With Clay Buchholz making his way to the disabled list, the Red Sox have called up their top left-handed pitching prospect in Brian Johnson for his first trip to the major leagues.
It's ironic, really. We've spent much of the last two months wondering when push was going to come to shove with the worst aspects of the rotation. This, after all, is a team that started Justin Masterson just over a week ago. Joe Kelly was allowed to persist for months, and they still haven't done anything more than attempt to skip Rick Porcello. All this while Brian Johnson wasted away unused in the minors with a 2.73 ERA in Pawtucket.
And in the end...in the end it's a Clay Buchholz injury that finally gets the Red Sox to bring him up.
Careful what you wish for, I suppose?
One way or another, though, Johnson is here now, and that at least means the Sox might at least still find themselves with three decent starting pitching options when they come out of the break. Johnson is, of course, unproven. And while he's proven more than capable of shutting down Triple-A pitching and deserving of a chance to prove it in the majors, he was never the sort of arm who inspired huge dreams the way Eduardo Rodriguez has.
But given that whole "starting Justin Masterson in July," thing, a solid back-end starter would be a Godsend right now, even if the circumstances of this call-up only go to show that the baseball gods aren't terribly generous to this year's Red Sox team.
With the All-Star break coming up, don't be surprised if the Red Sox use Johnson out of the bullpen at some point in the last two games of their series against New York. Unless the front office has gone completely off the rails, Johnson has to be up was a member of the rotation, but with the long layoff ahead, the Sox will probably want to get him some amount of game action.