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Joe Kelly optioned to Triple-A, Justin Masterson to take his next start

Good news: Joe Kelly is out. Bad news: Justin Masterson might be in

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Red Sox have optioned Joe Kelly to Triple-A Pawtucket, and will give Justin Masterson his next turn in the rotation.

Kelly earned some new life in the rotation earlier in the month with a strong start against Oakland when his back was against the wall. But since then he's surrendered 11 runs in under 15 innings of work spread across three starts. With a 5.67 ERA on the season and evidence mounting that he was a misplaced bullpen arm, it's no surprise that he's finally being pulled from the rotation. The only question now is whether he'll be heading to Triple-A to convert to relief, or if they'll keep on chasing that elusive dream of Joe Kelly, starting pitcher.

So that's the...decent news. Then there's Justin Masterson's return to the rotation.

If it's just once through, giving him a start to get Brian Johnson properly aligned with Joe Kelly's spot in the rotation, then whatever. The Red Sox aren't really in a position where they should care about any given game's results, and if it's likely going to be miserable to sit through, sometimes you have, effectively, bullpen games.

But if Justin Masterson is actually being given another chance as a starter in Boston? That's just plain ridiculous. During his time in Pawtucket, Masterson didn't show any signs of recovering his lost velocity. Without that velocity, he's a wild pitcher with no ability to force pitchers to hurry up at the plate and swing at anything he throws out of the strike zone. He fundamentally lacks the tools necessary to compete at this level as a starter, and going back to that well without anything having changed is a sign of either insanity, or incompetence.

Hopefully it's just the one game. Because if not, this is the baseball equivalent of Wile E. Coyote running headfirst into the tunnel he just painted on solid rock.