The Red Sox have placed Rick Porcello on the 15-day disabled list with "triceps soreness," with Ryan Cook joining the roster to take his spot for now.
That whole triceps soreness business is believable in that, this late into the season, everyone's probably a little banged up. But it seems likely as not that this move is less about letting Porcello rehabilitate a small injury than it is about shutting him down after four awful months to start his Red Sox career.
It's not that the Red Sox are doing this to get him out of the rotation. He's not helping them win games, obviously, but the Red Sox don't exactly need to win games these days either. Instead, they need to find a way to get Porcello back to what he was with the Tigers--what he was supposed to be this year--and it's clear that feeding him to the dogs every fifth game isn't helping.
We're going to have to hope that this gambit pays off, but we won't really know anything for sure for a while yet. It's unlikely whatever work Porcello needs done will pass quickly enough to get him back up to Boston in time to show any improvement over a significant enough sample to be convincing. We've had pitchers in similar situations succeed before--John Lackey coming back from Tommy John Surgery in 2013 comes to mind, if the circumstances were different--and the Red Sox can't really afford to just give up on Porcello having already committed to him for the next four years. But it's going to be a nervous offseason when it comes to the man who once induced ground balls rather than homers.
For now, the Red Sox will at least get a chance to evaluate some of their younger arms. John Farrell has already acknowledged that Tuesday's starter will come from off the roster, with Henry Owens lining up perfectly down in Pawtucket. Hopefully, if he does make Porcello's start, Brian Johnson will be close behind in place of Joe Kelly. There's two months left, and the Red Sox can't let them go to waste.