, not a tear, the Red Sox are just being cautious to avoid pushing him back to soon after Lackey experienced some tightness on Tuesday while throwing. A disabled list stint also affords them a rehab assignment for Lackey, should they decide to take that route.
In addition, the Red Sox have 19 games in 19 days starting with Wednesday's contest against the Orioles, so with essentially a 24-man roster and Aceves temporarily in the rotation, the Red Sox would only have six relievers rather than seven. Putting Lackey on the DL keeps that from being a problem, and at a time when, depending on how Aceves pitches as a starter, they very well might need more than six relievers to manage the innings.
To take Lackey's roster spot and alleviate that issue, the Red Sox have called up reliever Alex Wilson from Pawtucket. He was recently placed on the 40-man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, and converted to relief last season while with the PawSox. Control is still a bit of an issue for him at times, and like with most pitchers, he has work to do on his command, but out of the bullpen he has a swing-and-miss fastball and slider.
Wilson should help soak up some of the lost Aceves innings out of the bullpen, meaning he might not find himself in any high-leverage spots during his stay here. That being said, if he performs well enough and impresses the Sox, he could stick around for a bit after if the shape of the roster allows it. Whether he sticks or not, when he first debuts, he'll be the first major-league pitcher ever to be born in Saudi Arabia -- the only player besides Wilson is Craig Stansberry, a pinch-hitter and second baseman who left the game two years ago.
The 2009 draft pick was selected in the second round by the Red Sox. While his success was modest for a few years, his stuff took off in Triple-A, where he has struck out nearly 10 batters per nine over 96 innings. The walks make him a work-in-progress, but there is obvious talent here that should be able to, at the least, give the Red Sox one more bullpen option to shuttle between the majors and minors as needed in 2013.